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After months of preparations and work behind the scenes, it’s time for INTEGRATE 2017 – the premier integration focused conference at Kings Place, London. A beautiful day greeted the attendees, speakers from the Microsoft Pro Integration team from Redmond, and Speakers (Integration MVPs) for the event.


Registrations started off at 0730 hrs. To avoid the hassle of making the attendees wait for long, we had four separate booths to ease the registration process. Indeed this idea worked out quite well and we were perfectly set up for a 0845 start. The statistics after registrations on Day 1 stand as follows –

Welcome Speech at INTEGRATE 2017

At 0845, Saravana Kumar – Founder/CTO of BizTalk360 officially started the INTEGRATE 2017 event with his welcome speech.

He thanked the sponsors, attendees, Jim Harrer for bringing the vast experience from Redmond to this event, and the rest of the speakers of this event. Saravana also appreciated Kent Weare for taking interest in consistently delivering the Middleware Friday sessions (for 6 months now) and the team consistently working hard for Integration User Group (who recently completed their 100th episode).

INTEGRATE 2017 USA Redmond – October 25 – 27, 2017

The key announcement during the welcome speech was that INTEGRATE 2017 event will happen at Redmond, Seattle on October 25 – 27, 2017. Registrations will open by July 1st for this event. Stay tuned!

It was then time for Duncan Barker, Business Development Manager at BizTalk360 to give a sneak peak into the history of BizTalk360 and ServiceBus360 and to welcome the Keynote speaker – Jim Harrer.

Keynote Speech

It was time for Jim Harrer – Principal Group Program Manager at Microsoft Pro Integration team to get started with his talk on how Microsoft brings intelligence to its Hybrid Integration Platform. Jim started off his talk saying –

Microsoft is not a Cloud only company. We strongly believe and invest a lot in Hybrid.

How the team have evolved since INTEGRATE 2016?

That’s one reason why Microsoft reinvested into BizTalk server and also took steps to make sure BizTalk server becomes stronger with cloud based offerings (such as Azure Logic Apps). BizTalk server and Logic Apps together form the core heartbeat of a hybrid integration solution. In addition, after INTEGRATE 2016, the Pro Integration team added the API Management team into the hierarchy, brought the Host Integration Server Product into the Pro Integration team.

Jim showed the Pro Integration team’s year in review showing how they have progressed as a team in the 4 main departments – Logic Apps, BizTalk, Host Integration Server, and API Management.

Jim felt proud to announce that Microsoft has the largest number of datacenters around the globe than anyone else, and Logic Apps are available in over half of these available data centers. The team is working hard to deploy the solutions across more data centers in the months to come.

Jim was happy to introduce all his thought leaders who have taken time and come from Redmond to this event. Jim thanked the team for making the flight across the pond for INTEGRATE 2017.

The first step for the team was to start working on connecting the different Azure Services such as Logic Apps, Azure Functions, API Management, Cognitive Services, and so on to unlock the value and take advantage of the value that Azure provides. After Azure Services, the team decided to interconnect the different Line of Business (LoB) applications so that connection could be established with the on-premise systems. Jeff had a huge round of congratulations for his team for making these integrations in a year’s time and get them Generally Available (GA) for the public.

Summary points from the Keynote Speech at INTEGRATE 2017

    • Jim announced that by Friday (June 30th), Logic Apps will be made available in both the UK regions.
    • Logic Apps currently has over 160+ connectors
    • After Azure Services and Line of Business Applications, the team at Microsoft started looking at how to get the maximum intelligence and insights. That’s when they expanded their horizon of “Better Together” with more offerings related to intelligence and insights (Cognitive Services, Sentiment Analysis, LUIS, Face API, Insights, Translator, Power BI and more). Initially, Better Together was applicable to Logic Apps and BizTalk Server, but today, it’s more vast.
  • Microsoft has aimed at improving the rate at which it takes to integrate solutions at the Speed of Business. This has been the key focus of the team over the last year.
  • The Pro Integration team is the most sought after team by most companies that come to Redmond to integrate their business solutions. The team has been focused to improve the business value of customers who are using Microsoft’s Integration solutions.

Keynote – Demo (#ContosoFitness)

To get the audience understand the pulse of what Microsoft’s Integration solutions can offer, a real time demo was planned with a physical fitness company called #ContosoFitness. The idea was to show how they made use of the existing technologies in the Microsoft Integration space and develop solutions for common problems. Jim hinted that most demos over the course of INTEGRATE 2017 will be focused on #ContosoFitness example.

The demo had some very interesting answers to common problems faced by enterprises. The demos were presented by Jeff Hollan (Logic Apps and Cognitive Services), Jon Fancey (Logic Apps), Tord Glad Nordahl (BizTalk) If you are keen to know about it, please wait for the videos to be released in few week’s time. 🙂 I’ll leave it there for the moment.

