Our Integration Product Roadmap

Microsoft customers and partners are asking what our cloud-hybrid integration roadmap is for BizTalk Server and beyond. BizTalk Server 2016 is our tenth release of a product that first shipped in December, 2000. Much has changed in the past 18 years, the rise of the Internet, the move to the cloud and the advent of Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS) being just a few. One thing has prevailed over these many years, existing enterprise customers running business critical workloads using BizTalk Server on-premises – and Microsoft’s continued commitment and support to these customers.

We want to confirm our commitment to BizTalk Server by providing clarity on our cloud-hybrid integration roadmap, of which BizTalk Server is a key part. Shortly after we released BizTalk Server 2016, we introduced the concept of Feature Packs – incremental product improvements and additions that facilitated a much faster ship cycle than was before possible. We believe, and have also heard from customers, that this approach is advantageous for a number of reasons: quicker time to get requested features or improvements; fewer costly upgrade cycles; continuous product investments. Yet, we understand that this model does not suit every customer, especially those that require more notice, planning and preparation for consuming both new platforms and new functionality.

Therefore, we are pleased to announce that we have begun work on BizTalk Server “vNext”, the next major release of BizTalk Server. BizTalk Server “vNext” will contain all previously released feature packs, platform support for the latest versions of Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio, as well as a supported upgrade path from BizTalk Server 2013 R2 and 2016. The new release of BizTalk Server will be accompanied by a vNext of the Adapter Pack and Host Integration Server as well. We are in the early stages of planning this next release and more details will follow in due course, but we expect to make it generally available within roughly 9 months of the general availability of Windows Server 2019.

Alongside BizTalk Server, we will also continue to expand the capabilities of our iPaaS offering providing additional hosting options for Azure Integration Services, which includes Logic Apps, starting with the ability to run on-premises. We expect to deliver these capabilities during calendar year 2019.

With two offerings, BizTalk Server and Logic Apps, both capable of running on-premises and in Azure, many customers will be evaluating migration from BizTalk Server to Logic Apps. We understand this and are planning guidance on migration to assist customers’ decision-making and investments to enable this move. We know there are functional gaps between BizTalk Server and Logic Apps, and we are hard at work closing them. Our Azure Integration Services vision is to enable all customers to move to a modern, holistic and rich iPaaS platform that can meet the challenges of all their integration workloads, both today and in the future wherever they reside.

Jon Fancey, Azure Integration Services PM Lead

Available now is Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 3. This update to BizTalk Server 2016 contains new and improved capabilities for integrating BizTalk Server workloads with Office 365 Outlook Email, Calendar, and Contact resources.

Office 365 Adapters
Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based subscription service that brings together the best tools for the way people work today. By combining best-in-class apps like Excel and Outlook with powerful cloud services like OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, Office 365 lets anyone create and share anywhere on any device.

Microsoft BizTalk Server Adapters for Office 365 enable IT professionals and enterprise developers to integrate Outlook mail, contacts, and schedules with new solutions based on BizTalk Server 2016.

Office 365 Mail Adapter
Using the BizTalk Adapter for Office 365 Mail, you can read, mark as read or delete, Outlook e-mail messages through one-way BizTalk Server receive locations. Using the Office 365 Mail Adapter, you can write e-mail message, including setting message priority, through one-way static or dynamic BizTalk Server send ports.

Office 365 Calendar Adapter
Using the BizTalk Adapter for Office 365 Calendar, you can get future calendar events through one-way BizTalk Server receive locations. Using the Office 365 Calendar Adapter, you can create calendar events, including specifying required and optional attendees, through one-way static or dynamic BizTalk Server send ports.

Office 365 Contact Adapter
Using the BizTalk Adapter for Office 365 Contact, you can create contacts, by specifying all settings, through one-way static or dynamic BizTalk Server send ports.

