Azure DevOps and a BizTalk upgrade optimize operations across a global landscape
Interpublic Group contacted TwoConnect to determine the approach best suited for upgrading BizTalk Server and ensuring improved collaboration and productivity to achieve business goals.
IPG strongly supports and invests in their brands. The excellence of their people drives their success amid the significant changes taking place in the industry. Recognizing that every consumer is unique, with a finely tuned set of passions, behaviors, and motivations, IPG strives to turn these disparate data points into human understanding, resulting in more relevant and effective marketing solutions.
IPG contacted TwoConnect to determine the approach best suited for upgrading BizTalk Server and ensuring improved collaboration and productivity to achieve business goals.
Given the global reach of the company and the ongoing need to continually connect people, process, and clients, TwoConnect presented an Azure DevOps and BizTalk upgrade solution that ensured the IPG culture, practices, and tools maintain their high-performance capabilities and continue to achieve business goals with the agility and speed required for success.
TwoConnect consulted with IPG to determine the needs for upgrading their system and ensuring its effectiveness for current and extended future growth. It was critical to IPG that their system be able to support ongoing growth opportunities and an expanded world-wide presence in the market.
TwoConnect provided guidance that resulted in a BizTalk Upgrade with fully automated Build, Deployment, and Test Automation. A core part of this solution architecture was achieved through Azure DevOps, which accomplishes more efficient continuity across people, processes, and technology, and a faster means for bringing products to their customers using continuous delivery and continuous integration (CI/CD) patterns and practices.
Defining the scope
TwoConnect proposed upgrading from BizTalk 2013 to BizTalk Server 2020 and employ DevOps in the following environments:
- Disaster Recovery
- Automation, deployment, and configuration of BizTalk Server assets
- Test Automation
Each IPG environment, from Development through Test, was upgraded to contain independent BizTalk Groups with 2020 servers equivalent to the existing BizTalk Server 2013 R2, allowing IPG to maintain high availability and achieve business goals without interruption. Staging and Production environments also include one BizTalk 360 server each. Multi-server BizTalk environments were also architected using Windows Failover Clustering and Microsoft SQL Server High Availability Group technologies.
Versions of Visual Studio and BizTalk development tools were installed on six development virtual machines. Azure DevOps Services was configured for Build and Deployment automation. Deployment and configuration of BizTalk Server assets were automated as part of a TwoConnect DevOps Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) solution. With this option, TwoConnect developed CI/CD configurations and promoted configuration through to a Staging (IPG “QA”) environment, which then passed on to Production and Disaster Recovery.
Because the goal of automated testing is to ensure accurate and stable unchanging outcomes, most tests focus only on validating an input message and a final output message. This was accomplished using the standard TwoConnect automated testing database to store test parameters and files along with a custom test helper that leveraged the Biztalk REST API, Microsoft Excel, and the BizTalk Tracking database to fully automate tests in non-production environments.
The upgrade to automated testing for IPG’s many custom BizTalk assets included:
- 119 BizTalk applications that process messages through Receive and Send Ports
- 68 applications that contain custom assemblies implementing BizTalk Orchestrations, Schemas, Pipelines, and Maps and process messages through the ports
- 51 “Routing” applications that contain no assemblies and only implement message routing among the ports
TwoConnect also implemented a total of 500 automated tests for numerous BizTalk assets including:
- 194 Integration Tests for the 68 “regular” BizTalk Applications
- 102 Integration Tests for the 51 “Routing” BizTalk Applications
- 136 Unit Tests of Maps and/or Pipelines from the 68 “regular” BizTalk Applications and the 5 Share BizTalk Applications
- 68 Unit Tests of Schemas from the 68 “regular” BizTalk Applications and the 5 Share BizTalk Applications
Five additional applications contain custom assemblies implementing BizTalk Orchestrations, Schemas, Pipelines, and Maps as shared assets and included:
- 500 BizTalk Orchestrations - Implemented in 82 BizTalk Assemblies
- 650 BizTalk Maps - Implemented in 18 BizTalk Assemblies
- 450 BizTalk Pipelines - Implemented in 22 BizTalk Assemblies
- 2200 BizTalk Schemas - Implemented in 48 BizTalk Assemblies
- 25 BizTalk Business Rules Engine Policies
The TwoConnect Support Package
TwoConnect continues to provide guidance to IPG on the configuration of dependent software including the Operating System, SQL Server, and Azure Environment segmentation, if applicable. They also provide guidance on instances of external applications and systems alongside the BizTalk Group such as SAP, SharePoint, File Share, and email mailboxes.
How success is measured
Success of this effort is measured by the acceptable level and execution of all source codes.
TwoConnect maintains responsibility for the successful execution of continuous development (CD), ensuring that all assets are deployed and configured in each environment with acceptable levels of quality.
In this scenario, TwoConnect was responsible for:
- Development of required new test assets
- Deployment of automated tests to execute in Test (IPG “pre-QA”) and Staging (IPG “QA”) Environments
- Successful execution of automated tests including collection of test results
TwoConnect’s BizTalk Server Application Management solution and its award-winning BizTalk Managed Services team focused exclusively on building solutions to complete IPG’s migration to BizTalk Server 2020 and unify communications, collaboration, and integration among developers and IT professionals at IPG with Azure DevOps. TwoConnect implemented guidelines for supporting, maintaining, and adapting all their integration solutions to ensure the seamless continuity of business operations going forward.
Our team of amazing Microsoft MVP’s, Azure Developers (all certified in latest exam AZ-203), development managers, trainers, and our extended worldwide community of integration experts with whom we’ve partnered for over two decades are here to help you build world-class solutions.
At TwoConnect, we come to work every day because we want to write code that solves business challenges, work transparently with our customers, and present solutions that both inform and educate.
Javier Mariscal, President, TwoConnect Inc
Services & Technologies
“TwoConnect helped us to upgrade our BizTalk platform to the latest version. This was a critical project for our company. As part of this project, we also implemented Microsoft Azure DevOps CI/CD. It wasn’t easy to setup automated integration tests and automated deployments for BizTalk, but TwoConnect resources were knowledgeable and came up with creative solutions to solve the issues. We are extremely satisfied with the deliverables from TwoConnect. They were flexible and a great partner to work with!”
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