Jim wrapped up the keynote by telling the users how they can maximize application value –

  • By looking for opportunities to improve customer experience (With Cognitive services etc)
  • Find ways to make it easier for prospects to turn into customers. Identify customer pain points and work on solutions to fix the problem.
  • Seek integration opportunities that yield competitive advantage
  • Use Insights to gain business efficiency

That wrapped up a very interesting first hour at INTEGRATE 2017 and set the tone perfectly for the rest of the sessions lined up for the day.

Session 2 – Innovating BizTalk Server to bring more capabilities to the Enterprise customer

Tord Glad Nordahl took over from Jim Harrer to talk about Microsoft’s commitment to BizTalk Server. With BizTalk Server, customers can –

  • Connect on-premises hybrid and cloud applications
  • Run mission-critical, complex integration scenarios with ease
  • Enhance business productivity by automating business processes

Tord showed a nice chart showing the Mainstream support lifecycle for different versions of BizTalk Server. He even hinted on few customers still running versions as low as BizTalk 2004 😉

Then Tord showed what Microsoft did with BizTalk Server 2016 (being their 10th release in the series).

  • Microsoft created the Logic App Adapter to help users to connect with Logic Apps
  • High Availability through SQL Server AlwaysOn availability groups
  • SHA2 support certified by Drummond (last year)
  • Ordered delivery for Dynamic Ports
  • Improvements for Adapters (SAP, FTP, File, etc)
  • Then the major FEATURE PACK 1 Release few months earlier

Tord as well showed the release cadence of Microsoft to answer the question “Is BizTalk Server Dead?” correctly.

With that, Tord wrapped up his session and it was time to take a break for the attendees on Day 1 of INTEGRATE 2017.

Session 3 – Messaging yesterday, today, and tomorrow by Dan Rosanova

Dan started off his session by wowing the audience on the Azure Messaging numbers. Those numbers are simply awesome!

Similar to Azure Messaging, Event Hubs also has some staggering statistics (YoY comparison) –

Dan made the mention that customers can make use of ServiceBus360 to monitor their Azure Service Bus resources and keep a watch on the failure rate. In the above screenshot, Dan says the team receives easily about 28 million failures per week and ServiceBus360 can help customers to keep track of these failures and fix them at the earliest.

Dan then gave a brief history about Messaging, how it was, and how the landscape is today. Today’s messaging landscape involves –

Microsoft is clearly the leader in the messaging space. Dan spoke about the concepts of Event Hubs, Messaging as a Service (MaaS) – Queues and Topics, features of Service Bus, Relays.

What’s in store with Service Bus team?

  • Encryption at rest (Event Hubs and Premium Service Bus)
  • Managed Secure Identity
  • Bring your Own Key (BYOK) encryption at rest for premium products
  • IP Filtering
  • Vnet
  • New metrics pipeline
  • GeoDR – coming to Event Hubs, Service Bus and Relays this summer 
    • You can create an alias – FQDN like namespace
    • Select Primary region and NS name
    • Select Secondary region and NS name
    • GeoDR team will copy data between regions
    • You call REST call to initiate failover
      • GeoDR team ejects old primary and break metadata sync
      • Alias connection string continues to work for send and receive

Session 4 – Azure Event Hubs: the world’s most widely used telemetry service by Shubha Vijayasarathi

Shubha started off her talk talking about the 3 main S’s the Product Group is focusing on to build their solutions that are –

  1. Simple
  2. Stable
  3. Scalable

Event Hubs Archive CAPTURE

Shubha then deep dived into the concept of Event Hubs. Shubha made the mention that majority of Event Hubs customers are writing their stream to a persistent store mainly for long term storage and batch processing of the information. For achieving this, the Event Hubs team are reintroducing the concept of Archive, but with a better name called CAPTURE.

Event Hubs CAPTURE allows you to batch and real time processing on the same stream. This feature will be GA on June 28, 2017 across all Azure regions.

Shubha then covered the conceptual architecture of Event Hubs and gave a clear distinction between Event Hubs and Service Bus Topics.

Event Hubs Auto-Inflate

Shubha then gave an insight into one of the recently released features earlier this month called Event Hubs – Auto Inflate. For more information about this feature, we recommend you to watch this Middleware Friday episode by Kent Weare.

Shubha wrapped up her session talking about the Event Hubs pricing, dedicated Event Hubs and one of the soon to be released feature called Event Hubs Clusters.

Event Hubs Clusters

You can stand up your own Event Hubs Clusters in less than two hours. You can monitor your cluster health, and with this model you have the option to start small and then scale as you go. This feature is currently in Private Preview and will soon be available in the Public Preview (by September).