Licensing

  • Microsoft customers with Software Assurance or Azure Enterprise Agreements are licensed to use Feature Pack 3.
  • BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 3 can be installed on Enterprise and Developer editions only.
  • Software

  • BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 3 contains all the functionality of Feature Packs 1 and 2, plus all the fixes in Cumulative Update 5.
  • You can install Feature Pack 3 on BizTalk Server 2016 Enterprise and Developer Edition (retail, CU1, CU2, CU3, CU4, FP1, FP2).
  • Download the software now from the Microsoft Download Center.
  • Documentation
    You can learn more about Feature Pack 3 by reading the documentation articles. Please contribute to improving our documentation, by joining our BizTalk Server community on GitHub.

Partner Post: Alerts and Analytics to Help with BizTalk Implementations using Enkay PRO

Microsoft has a lot of great partners, and one of our missions is to highlight these, if you want to do a partner post on our team blog reach out to us either over email or through comments on this post.

This post is written by Microsoft Gold Partner Enkay Tech (www.enkaytech.com) to highlight a new product to help with monitoring BizTalk solutions.

When your BizTalk environment is running well and within capacity, your total cost of ownership (TCO) is low. However, without proper monitoring, failures could occur that could significantly increase TCO. For example, when you receive unusually large message payloads from a customer or when new applications are deployed that cause a significant increase in load, or when SQL jobs have stopped/failed, BizTalk could exceed optimal utilization of available resources. If these failures are not resolved in a timely fashion, BizTalk messaging throughput could decrease, integration durations could increase, and timeouts could occur. To recover, one may need to do some of the following tasks, all of which result in an increase in TCO:

  1. Suspended messages may need to be resumed or messages routed to the exceptions database may need to be recovered and resubmitted.
  2. If BizTalk services are down, external applications cannot communicate with BizTalk, and these applications will need to recover and replay their requests once BizTalk services are back online.
  3. Perform cleanup of data (e.g. roll back transactions).

Watch our Enkay Tech webcast (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUQa7gCeatg) on May 22nd at 1:30 pm Central Standard Time to see how Enkay PRO can help reduce TCO. For example, you will see how your operations team can view graphs that continuously display application activity including message counts, message sizes, throughput and durations. By using these graphs, the team can get visibility into performance issues that could impact business service level agreements (SLA). They can perform deep analysis by viewing historical data to quickly identify issues that caused the failure. They can search for details on EDI transactions that are being sent to and being received from trading partners. With proactive monitoring and alerting, Enkay PRO can help customers see the value BizTalk is delivering and verify that business SLAs are being met.

No license fees are required to install and use Enkay PRO for qualified customers. You can download and use Enkay PRO for any number of users, any number of servers, and any number of environments. Free support for ninety (90) days is provided, which includes installation and training. Additional paid support for Enkay PRO software is available and includes customization and consulting services. For more information visit: http://www.enkaytech.com/enkaypro

Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 2

Available now is Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 2. This update to BizTalk Server 2016 contains new and improved capabilities for modernizing BizTalk Server workloads in the areas of deployment, runtime and analytics.

Deployment and Administration

  • Application Lifecycle Management with VSTS
    • Using Visual Studio Team Services, you can define multi-server deployments of BizTalk Server 2016, and then maintain those systems throughout the application lifecycle.
  • Backup to Azure Blob Storage
    • When deploying BizTalk Server to Azure VMs, you can backup BizTalk Server databases to Azure blob storage.

Server Runtime

  • Adapter for Service Bus v2
    • When using the Service Bus Adapter, you can utilize Azure Service Bus Premium for enterprise-scale workloads.
  • Transport Layer Security 1.2
    • Securely deploy BizTalk Server using industry-standard TLS 1.2 authentication and encryption.
  • API Management
    • Publish Orchestration endpoints using Azure API Management, enabling organizations to publish APIs to external, partner and internal developers to unlock the potential of their data and services.
  • Event Hubs
    • Using the new Event Hub Adapter, BizTalk Server can send and receive messages with Azure Event Hubs, where BizTalk Server can function as both an event publisher and subscriber, as part of a new Azure cloud-based event-driven application.

Analytics and Reporting

  • Event Hubs
    • Send BizTalk Server tracking data to Azure Event Hubs, a hyper-scale telemetry ingestion service that collects, transforms, and stores millions of events.
  • Application Insights
    • When preparing BizTalk Server to send tracking data to Application Insights, released in FP1, you can use the new Azure sign-in dialog to simplify configuration and named instances of SQL Server.

