BizTalk Summit 2014 in December

Save the date for BizTalk Summit 2014, which will take place December 3-5 on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, WA. There will be 300+ partners and customers, so bring your questions, knowledge, and business cards.

Agenda

  • Executive keynotes outlining Microsoft vision and roadmap
  • Technical deep-dives with product group and industry experts
  • Product announcements
  • Real-world demonstrations from lighthouse customers
  • Roundtable discussions + Q&A
  • Partner Showcase Sessions
  • We are also planning hands-on labs so you can roll up our sleeves and experience new capabilities
  • Networking and social activities

The Upcoming End of Extended Support for BizTalk Server 2006

In July, Microsoft ended all support for BizTalk Server 2004. This got us to thinking about the looming end of support for other versions of BizTalk Server: mainstream support for 2006 and 2009 has already ended, and extended support for 2006 (and R2) ends in July 2016:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/18709.biztalk-server-product-lifecycle.aspx

According to Microsoft, extended support differs quite a bit from mainstream support, including:

  • No non-security hotfixes
  • You will be charged for incident support requests
  • No warranty claims
  • No design or feature change requests

Our new BizTalk Server Administrator Deep Dive course covers the skills your team needs to assess and upgrade your infrastructure. View our upcoming advanced BizTalk Server administration class schedule:

Date Duration Location
Sep 29 5 days Kirkland, WA (+ Remote)
Nov 03 5 days Utrecht, Netherlands
Nov 17 5 days Kirkland, WA (+ Remote)

Free Book with BizTalk ESB Training!

QuickLearn is offering a copy of Thomas Erl’s SOA Design Patterns for any one who registers for the BizTalk Expert Series: ESB 2.1training course on November 7th.

In this 3-day class you will learn to install and use the BizTalk ESB Toolkit 2.1 to create a flexible, secure, and reusable infrastructure for services, and to build composite applications, using existing services, to create new end-to-end business processes. Register Online.

If you have any questions, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you in class!

Are You Ready for BizTalk 2010?

The next major release of BizTalk Server is just around the corner. Microsoft has had some of the new features brewing since before BizTalk Server 2009. Others have been long sought after functionality that have yielded many third party components to fill the gap. In an industry where change is always on the horizon the one thing that remains constant is the question of readiness. Are you prepared for the launch of BizTalk Server 2010?

Let’s drill into some of the new features to find out what it can provide your organization.

Enhanced BizTalk Mapper

imageOne of the features, that will stand out the most as you open up Visual Studio 2010 to create your first new BizTalk Server 2010 project, is the new and improved BizTalk Mapper. New features include:

  • Ability to search a map for a given schema node, or functoid
  • Ability to cut, copy, and paste functoids and links between maps and pages
  • Cleaner display of map links based on how related they are to schema nodes within the view
  • Automatic highlighting of links and functoids related to the active selection
  • Automatic scrolling into view of links and functoids related to the active selection
  • Simplified configuration UI for functoids (e.g., the scripting functoid has a single tabbed window with which you can fully configure the connections and the script)
  • Indicative match functionality that suggests nodes to link

These features and others make dealing with large maps, re-using existing maps, and creating new maps a much more pain free experience. Many of the features the new BizTalk Mapper offers derive from a version of the BizTalk Mapper demoed at PDC in years past – they have more than delivered on what was already demonstrated.

Updated Trading Partner Management (TPM) Capabilities

imageAnother fairly major change within BizTalk Server 2010 is the way in which Parties are configured. Previously, if you had a party with whom you interacted with in multiple ways, there was not a clear way to configure and logically categorize those interactions within the Admin console. BizTalk Server 2010 solves this problem by bringing in the concepts of Business Profiles, and Trading Partner Agreements.

