Year 2016 in review, Integration is still relevant

Year 2016 in review, Integration is still relevant

Last few hours before 2016 ends and what a year it has been as so many things happened. The year started off with finalizing and publishing an eBook on extensibility of BizTalk Server, which is available for free. My buddy Saravana made available through BizTalk360 website.

The publishing of the book marked the first major milestone in 2016. The collaboration of Eldert, Johann and myself as authors and three awesome reviewers in Mark, James and Sandro delivered a 150-page book on the power of .NET and BizTalk.
With the release of the book, Eldert and myself embarked on a speaking tour to promote the book, which we did in front of the BizTalk User Group in the Netherlands, online through integration Monday and in Sweden (Stockholm, Gothenburg). Thanks Mikael, Johan and Peter!!!

In the spring (May) I presented at Integrate 2016 on IoT end to end leveraging the Microsoft Azure Platform services. And this was in front of almost 400 people.

Who would have thought that integration is irrelevant? It’s not! Thanks for  Saravana and the BizTalk360 team for making this three-day event happening. Integrate 2016 was a success and for me my second major milestone in 2016.

Before Integrate 2016 Kent, his wife Melissa travelled through the UK and Scotland enjoying various country sides. One of the best days was hanging out with Michael in Newcastle. A really nice place with some great bars and restaurants.

After Integrate I went to TUGA IT, a large two-day conference in Lisbon. Thanks to Sandro I got invited to speak together with Nino. The three of us did a full day workshop on integration on Friday and a few talks on Saturday.

We had a blast and I really enjoyed Lisbon together with Nino and Sandro. Thanks to Niko Neugebauer and other Portuguese involved! Before I left I spend a full day exploring Lisbon with Sandro.

After Integrate and TUGA IT I went to Sweden with Eldert to talk about BizTalk Extensibility and another topic Azure Web Jobs. Sweden and its user groups are awesome, great welcome, excellent hosting environments and crowd. In Stockholm, we had a great user group event with several speakers including Mikael, Johan, Eldert, Robin, Ashwin and myself. The next day Eldert and myself went to Gothenburg to speak on extensibility and Web Jobs.

The summer holidays I spent in Italy and started to seriously prepare for third major milestone in 2016, the NYC marathon. In 2013 I ran the Berlin marathon together with Kent and decided or at least I said I will do another, preferably New York. Once Kent and his brother Kurt decided they wanted to run it when they turned 40 I said I am in!

The race was brutal and the bridges were quite the experience and challenge. It was a psychical and mental test yet I managed to finish with 5 hours.

My Canadian buddies finished just a few minutes later and then we enjoyed our medals with some great food and beers.

Thanks Kent and Kurt for letting me join in this endeavor. Our next challenge might be in 2018.

The next stop after the Marathon was the MVP Summit, which started the day after NYC Marathon. And to start things of was a nice game of the Seahawks playing the Bills. Lots of MVP and some MS folks went to the game.

The MVP Summit was a great experience as there was lots to share and engagements with the product teams.

You always run into someone you know ☺

This summit took place during the elections, hence we spent an evening together at Dan and Ola, who organized a great barbeque.

The outcome was not what we thought it would be, however, we still had a great time.

One of the traditions during the Summit is visiting Joey’s in Bellevue, which of course we did.

And Moksha our favorite Indian Cuisine place.

Another thing we did was visiting Tord, PG BizTalk Server and his family in Redmond.

And the BizTalk Crew was reunited once again.

We know BizTalk Server is in good hands now!
I really enjoyed my stay in Seattle. I went to another football game with Kent. We watched the Washington Huskies.

Before I left Seattle, I spent some time with my great friend Tom and his wife JoAnn. We watched the Seahawks play the Patriots on Sunday in a bar. Yes, more American Football, I love it. And it was an epic game, with the Hawks winning the game and cheers in the bar!

It was quite a trip, New York, running the Marathon followed by the MVP Summit. Something to remember as long as I will live.

In November and December I spend time writing some quest blogs for Saravana, a LinkedIn article on today’s integration and presenting at our Local user group.

In 2017 I, will kick the tires with some speaking engagements in Australia. In February I, will spent two and a half week with Mick, Eldert, Rene, Dean, Bill, Dan and many others. This will be followed by the global integration boot camp in March, where I’ll be speaking at the location of motion10 together with Eldert, Rob, Gijs, and Tomasso. In April and May I will be on the road to probably to speak in Portugal, Sweden and some other countries or venues. It will be an interesting year 2017!

P.S. I lost some kind of bet I have to wear some jersey with a name of a soccer player I really like, NOT!!!


