A hidden gem in BizTalk Services?

A fellow Solidsofter– Ian McQueen had pointed out a real (hidden?) gem with BizTalk services I hadn’t heard about.

At the off-chance it isn’t just me, here it is –

Did you know that you get a BizTalk Standard license to use on-premises with BizTalk Services Premium edition?

We spotted this here

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At this point I could not find any more details on this, but it is very interesting indeed as it opens the capability for more advanced integration to on-premises systems in conjunction with the ease and cost-effectiveness of BizTalk Services

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BizTalk Enterprise on Azure

With Azure IaaS and BizTalk 2013 officially released I wanted to do a quick exercise of setting up a multi-server BizTalk environment.

I started by creating a virtual network and deployign a domain controller onto it, I then added a SQL Server instance from the platform images and joined it to the domain and finally I added a BizTalk Enterprise instance from the platform images and joined that to the domain too.

So far everything went smooth. I then nearly remembered that in a multi server environment I needed to manually create the necessary domain groups and that was easy enough to do but still – I could not get the BizTalk configuration Wizard to work.

Ok – at least partially this was due to my own arrogance thinking I can still remember how to do this by heart despite having not touched BizTalk in anger for over two years, but partially it is simply the Conifugraion Wizards unhelpful approach to error reporting.

Either way thrawling through the log file revealed the key to finding out what’s missing – the error – “Failed to read "KeepDbDebugKey" from the registry”

A quick Bing search pointed out the infamous mistake – missing the step to enable DTC appropriately.

Quite handily the BTS image comes with DTC correctly configured (no surprise there) but as I was using a vanilla SQL Server image it had DTC disabled, and that needed changing

With that done I could properly configure BizTalk 2013 on an Azure IaaS instance and get everything to work

Enabling Hybrid Cloud/On-Premises Solutions

Paolo Salvatori write a fantastic paper on How to integrate a BizTalk Server application with Windows Azure Service Bus Queues and Topics and being an Azure guy at present but a BizTalk guy for the past 11 years, this is “right up my street” as they say, although I do think that this article will come very useful to anyone interested in hybrid solutions and the messaging capabilities in the cloud, with or without BizTalk in the picture as Paolo does a great job of introducing the service bus capabilities and describing some typical scenarios.

This is an important topic – as much as we’d like to see everything on Windows Azure, naturally, enterprises will not magically teleport their entire IT estate into the cloud.
Some applications will probably remain on premises for a while , if not forever, and there are some very valid reasons for that.

What this means, of course, is that any enterprise that is half-serious about cloud adoption needs to consider how to support the hybrid model where some applications are in the cloud whilst others are on premises and how to do cloud/on-premises integration.

The Windows Azure platform, with the Service Bus capabilities – the relay service, queues and topics, as well as the upcoming integration capabilities, enables the hybrid model easily yet robustly using familiar concepts and tools.

Couple this with a strong enterprise integration solution, one implemented on BizTalk server for example, which provides the ‘gateway’ to and from the cloud within the enterprise and you can take a federated approach to enterprise service bus with one leg on the ground and another in the cloud.

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