A Business Profile is a singular role that a trading partner could play, or a singular instance of that partner. For example you could have a trading partner that at sometimes will be a vendor, and at other times will be purchasing from your business. Those two roles would become two separate Business Profiles attached to the same party. You could also have a trading partner that has both a US and European division, those could also become separate profiles. Each profile also has related identity and protocol settings that can be configured.

A Trading Partner Agreement is a definition of how two profiles interact, including the selected protocol settings for each side of the communication.

Managing parties in this way still enables rapid change, but also allows for logical organization and consistency for those partners who interact in multiple ways with your enterprise.

Adapter & Integration Changes

Since BizTalk Server 2009, and even somewhat earlier, we have seen BizTalk adapters in a slow but steady migration over to WCF counterparts. BizTalk Server 2010 continues in this path as the SQL adapter finally rests in peace. The WCF-SQL adapter serves as its replacement (alternatively WCF-Custom using the sqlBinding binding).

In a similar turn of events, the SOAP adapter has also been deprecated in this release, and with it the BizTalk Web Services Publishing Wizard.

This slow migration to WCF-based adapters has not stopped the product team from making key updates to existing adapters however. The FTP adapter has been updated to support both FTPS (not yet SFTP), and read-only FTP locations. This functionality has been long sought after, and a few third party components had been filling this gap. That will no longer be necessary.

 

BizTalk Server Settings Dashboard

imageThis new feature is not quite as glamorous as some of the others, but is still a huge improvement. The BizTalk Server Settings Dashboard is a new UI for configuring the key performance, throttling, and tracking settings of your entire BizTalk group while offering fine grained control all the way down to the Host Instance level. It combines settings that had previously been strewn about in the Admin Console, the registry, the BizTalk configuration file, and the configuration database, into a single logically organized UI.

Further, it allows you to import/export these settings for transfer between environments (even when the naming of the hosts and host instances does not match the original environment. This is going to be a boon for controlled performance testing, and something to keep in your back pocket.

Updated Platform Support

This release of BizTalk Server will no longer be supported on Windows Server 2003. Instead the minimum requirement will be raised to Windows Server 2008 with SP2, and it will also support running on Windows Server 2008 R2. If you’re running it for development purposes, it will also support both Windows Vista with SP2 and Windows 7 on the desktop OS side of things.

For development you will now be using Visual Studio 2010 when dealing with BizTalk Server. Visual Studio is, by far, Microsoft’s best IDE to date. I was personally hesitant at first given its whimsical color scheme, however shallow that may be, but the productivity gains ultimately sold me – that, and the fact that it even runs perfectly happily on my netbook.

If you’re not running SQL Server 2008 yet in your environment, you will be. BizTalk Server 2010 supports both SQL Server 2008 SP1, and SQL Server 2008 R2.

How to Obtain BizTalk Server 2010

If you want to start diving into BizTalk Server 2010 now, you can find the link to download the Beta at Microsoft’s BizTalk Landing Page.

QuickLearn also offers a class on BizTalk Server 2010 aimed at developers who would like to update their skills to Microsoft’s latest offering. A preview of that class, and our new self-paced learning environment, can be accessed through the link on the QuickLearn Online Anytime page.

BizTalk Server 2009 Training in Oslo, Norway

Looking for BizTalk Server 2009 Training in Europe? QuickLearn’s partner www.Bouvet.no has invited John Callaway to teach several BizTalk classes in the remainder of 2010.

John Callaway will be teaching:

View all of QuickLearn’s BizTalk Server 2009 Training

Want to Learn BizTalk Development? New Self-Paced BizTalk Training

Get a complete overview of BizTalk server 2009 developer capabilities and toolsets with QuickLearn’s new self-paced course: BizTalk Developer Fundamentals.

This brand new course provides an introduction to developing applications with BizTalk Server 2009. New-to-product developers will learn how-to work with Visual Studio and BizTalk developer tools to jumpstart their BizTalk projects. 