What’s Coming – Azure Event Hubs

  • GeoDR Capability
  • Encryption at Rest
  • Metrics in the new portal
  • ADLS for public preview
  • Dedicated EH clusters for private preview
  • Namespace updates
    • Sun setting the old Azure Portal
    • All services are independent (Messaging, Event Hubs, Relays)
    • Different portal experience

With that, it was the end of the first half of Day 1 sessions on INTEGRATE 2017.

During lunch, we took a statistic on the sentiment of Tweets for the hashtag #Integrate20107 and here’s the report. This report was generated by using a Logic App that connects with the Sentiment Analysis connector to identify the sentiment of tweets with hashtag #Integrate2017, and later the results are categorized based on the value on a scale of 0 to 1 and the data is loaded into a Power BI dashboard.

Note: This report started collecting data from Saturday when the buzz started for #Integrate2017.

Post Lunch Sessions – Azure Logic Apps and Azure Functions

Post lunch, it was time for the dynamic crew of the Logic Apps Live webcast to take over the stage – Jeff Hollan and Kevin Lam. Kevin started off the session taking the audience on a getting started session with Azure Logic Apps.

“Logic Apps means Powerful Integration” – Kevin Lam

What is Logic Apps?

Logic Apps is Microsoft’s strategy for Serverless technologies.

  • Faster integration using interactive visual designer
  • Easy workflow connector with triggers and actions
  • Built for mission critical integration
  • Create, Deploy, Manage and Monitor

What’s coming in Logic Apps?

  • Azure Storage Tables – in addition to Queues and Blobs
  • Oracle eBusiness Suite
  • ServiceNow
  • SOAP Connector (Yaaaayyyy!!!!!)
  • Service Principles
  • Custom Connectors – Build and deploy your own connector!!

Logic Apps is now CERTIFIED!!

Logic Apps is certified by –

  • Drummond AS2
  • ISO 27001
  • SOC (I, II, III)

Logic Apps is Agile! What’s Coming?

Jeff & Kevin gave a very interesting demo based on the #ContosoFitness idea that was earlier discussed during the keynote.

Azure Functions

Jeff continued the session from Logic Apps to Azure Functions. He started off with the evolution of application platforms –

Serverless is the future

  • Abstraction of servers
  • Event Driven and instant scale
  • Micro-billing

Azure Functions is nothing but some code + event/data

Points to Remember with Azure Functions

  • If you are using Visual Studio 2017 (Preview mode currently), you can download Azure Functions Tools for Visual Studio

Session 8 – Microsoft Flows

Derek Li from Microsoft Flows team started off his session talking about what is Microsoft Flows. Flows helps non developers automate their workflow across different apps and services without having to write single line of code.

Microsoft Flow solves the last mile of integration challenges.

Why Flows and not Logic Apps?

Why Flow is important for integration teams?

  • Flow lets business users to self-service and solve simple problems on their own
  • Helps customers to be more engaged
  • Popular, advanced versions of flows translate into Logic Apps
  • For Flow to connect to your services, custom connector has to be developed

Session 9 – Azure API Management

Vladimir Vinogradsky and Matthew Farmer started their session on Azure API Management. I will take you through the key highlights from this session –

  • The following are the updates that have gone into API Management after last year INTEGRATE event 
  • Versioning approach
    • Versioning is opt-in
    • Choose appropriate scheme for API
    • Create New API versions as first class objects
    • Make developers aware of versions and revisions 

Matt Farmer then showcased the API New Portal and he recommends everyone to take a look at the new portal. Paul gave an interesting demo walkthrough about the new portal along with the #ContosFitness concept that was discussed throughout the day.

Finally Vlad came back on stage to discuss the roadmap for the API Management team.

Towards the end of the day, Paul Larsen and Steve Melan showed how you can integrate heritage IBM systems using new cloud and on-premises connectors with an interesting demo.

With that it was a wrap on Day 1 at INTEGRATE 2017. It was time for the attendees to chill out over some drinks and networking.

Statistics of Tweets with #Integrate2017 – End of Day 1

The following screenshot shows the report of number of tweets and their sentiment at the end of Day 1 of #Integrate2017.

And that’s a wrap on our summary of Day 1 at INTEGRATE 2017. We already look forward for Day 2 and Day 3 sessions. Thanks for reading! Good night from Day 1 at INTEGRATE 2017, London.

Author: Sriram Hariharan

Sriram Hariharan is the Senior Technical and Content Writer at BizTalk360. He has over 9 years of experience working as documentation specialist for different products and domains. Writing is his passion and he believes in the following quote – “As wings are for an aircraft, a technical document is for a product — be it a product document, user guide, or release notes”. View all posts by Sriram Hariharan