Integration NOT Monday – Introducing Josh Twist + Discussion

This is an Integration NOT Monday session. We will use this blog for collecting the questions that you have for Josh. The session will happen on April 29th (Wednesday), hence the name – Integration NOT Monday! Please note that inappropriate questions will be removed.

Author: Sriram Hariharan

Sriram Hariharan is the Senior Technical and Content Writer at BizTalk360. He has over 7 years of experience working as documentation specialist for different products and domains. Writing is his passion and he believes in the following quote – “As wings are for an aircraft, a technical document is for a product — be it a product document, user guide, or release notes”.

  • michael stephenson

    Ok guys and gals what questions do we want to discuss with Josh on the 29th?

  • A lot is happening off-prem, when will we see any new,fixed or optimized features in BizTalk server that does not only include alignment to SQL Server and Windows? Like optimization of the mapping tool? Maybe adding intelli sense to the scripting functoid, enable usage off xslt Keys in mapps through a specidal functoid, add possibility for expressions in links and loop functoid (so we don’t need to use logical functoids)

  • More mapping… Adding message context to the map through the namespace http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform. Like xsl:read([namespace],[property])

  • More mapping… adding support for xslt version 2.0 Pleeeeease

    • Mikael Sand

      already there as a feature.

  • Using JSON internally instead of XML 🙂

  • Maybe impossible, but adding support for azure SQL on BizTalk server installation

  • Adding support for non-persistent orchestration’s, meaning orchestrations used for fast/short/atomic processing, if i want to use an orchestration only to handle request-respons i should be able to do this without needing to think about performance (maybe through non-persistent orchestration’s).

    • MikeStephensonUK

      i cant see this happening in biztalk server as it would be a fundamental change to the product which would be way down the priority list with limited value compared to other things MS could be doing. IMO

      • How many times haven’t you created a solution to avoid using an orchestration?

  • Daniel Toomey

    We have clients with legacy SOAP services that we’d like to expose as REST services in API Management. Are there any plans to support SOAP, and if so, any estimate on when it might be available?

  • Janne Nieminen

    On the current App Services Preview, the use of Logic Apps and API Apps to connect to on-premises systems seems to be via the Hybrid Connection, for those Connectors that support it. Are VPN connections or ExpressRoute supported for Logic Apps for more robust connectivity to on-premises? Can you connect your App Service instance to on-premises with VPN or ExpressRoute once, and not have to worry about setting up Hybrid Connection for each Connector? I’m a bit concerned about the Hybrid Connection on-premises agent availability and performance. What’s the general plan here for Logic Apps?

    • MikeStephensonUK

      I believe this should be supported as App Service runs on what was Azure Websites and App Service is supposed to have the capabilities that Websites had which I believe includes both Express Route and Site to Site VPN.

      It would be good to see samples of this and guidance but I believe it is possible

  • michael stephenson

    Question from Kent Weare – What is in the next version of BizTalk Server?

  • michael stephenson

    Question from Kent Weare – Will we be able to consume API APP Swagger meta data from BizTalk Server (my uservoice request)

  • michael stephenson

    Question from Kent Weare – When can we expect more samples or architecture guidance on how we should be using the new App Service Platform vs traditional BizTalk

  • michael stephenson

    Question from Kent Weare – Will we see an ‘ad hoc’ data mapper that allows us to visually perform some mapping between connectors?

  • michael stephenson

    Question from Kent Weare – What does ‘BAM’ look like in the the new service?

    • Mikael Sand

      I think it will be a “thorw everything in Hadop and then do data processing/mining after the fact.

      • MikeStephensonUK

        maybe the data lake announcement at build is the future then your hadoop on top?

        • Mikael Sand

          Yeah! Why not? The thing with today’s technology is that we have to make views and THEN wait for the data.
          With a much larger (and cheaper) storage, we can turn that around.