Licensing

  • Microsoft customers with Software Assurance or Azure Enterprise Agreements are licensed to use Feature Pack 2.
  • BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 2 can be installed on Enterprise and Developer editions only.

Software

  • BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 2 contains all the functionality of Feature Pack 1, plus all the fixes in Cumulative Update 3.
  • You can install Feature Pack 2 on BizTalk Server 2016 Enterprise and Developer Edition (retail, CU1, CU2, CU3, FP1).
  • Download the software now from the Microsoft Download Center.

Documentation
You can learn more about FP2 by reading the documentation articles. Please contribute to improving our documentation, by joining our BizTalk Server community on GitHub.

Feedback
Contribute to the community by participating in our forum, reading our blog, following us on Twitter (@BizTalk_Server), as well as providing product input using our BizTalk User Voice.

INTEGRATE 2017 USA Coming to Microsoft Redmond Campus – October 25, 26, 27

If you missed the chance to attend INTEGRATE 2017 in London this year, now is your chance to participate in INTEGRATE 2017 USA at the Microsoft Redmond Campus. Come see Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President for the Cloud and Enterprise division, deliver the keynote address. Have a chance to network with Microsoft employees along with Microsoft Integration MVPs.

Further details and registration information can be found at https://www.biztalk360.com/integrate-2017-usa/

Partner Post: Monitoring of BizTalk Server using BizTalk360

Partner Post: Monitoring of BizTalk Server using BizTalk360

Microsoft has a lot of great partners, and one of our missions is to highlight these, if you want to do a partner post on our team blog reach out to us either over mail or through comments on this post.

This post is written by BizTalk360 to highlight how they take advantage of BizTalk Server to help customers achieve more with our product.

Today BizTalk360 has become an inherent part for anyone using Microsoft BizTalk Server.  Since its inception in 2011, the product has matured significantly with continuous improvement mainly driven by industry & customer feedback. BizTalk360 takes one critical pain point of every Microsoft BizTalk Server customer BizTalk Server Operations & Monitoring and solves the problem extremely well.

Today the product comes with some 70+ features to address the BizTalk Server Operations and Monitoring challenges; in this blog let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons why every Microsoft BizTalk Server customer should consider using BizTalk360.

1. Modern Web based Management Experience

The out of the box BizTalk Server Administration tool that comes with BizTalk Server is a MMC based Windows Application. It requires installing on every administrator or support person’s computer.

BizTalk360, is a modern on-premise web based management tool that provides the user with a modern web experience and increases productivity as a result with regard to BizTalk Server Administration and Management.

With the single installation of BizTalk360, many BizTalk Server environments (Production, UAT, Staging etc.) in the organization can be configured and managed. Administrators and operators can access the web portal from any modern web browser.

BizTalk360 comes with a lot of out of the box dashboards and widgets to make management of BizTalk Server easier.

2. Enterprise grade Security and Auditing

The majority of the tasks performed by using the BizTalk Admin console require elevated Administrator rights and it also lacks the ability to restrict users to specific BizTalk Applications running in the environment.

The other important limitation of BizTalk Admin console is the auditing and governance capability. The tool does not audit any user operational activities. For example: If someone accidentally or purposely stops an important Orchestration or Send Port it will heavily interrupt the message processing. It will not be possible to pinpoint who performed that action.

Whereas when you are using BizTalk360 every single user operational activity on the BizTalk Environments is stored for governance and audit purpose. The customers can keep the data for as long as they want by a simple setting.

3. Monitoring designed for BizTalk Server

There are many general purpose monitoring tools in the market which claim they cover BizTalk Server monitoring, but when you start using them you’ll start realizing they just scratch the surface with generic things like Memory, CPU, Event Log etc. and won’t go any deeper. Whereas BizTalk360 is designed from the ground up to address the monitoring challenges of Microsoft BizTalk Server. It covers the breadth and width of BizTalk Server Monitoring needs.

