Talk about “Blogger’s Remorse”. Here I’ve been feeling super-guilty for quite a while about not posting, but I never even got around to posting anything saying I was sorry! I am sorry, I know many people in the BizTalk community are watching, and a lot of people are looking here for BizTalk/ESB “stories from the trenches”.

SOOOOO much has been going on. My current focal point continues to be all things ESB. I’m off the 56 processor project now (we deployed and met the project goals), and have moved on to an even more challenging project. I can’t really talk about it yet, but I hope to be able to soon. It’s all about BizTalk 2006 and ESB, and implementing an ESB on the Microsoft platform.

Along those lines….Lukas Cudrigh (Technical Strategist Microsoft), Dylan Lewis (Chief Architect Kaiser Permanente) and myself gave our ESB session at TechEd to a packed room, and it was very well received. My opinion continues to be that not many developers/CxOs care much about ESBs (yet), primarily because they don’t know what it is. However, those that do care (the enlightened ones? ?) tend to care deeply, commit to significant projects, and reap great ROI rewards. As more and more enterprise architects began to glimpse the business value and high returns, I expect an increasing rate of people and companies “jumping on the bus”. Many people seem confused because Microsoft doesn’t have an “ESB Product” (unlike every other software company), but the reality is clear: if you embrace the Microsoft stack, you have a superset of ESB functionality. The secret is how to tie it all together, but you do have all the building blocks you need.

Last week I was in Seattle (nice break from the heat wave in San Diego!) where Lukas and I did a “Building an ESB on the Microsoft platform” presentation at Microsoft’s TechReady 3 conference. You likely haven’t heard of it, it’s a “Microsoft internal-only” conference they put on for their technical folks. I was honored to be one of the very few non-Microsoft speakers here. We did some major butt kicking. We got great attendance, and there was a LOT of interest in what we had to say.

I do indeed have a life outside ESB, and a few weeks ago my family and I went to Yosemite (valley). High point of the week (literally!) was when we did the Halfdome hike. Seventeen miles roundtrip, an approx 5000 ft elevation gain, and a killer climb for the last 800 feet (scampering up 60% – 70% granite incline, clinging to support cables, at times felt like an almost vertical climb). Not for the squeamish, or for people afraid of heights. This was perhaps the hardest hike of my life, and the only one where I felt inclined to go to the ranger station the next day and ask about fatality rates (surprisingly low, I think most people that would be fatalities are weeded out by 1) the distance and 2) scampering unassisted, no steps, up a sheer rock face *before* you get to the cables and 3) the sight of the cables (“we’re not going up THERE are we???”). Lots of waterfalls, amazing views, and quiet the adventure. My kids and I did it, my wife was still limping from the huge Glacier Point hike we’d done the day before. I’m going back in a couple of weeks to go backpacking with my son, but we’re going to the north-east section (a lot less people) of a week of “walkabout” and seclusion, far removed from civilization and technology. Perhaps I’ll bore you with pictures 🙂

OK, there, I’m all caught up now professionally and personally. My next post will be about the new MCTS BizTalk exam. Did I pass? Was it hard? What was it like? Read on…..