BizTalk Services provides us with a number of additional patterns that previously were not available with BizTalk on-premises.
The presentation by MVP Kent Weare at the recent BizTalk Summit 2014 in London substantiates this. Entitled ‘Exposing Operational data to Mobile devices using Windows Azure’, it was based on a real-world business scenario from the Power Generation industry.
The scenario Kent presented involved real-time data collection, power generation commitments made to market stakeholders and current energy prices. A Power Generation company needs to monitor all of these data points to ensure it is maintaining its commitments to the marketplace. When things do not go as planned, there are often significant penalties at stake. Having real-time visibility into these business measures and being notified when the business becomes non-compliant becomes extremely important.
Some core design principles are included in this BizTalk Services solution:
- Active Directory Federation: When a person leaves the company and their AD account has been disabled, this “tap” should be turned off for other mobile/cloud-based services.
- Leverage a Mobility platform to reduce the diversity required in supporting multiple platforms. Windows Azure Mobile Services helps us address this by providing APIs for the popular platforms that allow us to centralize activities like Data access, Authentication, Identity Providers, Custom APIs and Scheduled tasks.
- Most, if not all, Enterprise Mobile apps need to consume Line of Business (LOB) System data. Windows Azure BizTalk Services (and the BizTalk Adapter Service) allow us a secure way in and out of our enterprise without poking holes in firewalls. I should note that these capabilities are also available with BizTalk Server 2013.
- Accessing On-Premise LOB systems isn’t possible (in my scenarios) without the underpinnings of the Windows Azure Service Bus. Using this technology to span network layers never gets old. The BizTalk Adapter Service has a strong dependency on these services.
- Data Storage: Even though I am leveraging SAP master data in this scenario, I do need to maintain the state of the business process. In this case, I am using SQL Azure to host our data. We can leverage Windows Azure Mobile Services’ APIs that make getting data in and out of the database a breeze.
- Finally, we can’t forget about Toast Notifications. We want the ability to send notifications out to users (in this case, approvers) and Windows Azure Mobile Services helps us deal with sending Toast Notifications to a variety of platforms.