My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” (Forrest Gump).
I am sitting here reviewing what i have done during 2012 and trying to envisage what the 2013 will bring and I started to dream about Azure Service Bus (ASB). I had been reading the “Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects” Gartner report June 2012 and sat bolt upright when I read the following sentence “Microsoft is making significant investments in the Windows ASB with the goal of it becoming its mediation technology going forward. Gartner projects that it will be available as an on-premises offering during 2014; at that point, users will have a choice between ASB and BizTalk Server. However, in conversations with BizTalk users, Microsoft has committed to a maximum of two additional versions of that product.” .
Ok, this is probably not news to any BizTalk professional but it did start to make me think about what i am doing to get ready for the “great change” that the ASB promises to bring. I guess that the two additional versions of BizTalk that Gartner talks about are BizTalk 2013 and BizTalk Final(2015?). The Microsoft BizTalk product team is conducting some road shows in the Northern Hemisphere to help customers understand the product strategy and roadmap and to prepare for the upcoming releases of BizTalk Server 2013 and related Windows Azure integration services ( http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/12/21/biztalk-summit-2012-europe-tour.aspx ).
Here in NZ, we already have one new BizTalk 2013 installation and two migrations to BizTalk 2013 scheduled in 2013. Yeah , 2013 look as if it is going to be even busier than 2012 for our team. The main drivers seem to be that everyone wants to get to SQL Server 2012. The new BizTalk 2013 adapters that can connect to the Azure cloud are a welcome bonus that are being explored by at least one of these implementations . I am quite comfortable about recommending BizTalk Server 2013 at the moment because there is no on premises alternative. May be the on premises ASB version will become a real alternative in 2014.
I wonder whether the BizTalk summits will shed more light on whether we can expect an ASB on premise offering in 2014 or not? I wonder what the migration options from BizTalk to the ASB will be? To be honest it is still probably a bit too early to know the flavour of these chocolates yet. Nonetheless if there is going to be an ASB on premise option in 2014 then we would expect to get some more information in the second half of 2013.
How am I going prepare for all these changes in 2013? Firstly I am going to look at the technical preview entitled “Azure Service Bus EIA and EDI Lab Release.” and try to recreate one of our existing applications with it. Secondly I am going to set myself a goal of having enough knowledge by the end of 2013 about ASB on premise to decide how to use it when it is released.
In summary I think 2013 is going to be an exciting year for integrators who use the Microsoft stack because I predict that BizTalk 2013 will prepare the way for the future and we can look forward to the ASB on premise. May all your chocolates be sweet and have a Happy New Year.