Final Day at TechEd Australia 2013

Today was the final day of TechEd Australia, and I was privileged to attend probably the most relevant session to my chosen specialty area, apart from BizTalk Bill‘s WABS presentation yesterday. Brady Gaster from the Windows Azure SDK team gave a terrific presentation on integrating Windows Azure Websites with On-Premises Systems. billed as a discussion on “various techniques of connecting a Windows Azure Web Site to an on-premises enterprise architecture”. It certainly did not disappoint!

Brady demonstrated the use of Windows Azure Service Bus topics and relays in order to connect a website hosted  application to on-premises systems and databases by running iterative solutions based on an “Enterprise Pizza Store” concept. He used a Service Bus topic to accept orders from photo 2the website and process them, with multiple subscriptions based on the processing status. He then progressed to using Service Bus relays to expose services that perform the database operations rather than having external sources update the data directly. Finally, he included a “surprise demo” that exhibited the use of the Windows Azure SDK for Java, using a Java client to log messages.

All the demos were very smooth and impressive, and effectively demonstrated how easy it is to leverage cloud resources to implement hybrid solutions that cross organisational boundaries. All the code (excluding the “surprise”  Java demo) can be found here on GitHub, while the slides from his USA version of this presentation can be found on Channel9. He also has an extensive blog post on this. I highly recommend checking it out!

Read more of this post

Microsoft TechEd Australia 2013

ScottGuHaving a great time at Microsoft TechEd Australia this year! Today there were some inspiring presentations, including two awesome back-to-back sessions on Building Real World Cloud Apps with Windows Azure with Scott Guthrie (yeah, he might know a thing or two about Azure! Winking smile ). The Gu talked about patterns and best practices across a variety of areas including automation, source control, fault handling, storage, logging, scalability, SLAs,  and more. As expected, his presentation and demos were highly polished and indicative of his vast experience and knowledge.BillChesnut

I followed this by attending an equally polished and highly informative deep-dive session into Windows Azure BizTalk Services by "BizTalk Bill" Chesnut. Bill took us through the extensibility options offered through custom code opportunities via inspectors (in between each stage of the pipeline), custom script and/or XSLT in the maps, and WCF custom behaviours in target web services. He also showed us how to scale out BizTalk Services and gave us a peek at the somewhat daunting pricing schedule.


Finally, we wrapped up the evening with the "Celebrat8" party at Movie World. There was tons of food, thrilling rides, and an impressive stunt show… but there were definitely some shady characters hanging out in the neighbourbood!

Looking forward to the lock-note tomorrow where we get to hear Scott Gu speak again, this time on the future of Azure and about "owning tomorrow".


Many thanks to Mexia Consulting for sponsoring the whole team’s attendance again this year!

Message Tracking in Windows Azure BizTalk Services

Tonight I was presenting on Windows  Azure BizTalk Services (WABS) to the Brisbane Azure User Group, and someone asked me where you configure message tracking. It was one of those embarrassing moments where you know you saw the feature somewhere, but can’t remember exactly where… hence this blog post.

All messages go through a bridge in WABS, which is created on a design surface in Visual Studio (assuming you have installed the Windows Azure BizTalk Services SDK, that is). It is a property on this bridge element which eluded me tonight, although I don’t know how since it is pretty clearly marked:


Simply select the bridge element, then click the ellipses (…) button next to the Track Properties property to open the (…. you guessed it!….) Track Properties dialog box. There you can select any properties that you have promoted in an Enrich stage of the pipeline, as well as the default XPIPELINE_MESSAGETYPE and XPIPELINE_REQUESTMESSAGETYPE properties.

It should be noted that certain properties are tracked by default, regardless of whether you select anything here at all:

  • pipeline state
  • stage state
  • whether the route destinations are successfully ascertained
  • the activity state for any message processing faults

You then have the ability to view & search on tracked message data in the BizTalk Services Portal:


Note that to get to this portal, you need to:

  1. Log into the Azure Management Portal
  2. Click on BizTalk Services on the left (just below Service Bus)
  3. Click on the Manage button at the bottom of the screen

(The first time you access this portal, you may need to enter the Issuer Name & Issuer Key with which you deployed your application, from the ACS namespace you created to associate with the BizTalk Service.)

More information about tracking can be found here on MSDN.

A Cloudy Day for BizTalk (…but what a sunny forecast!)

Recently, Microsoft announced the release of a plethora of new features in Windows Azure, not the least of which was the preview version of BizTalk Services. A re-vamped version of the former Azure Service Bus EAI/EDI Labs which was released last year and taken down earlier this year, Windows Azure BizTalk Services boasts Business-to-Business (B2B) and Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) capabilities for cloud and hybrid integration solutions, including:

  • Built-in support for managing EDI relationships between partners
  • EAI bridges with on-premises assets (including built-in support for integration with SAP, SQL Server, Oracle and Siebel)
  • Optional integration between Windows Azure BizTalk Services and on-premises BizTalk Server deployments
    Like most Azure offerings, BizTalk Services runs on a secure, dedicated per tenant environment that can be provisioned on demand within minutes.  It does not require any upfront license, and supports a pay only for what you use billing model.

