WEBCAST: Introduction to Hybrid Connections

Last week I uploaded our fifth webcast to the Brisbane BizTalk User Group YouTube channel, this one based on a presentation I recently gave to the Brisbane Azure User Group. It is an Introduction to Hybrid Connections, a new BizTalk Services technology that’s currently in Preview. In this 22 minute webcast you’ll learn how Hybrid Connections makes it easy to connect your Azure Web Sites and Mobile Services to your on-premises LOB systems – all with no changes to your corporate network.

mqdefault[1]Introduction to Hybrid Connections [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEgNE_-KC90]

You can also download the slide deck from SlideShare. Most of these slides are borrowed from Santosh Chandwani, a Microsoft Azure Senior Program Manager who gave the initial presentation at Tech-Ed USA the day this went live.

Enjoy!!

Gotchas When Accessing an IaaS SQL Server in an Azure Cloud Service

It’s not that uncommon a scenario… You implement a spectacular BizTalk Server integration solution with well-designed Business Activity Monitoring, and you want to expose all that BAM goodness out through a custom-designed Web application built with HTML5, etc.

What might make this scenario slightly less common is when you’re hosting the BizTalk Server infrastructure in Azure. In this case, your custom Web application needs to be hosted within the same virtual network in order to access the BAM databases – unless of course you want to expose your SQL Server to the world by establishing a TCP endpoint on a port like 1433 (usually not a great idea).

Establishing that connectivity should be trivial – and it probably is if you get past a few potential stumbling blocks. I thought I might list some of them here in hopes that it may be helpful to others who try this.

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User Group Presentation on Hybrid Connections

Last week I had the privilege to present on Hybrid Connections at the Brisbane Azure User Group meeting. It was well attended and the community responded very enthusiastically to the ease at which this technology enables you to connect Azure Web Sites and Mobile Services to on-premises resources behind your corporate firewall. One attendee was so excited by the feature that he stayed back after the meeting with his laptop and proceeded to deploy his web site application to Azure right there on the spot, hooking it up in minutes to his on-premises database!

highres_399395482 I’d like to express my gratitude to Santosh Chandwani, a Microsoft Azure Sr. Program Manager who shared his slide deck with me and gave some very helpful tips in preparing my demo. The slides are available on SlideShare if you wish to view the presentation as I presented it, or you can download the original version that Santosh presented at Tech Ed USA.

Santosh also promptly answered some questions raised by the community which I posted on the Azure Advisors Yammer group:

Q: Seems expensive to get more than 5 HC connections?
A: “If there are specific Dev-Test scenarios where the 5 Free HC don’t suffice, please let us know.”

Q: What are the performance/load specifications? Any guidance on where potential bottlenecks may be, and/or best practice guidelines?
A: “In general, the throughput you can achieve with HC is constrained by the internet connectivity between the on-prem network and Azure. Since this is part of the user’s network infrastructure, it is hard for us to provide a specific throughput baseline.
We recommend users assess the throughput that each instance of the on-prem Hybrid Connection Manager provides on their network. Adding more instances may provide higher throughput (again depending on the network infrastructure). Also, for production scenarios, at least 2 instances are recommended for resiliency. ”

Stay tuned for an upcoming webcast about this on the BrizTalk YouTube Channel!

UPDATE: Webcast published!! View it here.

The exception message is: A base address with the uri scheme ‘net.pipe’ needs to be specified if using service management endpoint ‘ServiceManagementNetPipeEndpoint’

This post was extremely useful today while troubleshooting an AppFabric error with Service Bus Relays (“System.ServiceModel.ServiceActivationException: The service ‘/MyServices/MyService.svc’ cannot be activated due to an exception during compilation. The exception message is: A base address with the uri scheme ‘net.pipe’ needs to be specified if using service management endpoint ‘ServiceManagementNetPipeEndpoint’.”) There have been many other posts about this topic, but this is the first one I found that revealed the critical last step of checking the net.pipe binding on the website level (not just the application level)! Well done, Sajid!!

The Code Authors

AppFabric uses this magically generated service endpoint when we configure the services to start automatically.

Problem
System.ServiceModel.ServiceActivationException: The service ” cannot be activated due to an exception during compilation. The exception message is: A base address with the uri scheme ‘net.pipe’ needs to be specified if using service management endpoint ‘ServiceManagementNetPipeEndpoint’. Verify a base address exists on the site and the protocol is enabled on the application.. —> System.Configuration.ConfigurationErrorsException: A base address with the uri scheme ‘net.pipe’ needs to be specified if using service management endpoint ‘ServiceManagementNetPipeEndpoint’. Verify a base address exists on the site and the protocol is enabled on the application.

Solution.
Under the advanced settings of the service make sure net.pipe configured as one of the enabled protocols.

appfabricnetpipeerror1

Still see the same error??

Check if the website has this binding enabled.

appfabricnetpipeerror2

And verify this binding is enabled as protocol on website level.

appfabricnetpipeerror3

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Mapping a Newline within a String

Today a colleague asked me how best to insert newlines into a concatenated set of address lines within a map. It struck me that despite spending eleven years as a BizTalk developer, creating hundreds if not thousands of maps,  and even authoring a Pluralsight course on the Mapper,  I’ve never actually attempted something as simple as inserting a newline into a string output!

Like most programmers with C# .NET experience, the first instinct was to try inserting “\n” or “\r\n” into the string. But of course that wouldn’t work – the output of a non-scripted mapper link is XSLT, not .NET code.

So that leads to the assumption that an XML entity character is required; surely that will work? Since the string “&#13&#10” is the XML entity representation of a carriage return followed by a line feed (CR LF), we should be able to just insert that as a constant parameter within the String Concatenate functoid:

01

But then it becomes evident that the mapper escapes all characters that might otherwise be unintentionally interpreted as markup:

02

Hmmm… not turning out to be as easy as we thought. Surely we don’t need to resort to inline XSLT just to insert a newline into text?

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