Customizable microservices streamlines workflows and transforms BizTalk capabilities
Integration is all about connecting Azure Microservices together in a workflow at a cloud scale. Azure Microservice applications are composed of small, independent, and scalable customer-focused services that communicate with each other using standard protocols with well-defined interfaces. They are, in essence, an independently deployable unit of code that are the opposite of the traditional massive and complex approach to integration.
Azure Microservices uses Azure Service Fabric as its platform to utilize infrastructure resources efficiently and solve business problems using a team microservices approach.
A supply change company’s challenge
A supply chain company offers customized intermodal door-to-door shipping services through contracts with all major rail carriers and preferred drayage carriers in North America. The company faced many logistics challenges due to a slow and dated order processing system. They currently employ Microsoft BizTalk Server plus an app platform on premises and knew they needed cloud integration and greater flexibility to move forward. To increase efficiencies and improve productivity, cost, and delivery time to customers, they realized they needed a system that offered, at a minimum, the following:
- Customizable order processing
- Quicker more accurate order processing
- Reduced costs and faster turn-around
BizTalk Server as IaaS plus Azure Microservices was utilized to design and implement an order processing system that:
- Automated order processing tasks and workflow.
- Enabled access to leading-edge scalable technologies to improve processes and time to market.
- Documented business requirements analysis to assess impact and apply continuous improvement.
Implementing Service Fabric to improve app scalability
As part of the overall solution, Azure microservices addressed the distributed systems problems such as reliability, scalability, management, and latency so that the company could focus on building applications and business logic. Service Fabric powers the core Azure infrastructure as well as other Microsoft services such as Skype for Business, Intune, and Azure SQL Database. It can also power Azure Event Hubs, Azure Data Factory, Azure Cosmos DB, Dynamics 365, and Cortana.
Azure Service Fabric recognized the available infrastructure and resource needs of applications, enabling automatic scale, rolling upgrades, and self-healing from faults when they occur. It delivered highly available and durable services at cloud-scale.
The final BizTalk Azure Microservices solution resulted in independently deployable applications used to complete business processes, including everything from order management to customer intelligence, and significantly improved warehouse workflow processes. In the end, the company achieved the following business improvements and advantages:
- A streamlined order processing system
- An overall decrease in costs
- New business rules and workflows that are easily customizable as needed
- Increased efficiencies and productivity as well as improved employee moral
- Accessible extensibility for future growth
Summary – Azure Microservices Benefits
With Azure Microservices, the company was able to achieve:
Agile service deployment
The ability to easily manage new feature releases, updates, and bug fixes in individual components without redeploying the entire application, and the ability to automate software delivery workflow with a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline like GitHub Actions.
Scale with demand
The ability to scale individual services and subsystems based on resource needs without scaling out the entire application. The ability to include a higher density of services within a single host using a container orchestrator like Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) or Azure Red Hat OpenShift.
The ability to replace or retire individual services without affecting the entire application. Unlike the traditional monolithic application models, microservices platforms use patterns such as circuit breaking to tolerate individual service failure, improving security and reliability. To make this easier, a service mesh may be installed using the Service Mesh Interface (SMI) for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) or Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh for Azure Red Hat OpenShift.
Increased team agility
The ability to choose a team’s preferred deployment approach, language, microservices platform, and programming model for each service. In addition, they gained the ability to publish microservice APIs for internal and external consumption while managing crosscutting concerns such as authentication, authorization, throttling, caching, transformation, and monitoring with Azure API Management.
BizTalk features as microservices
Existing BizTalk service and server features were also hosted as microservices. Any of the SaaS connectors may be used to leverage BizTalk Microservices with their existing protocols to build an application integration and workflow engine to microservices.
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