There are unique requirements like Transaction or Data Monitoring which is specific to BizTalk Server, for example did we process 1000 messages (invoices) from SAP today (or every hour), this is addressed only in BizTalk360, a general purpose monitoring tool.

Auto healing is another important aspect, where BizTalk360 will try to rectify the problem itself whenever possible. Example: An FTP Receive Port may go down for various transient reasons like a network outage, temporary unavailability of FTP location and so on. In these circumstances, BizTalk360 will bring the FTP Receive Port back online with automatic healing capability.

4. Productivity with Single Unified Tooling

On a day to day basis, a BizTalk Server Administrator can use anywhere from 5-8 different tools like BizTalk Admin console, SQL Management Studio, BAM Portal, ESB Portal, Windows Event Viewers, Perfmon, BizTalk Health Monitor, SCOM console to name a few. This creates several challenges, lost productivity due to context switching between tools, security concerns (every single tool across environments needs to be secured), and training people for day-to-day support is time-consuming and expensive (you need very skilled resources).

BizTalk360 addresses all these challenges by providing a unified web based management administration tool for BizTalk Server. All the features are built from the ground up within BizTalk360 for example BizTalk360 comes with its own enhanced BAM portal and ESB portal. BizTalk360 also comes with some key productivity features like a centralized Event Viewer, team knowledge base, Secure SQL Query management, Throttling analyzer, Web based Rules Composer etc.

5. Analytics for Environment Transparency

Most organizations treat their BizTalk Environments like a black box. The standard tools like BizTalk Admin console provide very little transparency on the health of the environment. It doesn’t come with any analytical information like charts and graphs to showcase the failure rates, transaction volume, message processing latency, messaging patterns, throttling analysis etc.

BizTalk360 has a dedicated section for Analytics to address all the above challenges. It makes it super easy for administrators to view the health of your BizTalk Environments, you can create your own custom dashboards based on your scenarios like SAP to Dynamics CRM integration, Oracle to IBM MQ integration etc.

Summary

The above 5 points explain clearly why BizTalk Server customer should use BizTalk360. Microsoft as a platform company always focus on the scalability and reliability of the platform and it depends on partners like BizTalk360 to address the tooling gap. At one end of the spectrum is the platform (Microsoft BizTalk Server) and at the other end are the custom solutions built using BizTalk Server (by customers and consulting companies). BizTalk360 positions itself in the middle and bridges the gap with regard to BizTalk Server Administration and Management.

Today there are over 2500 installations of BizTalk360 in the world; some of the mission critical businesses including Microsoft IT (responsible for the entire retail and supply chain operations) rely on BizTalk360 for their day to day operations and monitoring.

Trial Download: You can try BizTalk360 trial version for 14 days on your own BizTalk Environments and validate the benefits.

 

Announcing Host Integration Server 2013 Cumulative Update 4

We are happy to announce the release of Microsoft Host Integration Server 2013 Cumulative Update 4. Host Integration Server is included with the BizTalk License and is a part of our broader BizTalk offerings to assist our customers with integrating to various backend systems. In the case of Host Integration Server, we provide customers with options to interact with IBM software. For customers just starting out with Host Integration Server we suggest using our latest version, Host Integration Server 2016.

This cumulative update package contains hotfixes for issues that were resolved after the release of Host Integration Server 2013.

We recommend that you test the cumulative update before you deploy it in a production environment. Because the builds are cumulative, each new update release contains all the hotfixes and all the security updates that were included in the previous Host Integration Server 2013 cumulative updates. We recommend that you consider applying the most recent Host Integration Server 2013 Cumulative Update to remain current with the product.

Cumulative update package 4 for Microsoft Host Integration Server 2013:

  • Application Integration – 6 customer issues fixed
  • Data Integration – -12 customer issues fixed
  • Message Integration – 6 customer issues fixed
  • Network Integration – 10 customer issues fixed
  • Session Integration – 10 customer issues fixed

Information regarding how to download the package and details regarding the specific fixes can be found in the KB article here.

We encourage you to actively engage with us and propose new features for all BizTalk offerings, including Host Integration Server, through our BizTalk User Voice page.