6th Annual Global Azure Bootcamp Brings Azure to Brisbane

imageLast weekend I had the honour of both organising and speaking at the 6th annual Global Azure Bootcamp in Brisbane. This is always a large event to manage, typically sold out with a long waiting list – and this year was no exception! We had over 70 people attend this all-day Saturday deep-dive into Microsoft Azure technologies – and the response was extremely favourable by all signs.

As the name suggests, this is a global initiative which is organised by six individuals from around the world who donate a massive amount of time and effort to facilitate the launching of local community events on a specific common day. Through their website they manage to collect registrations from local organisers, disseminate information, create hands-on lab materials (e.g. racing game), obtain global sponsors (who donate free licenses and trial subscriptions of their products), set up support for sub-domains, and even help obtain local sponsorship (e.g. Microsoft providing free Subway lunches at most locations).  It is a massive undertaking. This year we had 262 locations from around the world participate.

image

Local organisers were free to decide their own agenda in terms of content and activity. In Brisbane, we nominated to have a full day of presentations while allowing attendees to go off and work on hands-on labs whenever they wanted to. This has worked out well in the past, and this year was not exception. In this way we were able to accommodate seven presentations, from some of which you can download the content (I’ll keep updating this as they are posted, so please check back if a link isn’t available just yet):

Speaker Title Download
Adam Cogan Keynote: The Nine Knights of Azure Slides | Video
Todd Whitehead Azure Ninja Tips & Tricks Slides | Video
Adam Stephensen Bots – The Next UI Revolution Slides | Video
Alessandro Cardoso Identity Modernization with Azure Slides | Video
Dan Toomey Serverless iPaaS in Azure Slides | Video
David Alzamendi Ingesting, Processing & Displaying Real Time Information with Azure Slides | Video
Elliot Munro Automate Office 365 administration with Azure Functions and PowerShell Slides | Video

Dan-wAudience-DeanROne challenge this year was finding a venue after a building-wide power outage at Microsoft was scheduled at the last minute. Fortunately, The Precinct was available and was generous in lending us their Staircase Stadium. What an interesting space! It came with an excellent A/V package, free wi-fi, and a kitchen that was well suited to the catering. Although it did not offer the luxuriant comfortable seating one might prefer for an all day event, the attendees nevertheless seemed to agree that it was a good venue. AdamCogan-Keynote

Lunch was provided by Subway through the generous sponsorship of Microsoft. We also were served an excellent morning and afternoon tea by Art of Catering.

At the end of the day, we were able to raffle off some excellent prizes to six lucky winners thanks to the generous donations of both the global and local sponsors.

There are several people and organisations I’d like to thank for their contributions to this event:

Looking forward to next year!

2nd Annual Global Integration Bootcamp a Success!

DZLx-R1UQAEhxvOLast Saturday I had the great privilege of organising and hosting the 2nd annual Global Integration Bootcamp in Brisbane. This was a free event hosted by 15 communities around the globe, including four in Australia and one in New Zealand!

It’s a lot of work to put on these events, but it’s worth it when you see a whole bunch of dedicated professionals give up part of their weekend because they are enthusiastic to learn about Microsoft’s awesome integration capabilities.

The day’s agenda concentrated on Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) offerings in Microsoft Azure. It was a packed schedule with both presentations and hands-on labs:

Time Slot Topic Speaker
08:30 – 08:45 Arrival & Check-In  
08:45 – 09:00 Introduction & Welcome Dan Toomey
09:00 – 09:45 Serverless Computing with Logic Apps, Functions & Event Grid Dan Toomey
09:45 – 10:45 Building a Smart Solution with Azure Storage, Event Grid, Functions, Logic Apps & the Computer Vision API (Hands-On Lab)
10:45  – 11:30 Microsoft Flow, LUIS and Bots Susie Moore, Dan Toomey
11:30 – 13:00 Creating a Smart Expense Claims Bot using Flow & Bizzy (Hands-On Lab)
13:00 – 13:30 Cognitive Services Adam Finster
13:30 – 15:00 Recognising People  with Cognitive Services Face API (Hands-On Lab)
15:00 – 15:30 Azure API Management Dan Toomey
15:30 – 16:30 API Management Tutorials (Hands-On Lab)
16:30 – 17:00 Integration Design Lee Simpson

It wasn’t all work… we had some delicious morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea catered by Artisan’s Café & Catering, and there was a bit of swag to give away as well thanks to Microsoft and also Mexia (who generously sponsored the event).

