A Beginners Guide To Microsoft BizTalk Server - Part Two

Introduction

This is the next part of the BizTalk Server article series. Here, we are going to explain why BizTalk is still the number one choice for ian ntegration tool. BizTalk is considered the best tool for integration. We will be seeing the list of some companies which are using BizTalk as an integration tool and the future of BizTalk developers.

Why do people still use BizTalk?

In the Microsoft stack, when it comes to integration, BizTalk Server is a key product. These days, the existence of isolated applications is diminished; every single application needs to talk to other applications.

If you don't have something like BizTalk Server, soon these application integrations are going to create a lot of point-to-point connections creating a spaghetti mess in your organization.

BizTalk Server is not the only player in the market. There are various other competitors like Tibco, Oracle ESB, IBM WebSphere Message Broker, IBM ESB etc. If you are primarily Microsoft focused company, then BizTalk Server will be your key integration solution.

Microsoft is continuing its investment in BizTalk Server. Since 2000, it has released one major version every 2 years (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2006 R2, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2013R2 and 2016). In the last few years, the Cloud has become one of the key topics for discussion. It's natural for integration products to talk to the cloud in the future. BizTalk Server 2016 rightly positions itself to make it seamless to talk to the cloud. For example, out of the box, it comes with a set of Cloud-related adapters to talk to Windows Azure Service Bus and Logic Apps.

Why BizTalk is considered the best

Below are a few points that can be considered for determining BizTalk is one of the best Integration tools.

  • Declarative Programming Model - i.e., in contrast to Imperative Programming which implements algorithms.
  • Adapter Based Communications - BizTalk provides multiple adapters to connect to almost all the applications/systems (like SQL, SAP, SharePoint, FTP etc.)
  • Strong support for transformation - Maps in BizTalk are used for message transformation where it provides functions zipped into a method box called functoids.
  • Flexible and easy deployment of BizTalk applications - We can also achieve silent deployment using PowerShell script. BizTalk applications can be deployed with use of BTDF, .bat files/command prompts, MSI packages.
  • BizTalk gives the developer flexibility to create custom components which can be pipeline components, functoids, adapters, bindings etc.
  • BizTalk provides Business Rule Engine for automation of Business process and Business logic.
  • BAM, helps in real-time monitoring can be used with BizTalk for tracking data following through multiple applications.
  • BizTalk transfers the data in XML format and it is user-friendly.

 

Companies using BizTalk

These are the figures:

  • 10,000+ BizTalk customers worldwide
  • 23 of 27 EU member governments use Microsoft BizTalk to provide more efficient government services
  • 81% of the Fortune Global 100 use BizTalk
  • 6 of the 8 largest U.S. pharmaceutical companies
  • 4 of the 5 largest electronics parts manufacturers
  • 9 of the10 largest U.S. telecommunications companies
  • 9 of the 10 largest U.S. Aerospace and Defense Companies
  • 5 of the 8 largest U.S. chemical companies
  • 4 of the 5 largest railroads in the U.S.
  • 9 of the 10 largest insurance companies in the world
  • 12 of the 15 largest Retailers in the World run Microsoft BizTalk
  • 5 of 10 largest Hotel Chains in the World with over 2 Million rooms use Microsoft BizTalk

The future of BizTalk developers

Any technology is an evolving one, you need to be prepared to adapt to the changes.

As someone who is working on BizTalk, your primary skill set is solving "integration problems". BizTalk is just a tool to achieve it. Yes, you’ll know in-depth about how BizTalk is working. You’ll be able to build solutions faster using BizTalk, however, the core competency you’ll be gaining is how to solve integration problems. That’s something no one can replace.

As a next step you need to keep your eyes open on how Integration technology is evolving in the Microsoft stack, you need to expand your horizons with evolving technologies like Azure LogicApps, API apps, Service Bus, Event Hubs, IOT suite etc. which are all related.

Slowly, the world of integration is moving from connecting just a bunch of on-premise legacy systems to the much wider scope of SaaS/PaaS connectivity, connecting Salesforce cloud to Office365.

Summary

In this article, we learned more about BizTalk Server and the future of BizTalk. Also, we understood why major companies are using the BizTalk tool as a major integration product. If there's anything specific that you want me to cover with respect to BizTalk Server, please let me know.