Integrate 2016 – Day 1 Recap
I am in London at the Integrate 2016 conference, again perfectly organized by BizTalk 360. Initially Microsoft also planned a summit in Redmond, but this got cancelled, boosting the attendees at the European event. A little bit short of 400 people are attending.
The most important thing I noticed is that Microsoft is finally getting its integration priorities straight. BizTalk is not going away and Microsoft is actually ramping up its investment in the product. Simultaneously it is busy getting Logic Apps in the cloud ready for GA. Something that is going to happen somewhere this year, but a date is not given yet.
Keynote – Logic Apps AND BizTalk
Jim Harrer kicked off with Microsoft’s vision on integration. Something the team has been working on the last few months on getting its priorities straight. This resulted in a strong and consistent story.
Microsoft realized that customers are not in the cloud, but still mostly acting on-prem. So why is Microsoft not investing in on-prem integration? Well, that is changing now and Microsoft is ramping up its investment on BizTalk. Especially the integration between Logic Apps and BizTalk gets a lot of attention. BizTalk to handle the on-prem integration with traditional adapters and connect to Logic Apps if you need to connect to a cloud-enabled solution like SalesForce. Microsoft released a preview version of a BizTalk-to-Logic Apps connector today, which makes integration between the two offerings can be done very easily from now on!
BizTalk Server 2016
Jon Fancey informed us about BizTalk Server 2016 and where it’s headed with this 10th release of BizTalk Server. The most eye-catching thing is the connector and adapter developed for Logic Apps. Most of the other things are already out there, but below is a list of improvements.
Of course a lot of Logic Apps this summit. Which basically means Jeff and Kevin on stage instead of YouTube. A lot of new stuff happening here. They actually layed out the architecture of Logic Apps itself and that explains how infinitely scalable this stuff is.
There are some new things coming, like looping in your designer, nested conditions, switch statements, scoped flows and a lot more stuff. Some of the stuff is already possible (e.g. loops), but it’s difficult the to do. You have to go into the code and do some expressions. So that will go away and the goal is to get do this from the designer.
Visual Studio integration is also coming and is one of the key priorities for the team right now and they are moving rapidly. From mockups last week to actually seeing some stuff in Visual studio in a week is insane!
The last thing I want to mention, is tracking and the ability to push tracking to Event Hubs and Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS). OMS gives you a BizTalk-administrator-like – or maybe Kibana-like – access to what’s happening in your Logic Apps. Something that is there right now, but this gives you far more control on all this data. It enables predictive search, enabling ou to find what you are looking for quite easy.
Enterprise Integration Pack
Another thing coming to Azure this year is the Enterprise Integration Pack. It enables you to work with EDI in Logic Apps. What this means for BizTalk Services, I frankly have no idea. They will support it for the upcoming 2, to 3 years. But I guess this is the beginning of the end for BizTalk Services.
Microsoft announced a new product just a couple of weeks ago named Flow. It enables non-developers to build simple flows to automate some things for themselves. It is built on top of Logic Apps and it will even be possible to actually take the Flow and “demote” it into a Logic App. Flows are not managed, there’s no source control. Logic Apps are manageable and can go into source control, have version control etc. It’s a very easy experience, but at the same time, it may be introducing a new kind of Access.
A lot of templates are available to start your flows with. Once you open a template, you simple fill out some credentials and simple configuration and you’re done.
The last technical info we received was on API Management. Something that has been there for a while, so not many new things here. It was also an introduction to Azure Functions, for those who hadn’t heard of it yet. On Day 2 there will be more sessions on Azure Functions, but also very much on everything IoT