0a4f5bc5-e350-401a-b98d-a26c7cd6a502-originalOverall, feedback was good and most attendees were appreciative of what they learned. The slide decks for most of the presentations are available online and linked above, and the labs are available here if you would like to have a go.

I’d like to thank my colleagues Susie, Lee and Adam for stepping up into the speaker slots and giving me a couple of much needed breaks! I’d also like to thank Joern Staby for helping out with the lab proctoring and also writing an excellent post-event article

Finally, I be remiss in not mentioning the global sponsors who were responsible for getting this world-wide event off of the ground and providing the lab materials:

  • Martin Abbott
  • Glenn Colpaert
  • Steef-Jan Wiggers
  • Tomasso Groenendijk
  • Eldert Grootenboer
  • Sven Van den brande
  • Gijs in ‘t Veld
  • Rob Fox

Really looking forward to next year’s event!

MVP Summit: Microsoft Rolling Out the Red Carpet

Image result for mvp summit 2018 images

Last week I had the extraordinary privilege of attending my first MVP Summit at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, USA. From hearing the stories and remarks from my many MVP colleagues over the years, I’ve known for a long time that this is one of the biggest perks of this highly coveted award. But even so, I was really impressed and humbled by the experience, particularly by the lengths that Microsoft went to ensure that we felt welcome and had a great experience.

The MVP Summit is an annual event hosted by Microsoft and open only to the ~3800 MVP award recipients throughout the world. (To learn more about the MVP award itself, please see my previous blog post.) The event features several days of presentations and interactions with the various product groups, affording rare opportunitiesiPhone Import 024 for MVPs to obtain exclusive NDA information about what is coming and to provide feedback to Microsoft about their observations and experiences from the field. It is in this role as influencers that MVPs provide Microsoft the greatest value, as it helps shape better products and maintain their competitive edge. In addition to the presentations, workshops and interactions, there are several events designed to facilitate networking including a Regional Meetup, Product Group Happy Hours, and of course the Attendee Celebration. Microsoft pays for accommodation (twin share), provides all local transportation via a fleet of shuttle buses, and lays out plenty of food – including a limitless supply of coffee throughout the day and alcohol at the evening events. So the only major expense for attendees is getting to the event  – not an insignificant cost for an Australian, but definitely worth it!

2018-03-05 JoeysAs with all conferences like this, one the greatest benefits is the ability to catch up with friends and colleagues from all over the world who share a special interest (in this case, enterprise integration). Despite a full five days of scheduled content and events (plus a pre-event day), there was still plenty of time to socialise, whether it be enjoying an exquisite meal at Moksha, downing a few drinks at Joey’s, or even making a side trip to a local attraction.

In addition to seeing so many friendly faces from around the world, it Dan&Justinwas also good to be joined by at least 90 MVP colleagues from Australia & New Zealand, including my esteemed Mexia co-worker Justin Yoo, my long time mentor & friend Bill Chesnut, and the familiar face of Kirsty McGrath who was also a first timer at the Summit (and yet invited to speak!)