  • michael stephenson

    Question from Kent Weare – Are there any plans for a API App (connector) certification process? How do we know that someone’s API isn’t calling home or is full of bugs

    • Sam Vanhoutte

      exactly! certification, or ‘penalty-based’-SLA’s might be needed for a customer

  • Manu

    Not many questions yet, but some great ones from Kent. Here are some more
    1) when can we expect App Service on-prem approx? This summer, this year … And will it be free? Will the first version production ready?
    2) will there be a corellation between azure service fabric and app service on-prem. If yes I miss the point.
    3) when can we expect app service GA approx?
    4) if I register 1 app logic and 3 api apps, does this require only 1 app service plan. (E.g. 56$/mo. for basic b1)
    5) http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/app-service/
    Says: “Premium edition enables premium connectors and BizTalk integration capabilities for building truly enterprise-grade apps connected to your key business systems.”
    So only the premium tier offers premium connecters? But the text below says that all tiers allow at least 500 premium connector calls!?
    6) just came into my mind but I think it would be nice to run SSIS packages in the cloud through a api app -> app service as one central integration platform
    7) which core features / improvements are planed for the near future of app service?
    8) whats’s about reliable messaging in app service? How can I quickly find a failed message?

  • MikeStephensonUK

    Question from Stephen Thomas – What’s the best way to achieve a more pub-sub approach using App Services rather than point to point

  • MikeStephensonUK

    Question from Stephen Thomas – Do you have plans to change the way we add Marketplace API Apps to a Resource Group? It’s a slow, painful process today (unless I’m missing something).

  • Ashish Kamdar

    What is the plan for orchestration on Cloud. Is something new coming or the LogicApp Canvas will be the new way to orchestrate things in BizTalk Services.

  • Colin Meade

    BizTalk Server 2016 was announced at the BizTalk Summit as a “major” release. Can we expect more than a platform alignment?

  • Colin Meade

    This type of community engagement is excellent. Outside of this forum what is the best method for engaging with the product team to submit ideas, issues, etc?

  • Colin Meade

    Not sure if AppFabric for Windows Server has any connection to the BizTalk product group anymore, but in case it is – Are there plans to supplement the guidance provided in the AppFabric for Windows Server EOL announcement? The options provided are not straightforward and will require time and investment for organisations using the product. Would open sourcing it be an option that could be considered?

  • Michael Benage

    In SQL Server, AlwaysOn Availability Groups provide a rich set of options that improve database availability and that enable improved resource use. Unfortunately, MSDTC is not compatible with AlwaysOn (as described here http://blogs.msdn.com/b/alwaysonpro/archive/2014/01/06/not-supported-ags-with-dtc-cross-database-transactions.aspx) and given the requirement of configuring MSDTC in order for BizTalk Server to communicate to any SQL Server database, what’s the best solution to integrate with a SQL database that uses AlwaysOn Availability Groups?

  • Jean-Paul Smit

    can you explain a bit about the internals of logic apps?

  • Jean-Paul Smit

    What are the plans regarding exception handling, configuration management and deployment?

    • michael stephenson

      is this specific to app service/logic app?

      • Jean-Paul Smit

        Not particularly, but I think these topics are more important in logic apps. What happens to my logic app when my transformation service fails? If I call the transformation service independently then it is just an exception, but in a logic app what will happen? Are there plans to handle these exceptions or does the flow just end? Interesting topcis for me.

  • Question from Gijs in ‘t Veld: Josh, what will determine if something is a BizTalk API or Logic App? Where’s the line? And will you have a separate public roadmap for that category of standard Microsoft Apps because it’s a different development team?

  • Question from Gijs in ‘t Veld: Josh, we’ve seen several times in the past year that because of unclear roadmaps and bad alignment between on-prem and cloud (i.e. no unified, end-to-end run- & design-time governance) that enterprise customers chose other vendors for their hybrid integration platforms. How will Microsoft address that? How will you make sure that Gartner (MQ for Enterprise Application Platform as a Service) will make their list of “cautions” shorter or event empty in the next 12 months?

