Microsoft is releasing a raft of new technologies and this this is a very interesting period for companies delivering Microsoft solutions. Many organisations such as Solidsoft Reply, are heavily focused on understanding the big vision of the Microsoft technology landscape.
I will be producing a series of articles about the latest and greatest in Microsoft technologies, some being directed to sales and management, others being more technically focussed towards the developer community.
In this article I would like to present the Microsoft Application Integration offering.
There are multiple options for consideration and these depend on the solutions that our customers are looking to achieve.
Customers have to decide which elements of the platform are most appropriate in order to invest energy and financial commitment and this decision impacts all aspects of the business, from the junior developer to the CTO and CEO decision makers.
I have been working with Microsoft technologies for twenty years and have been ever passionate about integration, noting many evolutions within the Microsoft technology stack.
I have defined the Microsoft stack into two distinct groups; the Service Group and the Platform Group.
The first group is based on Web Services, an aged technology, however still highly consumed. With this approach, WCF, WCF is a good option to solve integration problems, however has limitations in comparison to the new wave of REST and WEB API’s.
The consideration factor for WCF relates to the service interface, as the service interface needs to be appropriately defined before a solution is developed. The WCF approach is closer to the Scrum Waterfall approach.
With REST and WEB API’s, code can be developed simply and the service interface is dynamic, this second approach is closer to the agile SCRUM approach, however the WCF approach generally requires more upfront investment compared to REST.
The second important group is
BizTalk Server and
Microsoft Azure, BizTalk is a Microsoft platform developed around the year 2000. I have seen twelve different versions, from BizTalk 2000 and 13 R”, the next release being BizTalk Server 2016.
BizTalk is a solid product, it is an on-premises oriented technology and is able to cover all of the most important aspects of integration.
The development approach is much closer to the product. Expertise is required based on the product and is close to the Waterfall approach.
The other option is Microsoft Azure. This platform has a variety of options and without expert support, the number of technologies that can be used to achieve a project may be complicated to understand.
I like to use the term ‘Azure of Things’ because it is very close to the meaning of using many different things to solve a problem, the power of Azure increases with the variety and diversity of Azure technologies, which can be combined. I will write other articles to describe each of them.
Another important release is the group formed by Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Logic Apps API Apps, API Apps is an extension of Web Apps.
API Apps is the possibility to create small service components simply and rapidly and deploy them to the cloud. Logic Apps is the possibility to organize these components in a Logic container.
This approach is much closer to the SCRUM Agile approach, through developing atomic pieces of a solution and combining and reusing them in a very fast way. I think this is the natural approach to take with API APs and it is also a natural way to enhance productivity.
Creating a Logic APPs is straightforward and this can be achieved through the new Azure Management Portal, through selecting multiple connectors and an assortment of components.
Event Hubs (EH) creates the possibility of receiving millions of messages per second, depending on the setting used in the Azure portal and the message size. For this particular feature, EH is a perfect solution when integrating, coordinating and receiving millions of things (IoT Internet of Things). For example, having the power to receive messages from millions of sensors, coordinate messages between thousands of trains or taxis and sending millions of logging messages to the cloud (On Premise Tracking/Monitoring/Advertising Centralization) and more.
The most interesting aspect are the correlations and the different combinations using Event Hub with the other Azure technologies such as Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Batch, Power BI, Machine Learning and more.
Microsoft is working hard in this area and are making many notable investments and Solidsoft Reply are collaborating closely with the Microsoft product groups to ensure that we continue to provide our customers with cutting edge solutions in the ever evolving cloud world.