Kirsty&DanAlthough Enterprise Integration was hardly a heavily featured topic at the Summit, Principal Program Manager Jon Fancey helped make the most of the opportunity by scheduling a special “round table” session where 25-30 integration specialists were invited to discuss topics and concerns with the pro-integration team. While the product group is always extremely responsive online, it was awesome having face-to-face conversations.  We all left feeling that the session was very productive and informative at both ends. In addition, we hosted our second Integration Down Under webinar right from the Microsoft campus, inviting Jon along with MiaoJiang, Paul Larsen, and Dan Rosanova as speakers. You can view the recording here

Daniels_1As a final surprise, the pro-integration team (including Jim Harrer) expressed their appreciation of the Global Integration Bootcamp organisers by taking us all out to a fancy steak dinner at Daniel’s Broiler in Bellevue. It was a great evening, although I walked away feeling like I’d eaten a whole cow!

I would really like to express my deep appreciation to Microsoft for rolling out the red carpet for us! No detail was missed. For example, the endless fleet of shuttle buses taking us between the hotels and the Microsoft campus (which even had power outlets in the seats to keep our devices charged), the free umbrellas handed out to endure the wet weather, and the stylish MVP jackets that all participants were issued! In addition, all of the staff were so friendly and helpful. It certainly makes all the hard work leading to an MVP status feel appreciated. I hope I have the opportunity to attend for many years to come!

And lastly, I’d like to shout out the excellent work that Lana Montgomery does as our MVP Regional Manager for Asia. Not only does she keep us all informed, but she also tirelessly works to support our initiatives and events – and even schedules regular events in all our big Australian / NZ cities to keep us connected. Thanks Lana!

Integration Down Under… is UP & RUNNING!

For years now Integration Monday has been faithfully giving us webinars almost every week. There have been some outstanding sessions from international leaders in the integration space including MVPs, members of the Microsoft product team, and other community members. For the Asia Pacific community, however, it has always been a challenge to participate in the live sessions due to the unfriendly time zone.  (I certainly know what a struggle it was to present my own session last October at 4:30am!)  Even from the listener’s perspective, it is usually nicer to be able to join a live webinar and ask questions rather than to consume the recordings afterwards.

Thanks to the initiative of veteran MVP Bill Chesnut (aka “BizTalk Bill”) and the sponsorship of his employer SixPivot, we now have a brand new webinar series starting up in a friendlier time slot for our APAC community! Integration Down Under is launching its inaugural webinar session on Thursday, 8th February at 7:00pm AEST. You can register for this free event here.

This initial session will introduce the leaders and allow each of us to present as very short talk on a chosen topic:

    There are already more than twenty registrations even though the link has been live for only a few days. I hope that this is a good sign of the interest within the community!

Feeling really fortunate to be part of this initiative, and looking forward to delivering my intro to Event Grid talk! It will be a slightly scaled down version of what I presented at the Sydney Tech Summit back in November. Hope to see you there!

Speaking on Azure Event Grid at the Microsoft Tech Summit in Sydney

I’m really excited about the opportunity to speak at the Microsoft Tech Summit in Sydney this week! This free two-day event is a technical learning opportunity with a focus on Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365. There are some great sessions lined up with mostly Microsoft speakers, and although my partner slot is only 15 minutes, I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts on Azure Event Grid with the community:

image

Unfortunately with such a short time frame, there won’t be the opportunity to share and demonstrate the scenario which I’ve blogged about here, but I hopefully will have time to do a very short demo of the blob storage integration. In my preparation, I’ve been able to whittle down the execution time to less than three minutes, which includes:

  • Showing a pre-created Azure blob storage account with a single empty container
  • Provisioning an Event Grid subscription to blob creation events from within this storage account
  • Targeting the subscription at a URL from Request Bin
  • Uploading a file to the blob container using Azure Storage Explorer
  • Observing the event message displayed in Request Bin
    Getting all this to work smoothly in a limited time will feel a bit like a Mister Maker “Make It in a Minute” challenge – but Event Grid makes it so easy to integrate with Azure services that I’m pretty confident in being able to pull it off.
    Right now, the preview version only accepts a limited number of publishers and subscribers from Azure, but these options will expand over the coming months:

image

    And with support for custom topics and WebHook subscriptions, Event Grid is capable of handling events from anywhere today that can publish a properly formatted message to a URL and provide the necessary SAS token!
    If you’re going to be in Sydney at the event, please be sure to drop by the Amplify 1 stage at 9:15am on Thursday and check out my presentation! You won’t be disappointed. And don’t be shy about coming up to say “Hi” – I’ll be around for the rest of the two days, including the MVP  “Meet the Expert” sessions.