Microsoft Integration MVP 2016– 7th Time in a row!

Microsoft Integration MVP 2016– 7th Time in a row!

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Microsoft with exciting news that my MVP status has been renewed again. I am now an Azure MVP!

For me this is the seventh time to receive this award. The sixth year in the program has been again an awesome experience, which gave me the opportunity to do great things and meet inspiring, very skilled people. I have had some interesting speaking engagement, which were fun to do and were very fulfilling. I learned a lot through speaking thanks to the community and fellow MVP’s. I was able to share my experiences through these speaking gigs and other channels like this blog, MSDN Gallery, and above all the TechNet Wiki.

I would like to thank:

  • My MVP old lead William Jansen, and new MVP lead Tina Stenderup-Larsen.
  • The BizTalk Product Team, Jim Harrer, Ed Price, Mandi Ohlinger, Tord G. NordahlDan RosanovaJon FanceyPaolo Salvatori, and all other Microsoft employees involved.
  • People at my former employers: Rene BrauwersEldert Grootenboer, fellow MVP Edward Bakker and many others. 
  • At my current company DutchWorkz : Rutger van Hagen and colleguaes.
  • Fellow Microsoft Integration MVP’s: Richard SeroterKent WeareMikael HåkanssonJohan Hedberg, Saravana KumarNino Crudele, Sandro PereiraStephen W. Thomas, Mick Badran (Azure), Micheal StephensonTomasso GroenendijkNicholas HauensteinSalvatore Pellitteri,Sam VanHoutteGlenn ColpeartBill ChesnutHoward S. Edidin, Martin Abbott, Leonid Ganeline, and Ashwin Prabhu, who I got learn even better and supported me in this program.
  • The BizTalk community: Mikael SandLex HegtColin Meade, Naushad Alam, Johann Cooper, Mark Brimble, Mitch VanHelden, Sven Van den Brande, Jérémy Ronk,  Maxime Labelle, Jean-Paul Smit, Dean Robertson and the collegueaes at Mexia, and many others that make the BizTalk community strong! 
  • Andrew Slivker from Sentinet.
  • Finally my wife Lian and children StanEllis and Cato for their support.

I’m looking forward to another great year in the program.



A solid vision for integration – Day 1 Integrate 2016

A solid vision for integration – Day 1 Integrate 2016

Microsoft is bringing the technologies around integration together in their vision for integration. API Management, Logic Apps, Connectors, Service Bus, and BizTalk are shaped into a hybrid type of platform. BizTalk and the logic apps form the heart in their vision to provide a seamless hybrid experience. Jim Harrer, the new PM for integration, shared the vision, services, and roadmap with us today at Integrate 2016. This event is the only integration focused event worldwide in the London Excel.

Below the picture that tells it all. And around BizTalk will see a release of the CTP2 version soon, including a first version of a logic app adapter, which will broaden the connectivity spectrum of BizTalk.

The vision shows Microsoft commitment in the integration space. Many thought that the BizTalk product was on life support and that there was no integration story. Well there is one and the roadmap shows a lot of promise. And what Microsoft has planned for us can be seen in the next picture.

The Visual Studio Integration is one of the much anticipated features that many integration professionals cheered. And it shows a good step forward. The product team shows what investments the Product team is making, which will enhance our confidence in integration with Microsoft technologies.

Integrate 2016 started with a blast and demonstrates that this is event is much needed to reestablish Microsoft as frontrunner in the integration space and that their technology and services are very relevant.

Thanks BizTalk360, their team, MVP’s, the attendees and Microsoft for making this event happening.


BizTalk Server Extensibility (e)Book

BizTalk Server Extensibility (e)Book

A new BizTalk Server eBook is available for the 2013 R2 version with the focus on extensibility.

Together with Johann Cooper and Eldert Grootenboer I have written on various aspects of extensibility with BizTalk Server. The .NET framework adds tremendous value in extending BizTalk Server solutions to create more versatile, robust solutions. We discuss the extensibility for BizTalk Server from a holistic view around the following topics:

– Ports
– Orchestrations
– Deployment
– Operations
– Tooling

The eBook is available through the BizTalk360 website.

The journey started after my first webcast BizTalk Extensibility for the Integration Monday a year ago in February 2015. At first I did not have any plans to pursue anything after that talk. However, a few months later I got in touch with Johann Cooper, who I interviewed for my blog and met in person in 2014 during my visit to Australia.

We discussed opportunities of writing a book for a well-known publisher. Unfortunately a deal never materialized and we started to think about other options. Our initial thought was to create a white paper on BizTalk Server Extensibility as this didn’t have the attention we though it should have. We felt the .NET framework empowers BizTalk Server in a very valuable way, if applied with thought.

