We have reached the 25 installment of the BizTalk Insider Newsletter! It has been great to see BizTalk continue to grow over the years. In regards to roadmap, BizTalk 2010 R2 planning and development is currently going on and seems to be shaping up nicely. Not much public on it currently, but hopefully will be able to share more in the next newsletter. I’d also like to thank Michael Lipscombe, one of our Virtual TSPs for contributing to this newsletter. -Jonathan

  • In the News
    • Gartner Says Platform as a Service is on the Cusp of Several Years of Strategic Growth
    • SQL Server 2012 RTM
    • HIMSS: Healthcare Claims Processing and Management Solution
  • Events and Webinars
    • Twelve Days of SQL Server 2012
    • Zero Touch BizTalk Deployments with Nolio ASAP
  • Releases and Downloads
    • Azure Service Bus EDI & EAI, April CTP
    • Cumulative Update 4 for BizTalk Server 2010
    • SQL Server: StreamInsight 2.0
    • Microsoft AppFabric 1.1
  • Learning
    • Book Excerpt: "To The Cloud: Cloud Powering an Enterprise"
    • Guidance on Microsoft Integration Architectures
  • Articles and Blogs
    • MCS Blog with Great BizTalk Articles
    • Grouping and Sorting in the New Azure Transform Designer
    • Comparing Windows Azure Queues and Windows Azure Service Bus Queues
  • Tools and Add-ons
    • Converting BizTalk Maps to Azure Transforms
    • Manage BizTalk Server from your Phone or Tablet
    • Update to MSBuild Extension Pack

In the News

Gartner Says Platform as a Service is on the Cusp of Several Years of Strategic Growth

Take a look at the HPC Web article discussing a new Gartner paper on PAAS (Platform as a Service) on which Azure platform is squarely orientated. Just like the internet, web site, XML, outsourcing and virtualization, companies will start using the cloud in some form or another. The goal should be to not get caught in the hype cycle and to realize where it can best benefit your company.

SQL Server 2012 RTM

April saw the release of SQL Server 2012. Press release is here. This release sees SQL Server working closer with the cloud a host of enhancements around Business Intelligence (BI), disaster recovery (multi-subnet failover clustering) and programming. The new Sequence user defined object is a particular interesting new feature.  You can check what’s new here.

HIMSS: Healthcare Claims Processing and Management Solution

CCI Tec announced a Claims Solution at HIMSS that decreases the number of claims requiring manual remediation and increases the number of accepted claims providing very quick ROI to companies. TecENTERPRISE Claims allows both claims processors and information managers to locate and modify problem claims and also identify patterns quickly and accurately. An array of role-specific dashboards and KPIs are also provided.

 

Events and Webinars

Twelve Days of SQL Server 2012

The SQL Server team hosted the twelve days of SQL Server. The live sessions are completed, but you can also go back and view the recordings. Lots of topics including FastTrack, Report Builder, AlwaysOn and more.

Zero Touch BizTalk Deployments with Nolio ASAP

Nolio Application Service Automation Platform (Nolio ASAP) is a software platform for automating application deployment, maintenance, remediation and recovery processes across the data center. This includes a BizTalk Action Pack to streamline and fully automate BizTalk deployments. Check out their webinar recording they did on Zero Touch BizTalk Deployments. They also recently updated ASAP 3.3.3 with updated BizTalk Action Pack.

 

Releases and Downloads

Azure Service Bus EDI & EAI, April CTP

Definitely put this on your To-do list. The Azure Integration CTP is a unique opportunity to see the current thinking at Microsoft around integrating in the cloud. BizTalk developers will see familiar concepts and the latest CTP released this month introduces enhancements to Bridges, the map and schema editors as well as support for external FTP connectivity. A great overview of the refresh can be found here.

Cumulative Update 4 for BizTalk Server 2010

Check out the blog, Announcing release of CU4 for BizTalk Server 2010 for information on the latest CU for BizTalk Server 2010. Remember, as the name implies these are cumulative for all the preceding updates and hotfixes, so you can get all your updates in one package whether you install each update a quarter or half-year or annually.

SQL Server: StreamInsight 2.0

To coincide with the SQL Server 2012 release Microsoft released the latest version of StreamInsight 2.0. StreamInsight is a Complex Event Processing (CEP) platform that enables the continuous and incremental processing of unbounded sequences of events from multiple sources with near-zero latency. This release sees the product align with .NET 4.0 and includes a number of performance and stability improvements. You can download the 2.0 release here. LINQPad for StreamInsight has also been updated, a great tool for developing and testing your queries in. If you’re just getting started the Hitchhikers Guide to StreamInsight Queries is an excellent resource.

Microsoft AppFabric 1.1

Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server (AppFabric 1.1) is an update of Windows Server AppFabric 1.0. Several enhancements around AppFabric Cache have been released including the ability to now do Read-Through and Write-Behinds.

 

Learning

Book Excerpt: "To The Cloud: Cloud Powering an Enterprise"

Senior manager in the Microsoft IT Global Strategic Initiatives team, Pankaj Arora, has co-authored a book on leveraging the cloud for Microsoft. Check out the Windows Azure blog for an excerpt of the book.

Guidance on Microsoft Integration Architectures

Here is the paper for architects/CIO/IT Managers from one of our MVPs on the Integration technologies: Guidance for integration architecture on the Microsoft Business platform. The author is Gijs in 't Veld and is the CTO at motion10. You can also download the pdf of the article here. It is fairly high-level, so don’t expect any deep technical comparisons, but will make you aware of technology out there today and where it is going.

 

Articles and Blogs

MCS Blog with Great BizTalk Articles

Our MCS friends in Middles East and Africa have a blog with a number of BizTalk postings. This includes blogs with detailed information around techniques for BizTalk Pipelines, ESB Toolkit, and BAM.

Grouping and Sorting in the New Azure Transform Designer

I wrote a blog article on the capabilities in the new grouping and sorting capabilities. The new mapper allows some capabilities you have not been able to do before in the current BizTalk mapper.

Comparing Windows Azure Queues and Windows Azure Service Bus Queues

Windows Azure Queues and Service Bus Queues are implementations of the message queuing service currently offered on Windows Azure. Each has a slightly different feature set, which means you can choose one or the other, or use both, depending on the needs of your particular solution or business/technical problem you are solving. The Azure team has put together an article that analyzes the differences and similarities between the two services. By using this information, you can compare and contrast the respective queuing services and be able to make a more informed decision about which solution best meets your needs.

 

Tools and Add-ons

Converting BizTalk Maps to Azure Transforms

Along with the Azure Service Bus EDI & EAI April CTP, an update to an alpha tool has also occurred. If you would like to try out some existing BizTalk Maps in Windows Azure, take a look at the BTM Migration Tool up on CodePlex.

Manage BizTalk Server from your Phone or Tablet

Tellago Studios recently released a new product called Moesion which allows you to manage a BizTalk Server Group from your smartphone or table. Jesus Rodriguez discusses the solution at this blog.

Update to MSBuild Extension Pack

The MSBuild Extension Pack April 2012 release provides a collection of over 435 MSBuild tasks. This includes tasks for BizTalk Server 2006 – 2010 and great piece to automate your BizTalk builds.