Great Experience at INTEGRATE 2017 in London!

Last week I had the privilege not only of attending the INTEGRATE 2017 conference in London, but presenting as well. A huge thanks to Saravana Kumar and BizTalk360 for inviting me as a speaker – what a tremendous honour and thrill to stand in front of nearly 400 integration enthusiasts from around the world and talk about Hybrid Connectivity! Also, a big thanks to Mexia for generously funding my trip. 14-DMT_NickHhauenstein

With 380+ attendees from 52 countries around the globe, this is by far the biggest Microsoft integration event of the year. Of those 380, only four of us that I know of came from APAC: fellow MVP speakers Martin Abbott from Perth and Wagner Silveira from Auckland NZ, as well as Cameron Shackell from Brisbane who manned his ActiveADAPTER sponsor stand. Wagner would have to take the prize for the furthest travelled with his 30+ hour journey!

After publishing one blog post summarising my take on the messages delivered by Microsoft (which accounted for half of the sessions at the event),  I followed on shortly after with another similar post highlighting the MVP community presentations. In addition to BizTalk Server, Logic Apps, and other traditional integration topics these also spanned into the new areas of Bots, IoT and PowerApps.

iPhone Import 156Aside from the main event, Saravana and his team also arranged for a few social events as well, including networking drinks after the first day, a dinner at Nando’s for the speakers, and another social evening for the BizTalk360 partners. They also presented each of the BizTalk360 product specialists with a beautiful award – an unexpected treat!

You have to hand it to Saravana and his team – everything went like clockwork, even keeping the speakers on schedule. And I thought it was a really nice touch that each speaker was introduced by a BizTalk360 team member. Not only did it make the speakers feel special, but it provided an opportunity to highlight the people behind the scenes who not only work to make BizTalk360 a great product but also ensure events like these come off. I hope all of them had a good rest this week!

As with all of these events, one of the things I treasure the most is the opportunity to catch up with my friends from around the globe who share my passion for integration, as well as meeting new friends. In my talk, I commented about how strong our community is, and that we not only integrate as professionals but integrate well as people too.

01-SundayNight-Mikael  21-Pizza_TomCanter

Arriving a day and a half before the three day event, I had hoped to conquer most of the jet-lag early on. But alas, the proximity to the solstice in a country so far North meant the sun didn’t set until past 10:30pm while rising just before 4:30am – which is the time I would involuntarily wake up each day no matter how late I stayed up the night before! Still, adrenalin kept me going and the engaging content kept me awake for every session.

And no matter what.., there was always time for a beer or two! Smile

22-PostPizza_TomCanter

I look forward to the next time I get to meet up with my integration friends! If you missed the event in London, you’ll have a second chance at INTEGRATE 2017 USA which will be held in Redmond on October 25-27. And of course, if you keep your eyes on the website, the videos and slides should be published soon.

(Photos by Nick Hauenstein, Dan Toomey, Mikael Sand, and Tom Canter)

Microsoft MVP – It’s All About Community

(This post was originally published on Mexia’s blog on 07 April 2017)

Last weekend I had the great privilege of attending my first Microsoft MVP event – the MVP Community Connection held in Sydney. This was an invitation to all Australian MVPs to come together over two days to network, receive central communication from the program managers, and learn some best practices in how we can better serve the community.