Johann and I started writing the paper at the end of September 2015. And soon it turned out that we had many topics around extensibility and predicted that the amount of material would validate making an eBook out of it rather than a paper.

Our prediction was right. After a few months we had close to 100 pages, yet some topics still required attention. Therefore, we involved Eldert as an extra co-author to end of the book in time with his expertise on some of the topics like BAM and the BTDF. His help and our motivation helped us to finish what we started in September.

We were not alone in this, as Sandro Pereira, Mark Brimble and James Corbould put in numerous hours to review our eBook. These guys are superb reviewers and helped us a great deal to evolve the eBook to a very valuable resource for you as readers to benefit from. Therefore, Sandro, Mark and James, thank you so much for your efforts and support!

I also like to extend my gratitude to BizTalk360 and Saravana Kumar, who has publish the eBook through his site. Saravana is a great support towards the BizTalk community, thank you my dear friend.

Working on this eBook demanded a lot of time for us and it was worth every second of it. I enjoyed working on it and collaborating with both co-authors and like to thank both Johann and Eldert for realizing this eBook. A year ago I never thought this end result was in the making.

Enjoy reading it,


BizTalk360 Version 8.0 Review

BizTalk360 Version 8.0 Review

A new version of BizTalk360 has been released, version 8 which comes with a boatload of features and a complete overhaul of its user interface to provide an exceptional user experience. The product adopted a concept of widgets in the dashboard similar to the new Microsoft Azure portal. A BizTalk 360 user can now create and customize dashboards for different use cases.

The User Interface, Dashboards and Widgets.

In this post I will review a few of the new features and let’s kick off with the UI, which has improved dramatically. Intially BizTalk360 was a Silverlight application before it migrated to HTML 5. And in version 8.0 it has adjusted to what you experience on the Azure Portal and what you see with UI in devices. Below you see a customized dashboard with several widgets.

Figure 1. An example of my customized monitoring dashboard.

The end user has also the ability to create his own custom widgets via the settings page.

Picture 2. An example of creating a custom widget.

Furthermore the separation of monitoring and analytics is based upon audience targeting. An analyst or support engineer can interpret information of messaging and processes within a BizTalk Group from a different perspective as shown below demonstrating a customized dashboard.

Figure 3. An example of a customized analytics dashboard..

BizTalk360 API’s

Another incredible addition are the API’s, which offer a tremendous amount of value to enterprise customers. It brings extreme extensibility for its end users and enables the for instance to pull information from several environments. The API’s (REST web services) are the core of the BizTalk360 capabilities and the BizTalk360 front-end uses them. And as a BizTalk360 end user you can leverage all of these API’s to have access to your BizTalk environment. In the setting menu under API Documentation you can find the descriptions of each API and operation. For instance if you select BizTalkApplicationService you can observe a list of operations belonging to it. Subsequently select one of the operations, Services.REST/BizTalkApplicationService.svc/GetOrchestrations, specify the environmentId and applicationName and hit “Try it out!”.

Figure 4. BizTalk360 API’s document page..

You can call the API’s from different machines, by setting the appropriate authorization in the user access policy. Calling the API operation from SoapUI will result in the same response as from BizTalk360 API Documentation.

Figure 5. Calling BizTalk360 API from SoapUI.

The look-and-feel are similar when you publish an (Web) API configured with swagger documentation describing it.

Business Rules in a browser

Yet another new feature added to BizTalk360 is the rule engine capability of BizTalk Server i.e. the business rule and composer are accessible from a browser. You can view what type rules are deployed.

Figure 6. Deployed rules in a BizTalk Group.

And one of the capabilities is that you as end user can compose new rules, edit or test them. Below you see an example of testing a deployed rule, which you can do in a browser!

Figure 7. Test of a deployed business rule.

The version of the business rules composer in BizTalk360 only supports pre-created vocabularies. Therefore, to ensure a smooth user experience, you need to create all the vocabularies you will require to develop or edit your rules in the BizTalk Business Rules Composer. In a nutshell follow the instructions on the BizTalk360 portal with regards to rules.

Live feeds

In an enormous environment various operation people perform various actions in a production or UAT environment, and it can be valuable means of real-time tracking of what happens. This new version of BizTalk360 offers live feeds and you view on the right side after click the icon (indicated in red in the picture below).

Figure 8. Live feed in BizTalk Group.

Alarms and notifications

In BizTalk360 you can set alarms, which can result in an email being sent to you.

Figure 9. An example of email indicating a receive location is down.

