Is it worth learning BizTalk

Introduction to BizTalk Server

  • 3 minutes to read

Binding systems is expected and is becoming the norm. Business processes are becoming more and more service-oriented, and creating effective business processes that unite separate systems into a larger whole is also becoming more of a reality.

Microsoft BizTalk Server enables different software to be connected and the subsequent graphic creation and modification of process logic that uses this software. BizTalk Server also enables information workers to monitor ongoing processes, interact with trading partners, and perform other business-related tasks.

Important new features in BizTalk Server are:

  • Better support for application deployment, monitoring, and management

  • Much simplified installation

  • Better business activity monitoring (BAM) options

BizTalk Server also uses the latest releases of other Microsoft technologies. It is based on the .NET Framework and the developer tools are hosted in Microsoft Visual Studio. BizTalk Server uses SQL Server for storage. BizTalk Servers can run on 64-bit Windows servers, taking advantage of the greater memory and other advantages that the hardware offers.

What is BizTalk Server?

Combining different systems to achieve effective business processes is a major challenge. Accordingly, BizTalk Server includes a number of technologies. The figure below illustrates the main components of the product.

As the illustration shows, the heart of the product is the BizTalk Server Engine. The engine consists of two main parts:

  • A messaging component that enables communication with various other software programs. By using adapters for different types of communication, the engine can handle a variety of protocols and data formats, e.g. B. Web Services, and many others.

  • Support for creating and running graphically defined processes called orchestrations. Orchestrations build on the engine's message components and implement the logic that controls all or part of the business process.

    Several other BizTalk components can be used in conjunction with the engine, such as: B .:

  • A business rule engine that evaluates complex rule sets.

  • A group hub that developers and administrators can use to manage and monitor the engine and the orchestrations that are running.

  • An enterprise single sign-on (SSO) feature that provides the ability to map authentication information between Windows and non-Windows systems.

    In addition to this foundation, BizTalk Server includes business activity monitoring, which information workers use to monitor an ongoing business process. The information is presented in a business rather than technical sense, and business-minded users can determine what information to display.

Connect different systems

The vast majority of modern business processes depend, at least in part, on software. While some of these processes are supported by a single application, many others depend on various types of software systems. In many cases, this software was developed at different times, on different platforms, and using different technologies. In order to automate these business processes, different types of systems have to be interconnected.

Overcoming this challenge has many names, including Business process automation, business process management. Regardless of the name, two scenarios are most important for application integration. One is the interconnection of applications within a single organization, commonly referred to as enterprise application integration (EAI). The other scenario, known as business-to-business (B2B) integration, is used to connect applications in different organizations.

The figure below shows a simple example of how the BizTalk Server engine can be used to address an EAI problem. In this scenario, an inventory management application, possibly running on an IBM mainframe, detects that an item is in low inventory and therefore triggers a request to reorder that item. This request is sent to a BizTalk Server orchestration (step 1), which then triggers a request to that organization's ERP application requesting an order (step 2). The ERP application, which may be running on a UNIX system, sends back the requested order (step 3), and the BizTalk Server orchestration then informs an execution application, which may have been developed with the .NET Framework for Windows, that the article is to be ordered (step 4).

In this example, each application communicates using a different protocol. As a result, the messaging component of the BizTalk Server engine must be able to communicate with each application in its native communication style. Also note that no single application is aware of the full business process. The logic required to coordinate all of the software involved is implemented in the BizTalk Server orchestration.

Connecting applications within an organization is important, but connecting applications across organizations can be just as useful. The following figure shows a simple example of this type of intercompany integration (B2B). In this case, the purchasing organization in the figure above is running a BizTalk Server orchestration that interacts with two suppliers. Supplier A also uses BizTalk Server and thereby provides indirect access to its delivery application. Supplier B uses an integration platform from another provider and establishes a connection to the BizTalk Server orchestration of the purchasing organization via web services, for example.

additional Information

Understanding BizTalk Server