I read this book with anticipation because for many years I was migrating two to three BizTalk Server implementations to new versions every year. Each migration as it own unique challenges and I wanted to see what these three very experienced BizTalk experts had to say about it. This book is not disappointing because it is the most comprehensive treatise I have read on this topic. I would have given my “eye teeth” for a guide like this when I was doing my migrations. Migrating to BizTalk 2020 is something I have not done yet but this book would make the task very easy.
The book begins with a brief description about what BizTalk Server is and then lists the features of BizTalk Server. I think Chapter 1 is at a level that non-BizTalk expert manager could understand. This is a good way to interest your manager in an upgrade!
The second chapter is all about how you could frame your business case to do an upgrade. The comprehensive well laid out tables of product life cycles is impressive. This is rounds off with a detailed list and brief description of all the new features in Microsoft BizTalk Server 2020. Personally, the one new feature that would make me upgrade is the Blob Adapter. Finally, the authors make the point that this release builds on other BizTalk releases that have made it easier to utilize cloud platforms or move to cloud based integration in the future.
The third chapter teaches you how to plan your upgrade. It weighs up the pros and cons of three upgrade options; in-place, side by side and cloud lift.
The fourth chapter is all about an in-place upgrade. The authors comprehensive detail a step by step guide to upgrading using this option. One could follow these steps without having to think because they have done all the work for you.
At this point I will add my only criticism of the book. For the second time the authors state their bias against the in-place upgrade option. As you read further chapters in the book they repeat this many times and that becomes a bit tiresome. I think this opinion only needs to be stated once because the reader is intelligent.
Personally I have successfully carried out at least two in-place upgrades. They both had very good business cases for doing it this way instead of the favored side by side upgrade. My last in-place upgrade to BizTalk 2016 was because BizTalk 2013R2 only supported SHA1 MIC’s. Our timeline did not give us sufficient time to do a side by side upgrade and further we were not sure how long we would continue to use BizTalk server. I think both were very good reasons to chose an in-place upgrade. An in-place upgrade is not scary if there are good business reasons for it.
The fifth chapter describes how to do an side by side upgrade. Once again the detail is unbelievable, I think you could just open this book to the right page and do the upgrade on auto-pilot. I even learnt about BizTalk Migration tool which I did not know about until now.
The final chapter six was the most interesting of all and explores migrating your BizTalk solution to Azure components instead of another BizTalk Server. Notwithstanding, I have been migrating BizTalk server solutions to Azure for the last two years of my live and understood how difficult it is to write a chapter like this. At the end of the day the authors made a good fist of explaining the Azure landscape, pros and cons and how to do it, in one chapter. I think this could be the subject of another book.
I can imagine the authors with a good beer or wine in their hands while they wrote the final conclusions! Any bunch of integrators would talk about this until the early hours of the morning. Personally, I think BizTalk Server has had its day in the sun and it is time to move over for the new kid on the block, Microsoft Azure.
I congratulate the authors of this book on writing the definitive book on migrating BizTalk Server. The book has no errors in it that I could find. Well done Sandro, Tom and Lex! I am sure the Integration community owe you a lot for putting all of this knowledge on paper. Cheers Mark