Or you can leverage one of the out of the box notification channels like Slack and configure an alarm using a notification channel.

Figure 10. Enable the SlackNotification on a custom alarm.

Once you have set up Slack following the instructions on BizTalk360 UI and the alarm you will receive notifications in Slack.

Figure 11. Notification in Slack.

Final words

The BizTalk360 team has worked intensely the last 12 months to bring this to the table. Not just the flexibility with widgets, yet also with the separation of monitoring and analytics, the 360 plus API’s on top of your BizTalk Group, live feeds, notifications and the rules engine. This product has definitely evolved to the next level. Expect the release of 8.0 to change the way BizTalk is being monitored!



Upcoming Events

In two weeks time I will head out to North America. My first stop will be Calgary to visit my friend Kent Weare. My MVP buddies Saravana Kumar and Michael Stephenson will join me as we will be speaking during the Azure Hybrid Integration the 30th of October at Microsoft Calgary.

The Azure Hybrid Integration will be a full day with Kent, Saravana, Michael, myself and Darren King from Microsoft speaking on the following topics SaaS connectivity, IoT, Hybrid SQL Server, BizTalk administration & operations and Two Speed IT using Microsoft Azure.

The free event takes place on October 30th, 2015 at the Calgary Microsoft office. You can find more details here.

After this event we will head out to Redmond for the yearly MVP Summit. This is a multi-day event that is hosted in Bellevue and at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. All the MVP in the world that are able to come will be there to connect with fellow MVP’s and the various product groups.

I look forward to both events as it will enable me to engage fellow MVP’s, the integration community in Canada and to learn more about the future road maps of integration, Microsoft Azure and direction of Microsoft itself. The IT world around me is changing rapidly and for personally I am noticing it as my projects change from an on premise integration- to hybrid solution focus.

For those people that register for the Calgary event,  I am looking forward to meet you and to have some interesting discussions.



Book Promotion: SOA Patterns with BizTalk Server 2013 and Microsoft Azure – Second Edition.

Book Promotion: SOA Patterns with BizTalk Server 2013 and Microsoft Azure – Second Edition.

It’s been awhile since a BizTalk title hit the market. Colin, Mahindra, Mark and Johann updated Richard Seroter’s well received book SOA Patterns with BizTalk Server 2009. I loved Richards’s book and it inspired me to write a book myself. We have met on several occasions. And last year I had the privilege of meeting Mark and Johann in person in Sydney. Both are enthusiastic integration professionals that with Colin and Mahindra’s aid created and updated this book. Excellent work guys, and respect as writing a book is a challenge!

This book covers BizTalk, WCF, JSON and Rest Support in BizTalk, Azure BizTalk Services, Azure Service Bus, SOA, Schema’s and Endpoints, Asynchronous Communication Patterns, Versioning-, Orchestration Patterns, Frameworks and Tools. That is a broad spectrum of today’s integration capabilities on the Microsoft Platform (on premise and cloud).

If you are new to, intermediate- or well versed in the integration, this book is going to give you more insight into Microsoft’s integration world. The thoughts of these experienced authors and Richard original transcript will help you on your journey to build sustainable integration solutions. Especially now landscape around us is changing fast and integration has become key to success for enterprises to survive.

You read this book in your hand, read on your tablet or computer while enjoying a beer. It’s worth the investment and beneficial to your career in integration. Buy the book online at Packt Online Store, Amazon or perhaps your local bookstore.

Thanks Richard, Colin, Johann, Mark and Mahindra.


Microsoft Integration MVP 2015 – 6th Time in a row!

Microsoft Integration MVP 2015 – 6th Time in a row!

Today I have received an e-mail from Microsoft with exciting news that my MVP status has been renewed again!

For me this is the sixth time to receive this award. The fifth year in the program has been again an awesome experience, which gave me the opportunity to do great things and meet inspiring, very skilled people. I have had some interesting speaking engagement, which were fun to do and were very fulfilling. I learned a lot through speaking thanks to the community and fellow MVP’s. I was able to share my experiences through these speaking gigs and other channels like this blog, MSDN Gallery, and above all the TechNet Wiki.