  • Last question from Gijs in ‘t Veld: Josh, we’ve seen with cloud computing in general that the best way to know what your montly bill will look like is to have a look at your monthly bill ;-). With distributed application architecture and API’s all over the place (not only hosted in Azure) and microservices in general, will there be a better way of managing your landscape (governance of who turns what on and off) and therefore your monthly bill?

  • Jean-Paul Smit

    What are the plans for a dashboard, for example to have an overview of the status of all logic apps?
    For example which ones are disabled, number of runs and when was the last successful run date.
    Or will Microsoft leave that for 3rd parties to develop?

  • Erik Mogensen

    1. Will Logic Apps have the capability to handle low latency scenarios?

    2. Will Logic Apps support ordered delivery? If so, will there be certain requirements on the
    pricing tier used? Will ordered delivery have requirements on the API Apps involved?

    3. Will it be possible to create Logic Apps from within Visual Studio? That would greatly help
    automated builds and source control and enable development from computers with limited internet connectivity.

  • Sam Vanhoutte

    It seems it’s almost impossible to predict what a more complex integration scenario will cost on Azure App Service. It depends on the number of actions, the number of hosted API apps, the service plans, the storage, etc. Is the pricing model final, or can it still be simplified?

    • MikeStephensonUK

      i think it would be quite interesting and bring in a new KPI…. what is my maximum sustainable throughput for $n per hour

  • Sam Vanhoutte

    Is the App Service aiming (over time) to build (and MANAGE!) large, enterprise ready, mission critical integration solutions? Or will BizTalk Server be kept for that? Talker long(er) term here.

  • Toon Vanhoutte

    Pub/sub is still the basis of a good integration solution. ServiceBus supports this and Logic Apps have built-in connectors. However, combining the two leads to a.lack of visibility, difficult maintenance and bad dependency analysis. Is it on the roadmap to have an overall overview and monitoring for these kind of enterprise scenarios, or is this a gap that needs to be filled by third party vendors?
    Thanks a lot!

  • Mikael Sand

    What are your strategies for enforcing SLAs and monitoring? I mean on the API app side. If we use Azure and Logic Apps to connect partners. How do we monitor the partners API app? Usually it is the integration project that “forces” the partner to install the API app and therefore it is usually the integration project’s responsability. How can we do that?

    • MikeStephensonUK

      not 100% on my interpretation of the question, but if you have an API that exposes Swagger that you want to consume from a logic app but you dont own the API (eg its part of a 3rd party product, or in someone elses azure subscription) I wonder if a good idea would be to import their swagger into your own azure api management instance and then add your api management address to logic app. You would then get sla, monitoring and potentially caching features from the api proxy

      Not sure this fully covers your question but i think thats an interesting thing to consider

      • Mikael Sand

        You are halfway there 🙂
        Imagine a scenario much like you are used to. You get a task to integrate system A (legacy) and System B (developed inhouse). In the App Service world this means that you need two connnectors (API Apps), one on each system. These connectors (or agents as we used to call them) is most likely put there by the integration team (not the local system developers). Now the connnectors are installed and we need to monitor the locally installed connectors. I do not see a scenario in where the systems themselves will monitor and maintain the integration (API App code) as the “code belongs to the integration team”.

        To cover this scenario we need some form of monitoring/logging etc out of the box to facilitate monitoring and maintaining of the locally installed API app code.

  • MikeStephensonUK

    OK all so based on feedback the things I think people would like to see at a future session and follow up post this weeks meeting are:

    1. A deep dive on a logic app – Note we have a session with Ashwin on the 18th May which will cover logic apps from a community member perspective and we will try to organise a PG session sometime after that to cover any other areas Ashwin missed. Ill maybe see if Josh can ask one of the team to join for any questions at the end of that session. Maybe a future session could be around a more complex scenario

    2. A session around API Apps

    3. Josh to provide feedback on the best way to provide community feedback on things for BizTalk Server vNext

    Let me know if I missed anything

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