BizTalk 2013, Hybrid Applications and BizTalk Services


We’re now looking at Hybrid BizTalk/Azure design opportunities.  Starting off, a review of service bus messaging options:

Service Bus Messaging

  • Queues
  • Topics, and,
  • Subscriptions

Queues are per standard queuing theory, message on – message off (FIFO).  Topics are a like a digest of messages distributed, and subscriptions are a bit like an opt-in message delivery.

Message body is ignored, body can therefore be encrypted etc.  Message body is passed through, only exposed data concerns routing information.

Both Azure and Windows Server 2012 (on-premise) now support the Service Bus, which now incorporates the AMQP messaging protocol (OASIS standard), for better interoperability, e.g. potentially with Rabbit MQ for distribution to Java, etc.

Coming soon – the ability to post to a Queue which will “forward to” a topic inside Azure.

BasicHttpRelay and NetTcpRelay (Azure Relaying)

Relaying is designed to work around inbound firewalls and the ability to resolve to hosts.  Includes ACS security and provides excellent HA/DR potential as endpoints do not need to shift when hosts/services are re-delegated.

The inbound connection provides a callback URL which can be used to push notifications to interested parties.

WebHttp (REST)

Provides excellent support for thin clients, web based applications and lightweight web APIs.

What is a Hybrid Solution?

It is a combination of many options and configurations, and is not limited to simply on-premise integrated with Azure.

BizTalk Services

Formerly known as the EAI Labs, BizTalk Services are targeted at B2B, SaaS marketplaces.

Provides a scalable rapid development environment to provide a greater degree of agility.  Supports custom code and extensibility.  BizTalk Services are a managed service with user control with SLA and resource guarantees.

There are different tiers of service.  Runs as a dedicated service, hosted and managed by Microsoft within a subscription model.  Contains health and application monitoring (user controlled).

Drag and drop integration solution, contains EAI Service, B2B Service on an extensible platform.  Includes a BizTalk Server 2013 Standard license for synch using a line-of-business adapter for on-premise use.

Pricing is still a bit cost-prohibitive (will add a link later), but may stabilize.

BizTalk Service Deployment [Demo]

To deploy a BizTalk Service solution, you require a number of things:

  • SQL Server (Tracking DB)
  • Access Control Service (ACS)
  • Storage Account (monitoring store)
  • SSL certificate (can use self signed cert or commercially issued certificate)

Key Concepts

  • (Azure) Portal
  • Visual Studio
  • B2B Service
  • Bridges
  • Artefacts
  • Monitoring
  • Storage

Sources = FTP/S, HTTP, SFTP
Bridges = 3 part processing unit: Sources/Pipeline/Destination (contains activities and properties), rule based routing
Destinations can be a Service Bus (relay, queue, topic), SFTP/FTP(S), HTTP, Blob, a Web Service.

BizTalk Services utilizes a new transform/mapper and there is a tool available (BTMMigrationTool)  which can convert existing BizTalk maps to the new Services maps (but not back!).

Data received follows the following flow into BizTalk Services:

1. Data and format match
2. Protocol bridging
3. Security
4. Scale
5. Manageability

About Rob Sanders

IT Professional and TOGAF 9 certified Enterprise Architect with nearly two decades of industry experience, 18 years in commercial software development and 11 years in IT consulting. Check out the "About Rob" page for more information.

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