I would like to thank:

  • My MVP old lead William Jansen, and new MVP lead Birgit Huebsch.
  • The BizTalk Product Team, Mark Mortimore, Guru Venkataraman, Ed Price, Mandi Ohlinger, Allesandro Teglia, Dan Rosanova, Jon Fancey, Paolo Salvatori, and all other Microsoft employees involved.
  • People at my former employers: Rene Brauwers, Eldert Grootenboer, fellow MVP Edward Bakker and many others. 
  • At my current company DutchWorkz : Rutger van Hagen and colleguaes.
  • The BizTalk Crew: Saravana Kumar (BizTalk360), Nino Crudele, Sandro Pereira, and Tord G. Nordahl
  • Fellow Microsoft Integration MVP’s: Richard Seroter, Kent Weare, Mikael Håkansson, Johan Hedberg, Stephen W. Thomas, Mick Badran (Azure), Micheal Stephenson, Tomasso Groenendijk, Nicholas Hauenstein, Salvatore Pellitteri, Sam VanHoutte, Glenn Colpeart, Bill Chesnut, Leonid Ganeline, and Ashwin Prabhu, who I got learn even better and supported me in this program.
  • The BizTalk community: Mikael Sand, Lex Hegt, Colin Meade, Naushad Alam,Howard S. Edidin, Johann Cooper, Mark Brimble, Mitch VanHelden, Sven Van den Brande, Jérémy Ronk,  Maxime Labelle, Jean-Paul Smit, Dean Robertson and the collegueaes at Mexia, Martin Abbott, and many others that make the BizTalk community strong! 
  • Andrew Slivker from Sentinet.
  • Finally my wife Lian and children Stan, Ellis and Cato for their support.

I’m looking forward to another great year in the program.



Upcoming speaking engagements in April

Upcoming speaking engagements in April

In my last post I created some awareness on the upcoming BizTalk Summit in London, 13 and 14th of April. This event will be the biggest Microsoft integration focussed summit in Europe. Microsoft BizTalk product group, Microsoft Integration MVP and veterans will speak about integration, Azure and API Management.This event is once again, like the previous two events, being organized by BizTalk360 in conjunction with Microsoft and the BizTalk Product group. There are various reasons you can think to attend like for instance described in the blog post by one of the speakers Sandro Pereira.

My topic is on Hybrid connectivity and more specifically what BizTalk Server 2013 R2 platform offers today. You can read the details below.

Hybrid Solutions with the current BizTalk Server 2013 R2 platform

The IT world has changed with the rise of the internet (cloud). Google, Amazon and Microsoft offer a variety of services in the cloud for storage to applications. Besides them there are a ton of other vendors selling software as a service (SaaS), or provide a dedicated service for instance Drop Box offering storage on demand. This means that integrating on premise, cloud services and software will generate a new demand. Enterprises will now face these challenges as they will need to integrate their on premise systems that are not likely to move to the cloud like SAP with cloud services or solutions. The latest BizTalk Server release 2013 R2 offers capabilities to full fill the demand for a new hybrid type of integration solution. In this talk various hybrid integration scenario’s will be discussed and how you can leverage Microsoft BizTalk Server 2013 R2 to build these solutions.

After this event, I will the week after travel to Sweden for Swedisch User Group event in Gothenburg and Stockholm. I am invited by Johan Hedberg to join him on stage to talk about API Management, on-premise (Sentinet) and Azure API Management.

The last stop for me in April will be the BizTalk Bootcamp in Charlotte, US. Two years I was invited to come over and talk, but was unable to make it. However, this time I will be there! I will speak on similar topics like the London event, with probability to do other talks on API management and BizTalk extensibility. The event is being organized by Mandi Ohlinger who works for Microsoft and is responsible for a lot of the technical content that you find on Azure BizTalk Services and BizTalk Server. This is a free event and registration is necessary!

See you on the road on any of these events.


Bigger, better, louder: BizTalk Summit 2015 London

Bigger, better, louder: BizTalk Summit 2015 London

April 13-14 London the BizTalk Summit 2015, the third time this event is organized by the world renowned BizTalk monitoring product: BizTalk360. Integration has it’s momentum now, as the IT-landscape has changed completely with the evolution of the cloud, growth of devices and being connected to everything and anything. Information Technology has reached a completly new level, where we as people are connected and consume tons of data to process and interpret.

Connectivity has become key to enable us to be connected. This means applications, systems and services need to integrate (communicate) with each other to exchange data. Data that resides in multiple places. We will not see all data move to the cloud. Reasons are privacy, regulations and divers laws. This is another main driver for integration as data needs to be pushed around.

In London you will hear and learn about Microsoft’s evolving (cloud) application platform, Microsoft Azure with its numerous services, BizTalk Server the on-premise integration product, currently in it’s 9th release. Microsoft Product Group, Microsoft Integration MVP’s and a few secret guest speakers will unleash interesting, intruiging presentations. One of these will be a presentation by myself.

All the speakers like to see all of you, who care about integration and like to meet us and Microsoft to share our devotion to current and evolving platform. You can register now for the early-bird price until 15th of March.

See you there!