MVP_Logo_Secondary_Blue286_RGB_72ppiFirst I should explain what an MVP is. The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award is presented to recognised experts in the technical community who regularly and voluntarily share their passion and knowledge with others, including Microsoft itself. The award celebrates an individual’s deep commitment to serving the community and promoting awareness of Microsoft’s great products through a variety of channels – be it running user groups, speaking at events, blogging, mentoring, answering questions on forums, creating and sharing free software, etc.  Aside from recognition, the award includes a number of benefits and privileges, including direct access to the Microsoft product teams via email distribution lists and Yammer, invitations to early previews and Product Group Interaction (PGI) meetings, exam vouchers, free software and subscriptions, and more. In return, Microsoft expects us to use these benefits and privileges to facilitate our continued involvement in the community and also to provide valuable feedback to Microsoft to help them design and build better products. The award lasts for one year, after which it may be renewed if the candidate has continued to demonstrate exemplary commitment and service.

Read more of this post

Great Week at Ignite Australia!

TLGsLast week I had the opportunity to attend Microsoft Ignite on the Gold Coast, Australia. Even better – I had a free ticket on account of agreeing to serve as a Technical Learning Guide (TLG) in the hands-on labs. This opportunity is only open to Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) and competition was evidently keen this year – so I am glad to have been chosen. Catching up with fellow MCTs like Mark Daunt and meeting up with new ones such as Michael Schmitz was a real pleasure. Of course the down side was that I missed quite a few breakout sessions during the times I was rostered. Nevertheless, I still got to see some of the most important sessions to me, particularly those that centred around Azure and integration technologies. Please have a read of my summary of these on my employer’s blog.

By and far this was my best Australian Ignite/Tech-Ed event experience for many reasons, including:

  1. The Pro-Integration team from Redmond came all the way out to Australia show everyone what the product group is doing with Logic Apps, Flow, Service Bus, and BizTalk Server
  2. I was chosen to present an Instructor-Led Lab in Service Fabric – my first ever speaking engagement at Ignite
  3. I had the rare opportunity to catch up with some fellow MVPs from Perth and Europe.

It was truly phenomenal to see enterprise integration properly represented at an Australian conference, as it is typically overlooked at these events. In addition to at least four breakout sessions on hybrid integration, Scott Guthrie actually performed a live demo of Logic Apps in his keynote! This was a good shout-out to the product team that has worked so hard to bring this technology up to the usability level it now enjoys. I’m glad that Jim Harrer, Jeff Holland, Jon Fancey and Kevin Lam were there to see it!

iPhone Import 015Teaching the lab in Service Fabric was a thrilling experience, but not without some challenges. The lab itself was broken and required a re-write of the second half, which I had pre-prepared and uploaded to One-Drive here so the students could progress. The main lab content is only available to Ignite attendees, however if you want to have a go at a similar lab you can try these ones available from Microsoft:

Despite the frustration that some attendees expressed about the lab errata and the poor performance of the environment, I was pleased that all the submitted feedback relating to the speaker was very positive! Smile

iPhone Import 050iPhone Import 037 (2)Finally, perhaps the best part of events like these is the ability to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. It was a pleasure to hang out with Azure MVP Martin Abbott from Perth and meet a few of his iPhone Import 047colleagues. It was also great to see Elder Grootenboer and Steef-Jan Wiggers from the Netherlands, who happened to travel to Australia this month on holidays and to speak at some events. Steef-Jan also took time to include me in a V-Log series he’s been working on with various integration MVPs, recording his 3-minute interview with me at the top of Mount Coot-tha on a sunny Brisbane Saturday! And Mexia’s CEO Dean Robertson & myself got to enjoy a nice dinner out with the Microsoft product group and the MVPs.

All good things must come to an end, but it was definitely a memorable week! Now it’s time to start getting ready for the Brisbane edition of the Global Integration Bootcamp on Saturday, 25th March, to be followed not long after by the Global Azure Bootcamp on Saturday 22nd April! I’ve got a few demos and presentations to prepare – but now with plenty of inspiration from Ignite!