The BizTalk Developer Fundamentals Training includes an overview of:

  • Creating BizTalk Schemas
  • Creating BizTalk Maps & Functoids
  • Message BizTalk Routing & Ports
  • Building BizTalk Pipelines
  • Building BizTalk Orchestrations

The subscription to the BizTalk Developer Fundamentals training includes:

  • 60-days of access to video presentations and demos
  • 15 hours of lab time
  • Online Support

View all of QuickLearn’s BizTalk Server 2009 Training

Learn at Your Own Pace with QuickLearn Online Anytime BizTalk Training!

Take control of your learning experience – get the BizTalk training you need when and where you want it.

Online Anytime Self-Paced Training offers QuickLearn’s high-quality BizTalk training, hands-on lab experience, and instructor support, without the cost of travel or set hours.

Self-paced training for BizTalk Server 2009/2010 includes…

  • Instructor-led video presentations
  • Technical demonstrations
  • Remote hands-on labs
  • Technical support

QuickLearn’s Online Anytime Self-Paced BizTalk Training Provides:

  • Cost Savings – no travel costs and lower tuition fees
  • Flexibility – set your own hours and study from home or work
  • Control – choose your lessons and study in any order

Learn more about QuickLearn Online Anytime Self-Paced BizTalk Training

Understanding Extenders in the Itinerary Designer

I was lurking around the ESB Toolkit forums yesterday, and got involved in an exchange with someone who was hitting the same roadblock to the Itinerary Designer that a lot of people hit: confusion with the model elements and extenders. Upon my first exposure to the Itinerary Designer it took me a week to get over the learning curve of this, and to understand why every send operation seemingly involved two off-ramp shapes instead of one.

Now in the case of that thread, the problem was actually not having a properly formatted SOAP request for the service that was going to be invoked (also a fairly common issue), but getting to the actual issue took cutting through some of the confusing bits of how the itinerary services themselves are implemented, and what they do.

That being said, I took some time last night to write up an article on the different model elements in the itinerary designer, their extenders, and how they can be used to compose an itinerary. You can access the article here: Making Sense of Model Elements and Extenders in the Itinerary Designer

Side note: The article is now part of the brand new (and still under-construction) QuickLearn Technical Library, which will soon contain many more similar articles and links to technical resources for all of the technologies about which QuickLearn teaches.

That’s all for now!

Building Expert Series training for BAM

Over the past month I’ve been working really hard on our new BizTalk Expert Series class for Business Activity Monitoring. I have to say that I’m really excited to start teaching it. In three days, we manage to cover almost everything one could want to know about BAM. The most interesting part of it for me is the data consumption lab. I’ve never been very fond of the BAM Portal. It’s nice, but certainly not something that I’d like to parade in front of a CEO of a big company. Don’t get me wrong, the capabilities are awesome, but the way it looks and some of its behaviors aren’t the best. In the consumption lab, we examine how to create custom consumption models for BAM data using PerformancePoint, SQL Reporting Services, and an AJAX based web site. I’d never worked with PerformancePoint before and I was surprised by how easy it was to create a dashboard based on the BAM OLAP cube.

Resuming Suspended Messages

Last week while teaching the BizTalk Developer Immersion, I was demoing how to resume suspended messages using the BizTalk Group Hub. I submitted six messages while my send port was stopped, so all the messages were suspended. I was foolishly trying to show my students that if I resumed the message, it wouldn’t be processed because the send port was in a stopped state. I resumed the message and it disappeared, actually, it went out through the send port. This confused me, I had six suspended messages, I resumed one and it was processed so I only had five. But why? I couldn’t figure it out, the port is stopped, the message shouldn’t be processed but if one went through why not all of them. I was stumped, then it occurred to me. If I were in production there are dozens of scenarios where I could have dozens or hundreds of messages in the MessageBox waiting for my send port to start, but before I actually start it all up, I want to send a few specific messages as a test. By stopping the port I can see all the messages that the port subscribes to and choose which ones should go through. So now I think it’s pretty cool.