TechEd 2010 North America is done for another year.  I thought the conference went really well and people were full of enthusiasm.  A lot of Product Groups have shipped, or are shipping products this year.  There were over 11 300 in attendance for this event eager to hear about the latest bits in the pipeline .  I was at TechEd in LA last year and can tell you there wasn’t near that many people in attendance.


BizTalk and the Cloud

I saw a really interesting session where BizTalk was brokering a connection through the Service Bus into a SAP and a Mainframe system.  A Web app was hosted in Azure and BizTalk was listening for requests via the AppFabric Service Bus.  It was probably the riskiest demo I saw, but Chris and Elizabeth pulled it off without a hitch.  I have been thinking about these types of scenarios quite a bit since I have done a fair about of integration with SAP in the past.  SAP certainly cannot connect into the Azure Service Bus at this time nor do I expect them to be able to do that any time soon.  Mainframe systems are no different since they most likely will not have a transport mechanism capable of communicating with the Microsoft cloud.  Many businesses leverage SAP to run their core business, having BizTalk capable of connecting into the cloud provides an additional layer of abstraction and security when accessing SAP data.


More Cloud

There was certainly no shortage of Cloud talk at this conference.  The next session I saw was called Appfabric: Extend .Net technologies to the Cloud.  It was presented by Aaron Skonnard and Keith Brown.  You can tell these guys are very comfortable on the presenter’s stage.  It was probably best presentation that I have seen in a long time.

Some of the topics discussed include:

  • You can think of Azure AppFabric as an extension of the .Net framework
  • No Azure Workflow as a Service in this release
  • Relay bindings allow your application access into the Service Bus
  • Direct connections allow you to communicate peer to peer with other clients in order to improve performance and reduce charges
  • Eventing pub/sub can be used in multi-cast situations
  • To increase interoperability use Http Relay Bindings

View from the BizTalk Booth

  • A had a few conversations with attendees who were using other middleware products such as Oracle or IBM and wanted to know how BizTalk stacked up in terms of feature set.  None of the features that they were requesting were absent from the BizTalk stack.  They also wanted to see how easy the Microsoft tools are to use and the impression that I got is that they felt they were on par with what they were use to seeing.
  • Another attendee wanted to know whether they should be using  WF or BizTalk.  Quite frankly this scenario can still get a little blurry for me.  We talked about things like low latency, durable messaging, flat file requirements, Adapters and management of the solutions.


Next Year

Next year TechEd will be held in Atlanta from May 16th-19th.  There is currently an early bird special where you can save $500 for registering early.