Azure Exam Talk at User Group

The other night I had the privilege of presenting to the Brisbane Azure User Group at our last meeting of the year. My topic was about certification exams in Microsoft Azure, and aimed to address two relatively new changes in the certification program:

  • New Certification Path – Microsoft recently announced changes in their certification program designed to streamline the certification path. Although they are retiring the Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD): Azure Solutions Architect as of 31st March 2017, the three exams mentioned below that made up this certification are still relevant and will now earn the title of Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Cloud Platform and Infrastructure.
  • Refreshed Exams – All three exams have been refreshed as of 23 November 2016, now including new content specifically around the PaaS capabilities in Azure (App Service, Logic Apps, Azure Functions, API Management, Service Fabric, etc), Azure Resource Manager (ARM), and extended identity management capabilities (e.g. Azure Active Directory B2B and B2C). They have also removed Cloud Services from the syllabus.

The three exams that all this relates to are:

The recording of this talk (which also discussed preparation tips & techniques) can be found here, whilst the slides are available here.

User Group Presentation on Microsoft Flow

Last week I had the privilege of presenting a short session on Microsoft Flow to the Brisbane Azure User Group. The group meets every month, and at this particular event we decided to have an “Unconvention Night” where instead of one or two main presentations, we had several (four in this case) shorter sessions to introduce various topics. This has been a popular format with the group and one that we will keep repeating from time to time.

Wrapping up the evening was my session, called Easy Desktop Integration with Microsoft Flow.  Flow is a new integration tool built into Office365; it allows business users (yes, I really mean “business users” – no code required) to build automated workflows using 35+ connectors to popular SaaS systems like DropBox, Slack, SharePoint, Twitter, Yammer, MailChimp, etc.  The full list of connectors can be found here.

Even better is that Flow comes with over 100 pre-built templates out of the box, so you don’t even need to construct your own workflows unless you want to do something very customised! All you need to do is select a template, configure the connectors, publish the workflow – and off it goes!  In fact, it is so simple that I built my first Flow during Charles Lamanna’s presentation at the Integrate 2016 conference in London; I decided to capture all tweets with the #Integration2016 hashtag to a CSV file in DropBox.

Flow is built upon Azure Logic Apps, and it uses the same connectors as PowerApps – so you can leverage both of these great utilities to create simple but powerful applications:

image

Because it is built on Logic Apps, this means you can easily migrate a Flow workflow to an Azure Logic App when it becomes mission critical, requires scalability, or begins to use more sensitive data that requires greater security and auditing.

Feel free to view the recording of my session at https://youtu.be/sd1AhZpPsBw:

Microsoft Flow presentation to the Brisbane Azure User Group

 

You can also download the slides (which came mostly from Charles Lamanna’s deck– used with permission of course). But most importantly, get started using Flow! I’m sure you’ll find plenty of uses for it.

John Glisson - Geek of the Cloth

Thoughts on integration, technology and what-not...

prashantbiztalkblogs

My BizTalk Experiences

The CRUCIBLE

THINK: It's not illegal....yet.....

paulbouwer.com

life and technology

Abdul Rafay's BizTalk Blog

My experiences with BizTalk related to architecture, development and performance in my enterprise.

Mike Diiorio

Connected Systems and other thoughts

BizTalk musings

Issues, patterns and useful tips for BizTalk development

EAI Guy.net

Enterprise Applicaiton Integration and SOA 2.0

Connected Pawns

Mainly BizTalk & Little Chess

Man Vs. Machine

Why can't we all just get along?

Adventures inside the Message Box

BizTalk, Azure, and other tools in the Microsoft stack - Johann Cooper

Biz(Talk)2

Talk, talk and more talk about BizTalk

Richard Seroter's Architecture Musings

Blog Featuring Code, Thoughts, and Experiences with Software and Services

Sandro Pereira BizTalk Blog

My notes about BizTalk Server 2004, 2006, 2006 R2, 2009, 2010, 2013 and now also Windows Azure BizTalk Services.

BizTalk Events

Calendar of BizTalk events all over the world!

Mind Over Messaging

Musings on BizTalk, Azure, and Enterprise Integration

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.