Learn more about how to setup and start using the Windows Azure BizTalk Services preview.

Coming Soon to a Region Near You – Windows Azure (Australia)!

Microsoft announced today that they will create a new Windows Azure major deployment region in Australia, consisting of two sub-regions in Sydney & Melbourne! This is outstanding news and a welcome development for numerous organisations that would otherwise embrace the scalability, flexibility, affordability and rapid implementation capabilities afforded by cloud-based and hybrid solutions, were it not for concerns regarding data sovereignty and latency.

Moreover, the geo-redundancy offered by two distinct locations separated by over 700 kilometres (440 miles) means that clients can be assured of business continuity even if one major city was taken out by a catastrophic disaster – all while still maintaining their data within national borders.

Here are two excellent blog posts by my colleagues Dean Robertson and Paul Bouwer explaining these principles in much greater detail:

This means that at least one of my current clients in the financial industry can reconsider using Azure Service Bus to enable a scalable & robust asynchronous integration scenario between on-premise systems and external customers. Looking forward to seeing more of our Australian clients willing to embrace the cloud now! Smile

Richard Seroter in Australia!!

Richard SeroterMexia Consulting is hosting workshops in Brisbane and Melbourne led by world-renowned cloud architect and blogger Richard Seroter!

Entitled, “Designing Hybrid & Cloud Integration Solutions with Windows Azure”, this two-day event will focus on designing hybrid & cloud solution architectures with Microsoft technologies such as Windows Azure.

Specifically targeted for Solution Architects, Integration Architects and experienced Microsoft development teams, Richard (assisted by Mexia’s expert integration consultants) will cover much of the knowledge you need when designing complex integration platforms for the modern enterprise.

Particularly, this event will focus on the full range of Microsoft technologies such as Windows Azure and BizTalk Server that can be deployed as part of modern on-premises, hybrid cloud and pure cloud integration solutions. By attending this event, you will understand the capabilities and benefits of each Microsoft technology, and which technologies are most appropriate for particular purposes and design goals.

To register:

If you’re a Solution Architect, Integration Architect or senior developer with a passion for integration, this event is not to be missed!

BizTalk 2013 RTM VM Now Available in Window Azure Gallery

With Scott Guthrie’s announcement the other day concerning General Availability (GA) of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, we now have available a selection of new BizTalk Server 2013 RTM virtual machine images in the Windows Azure Gallery:

  • BizTalk Server 2013 Enterprise
  • BizTalk Server 2013 Standard
  • BizTalk Server 2013 Evaluation

The Evaluation image will help you get started with the evaluation bits of BizTalk Server 2013 and SQL Server 2012.

This IaaS availability is a key aspect of the BizTalk Server 2013 release. Now you can quickly and easily spin up pre-configured BizTalk servers in the cloud without relying on the time, expense and other overheads of on-premises acquisitions. Imagine being able to provision an entire testing environment in minutes/hours instead of days/weeks/months!  And the best part is that, like all Azure services, you only pay for what you use. 🙂

The pricing details for these VMs can be found here.  Remember that there is also a (very small) storage cost for the disk images as well.

More information can be found on the BizTalk Server Team Blog.

BizTalk Saturday Event Completed

Just finished our BizTalk 2013 Hands On Day event in Brisbane, presenting with Bill Chesnut to a captivated audience about the new features and abilities to integrate with Azure. This is the last event for this round… but stay tuned for future events.

Presenting at BizTalk Saturday

Many thanks to Bill for his tireless effort at organising this and giving up most weekends, traveling all over Australia & New Zealand! Also thanks to Dean Robertson for the pic.

Service Bus Messaging Deep-Dive on Channel 9

152 minutes of comprehensive Windows Azure Service Bus Messaging deep-dive by the master himself, Clemens Vasters! Even comes with topic time markers so you can jump to the bits you’re interested in:


You can also download his freely-usable slide deck from here.

Don’t Miss the Bus: New Push Notifications feature in Windows Azure

Here’ s re-blog of a post I just did for my employer’s blog. It discusses a brand new Push Notifications feature in Windows Azure Service Bus preview:

MSDN graphic

Notification Hub in Windows Azure Service Bus

(Image courtesy of MSDN)


John Glisson - Geek of the Cloth

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

Prashant BizTalk And Azure Integration Blogs

My Integration Experiences - BizTalk And Azure Integration


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

Abdul Rafay's BizTalk Blog

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

BizTalk musings

Issues, patterns and useful tips for BizTalk development


Enterprise Applicaiton Integration and SOA 2.0

Connected Pawns

Mainly BizTalk & Little Chess

Adventures inside the Message Box

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


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 News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.