Microsoft offers BizTalk on cloud known as Windows Azure BizTalk Services (WABS) enabling seamlessly integrate the enterprise and the cloud.

Background

Windows Azure BizTalk Services use the integration capabilities of BizTalk Services for the Windows Azure platform to extend on-premises applications to the cloud. Process and transform messages with rich messaging endpoints, use business-to-business messaging, and integrate with disparate applications, both on cloud and on-premises.

Use Windows Azure BizTalk Services (WABS) for:

Cloud-based EDI Processing

WABS provides a robust and extensible solution for trading partner management and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) processing, which can lower the cost of business partner collaboration for enterprise and EDI service providers.

Enterprise Application Integration

WABS provides a flexible integration platform for enterprises and systems integrators to build EAI solutions for integrating on-premises, SaaS, and cloud services with easy to use configuration driven interfaces.

Building Hybrid Applications

WABS provides out-of-the box, cloud to on-premises, line-of-business applications integration for SAP, Oracle EBS, SQL Server, and PeopleSoft. It allows you to connect with any HTTP, FTP, SFTP, or REST data sources. You can route messages by using various Windows Azure artifacts such as Service Bus Queues, Topics, SQL Database, and Blob store.

Using the different offerings from Windows Azure users can create applications that run on the cloud. However, given the fact that these applications operate in their own ‘space’ on the cloud but at the same time need to interact with other on-premise or cloud applications, there is a need to bridge the message and transport protocol mismatch between these disparate applications. Bridging these mismatches is the realm of integration. There can be different forms of integration:

 

Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)

 

Enterprise Application Integration can be further divided into two broad components:

1.    Bridging message-related mismatch in different sources and formats

2.    Integrating different Line-of-Business (LOB) applications

 

To talk more about it Further

1. Bridging message-related mismatch in different sources and formats.This kind of integration bridges mismatches between message transport protocols, message structures, and message formats between two disparate systems. This may also include message validation, message transformation, and subsequent routing to other systems. WABS enables you to configure rich messaging endpoints on Windows Azure to validate and transform messages in the cloud. Rich messaging endpoints enable message exchange between these disparate applications (which are either extensions of on-premises applications or representing an application running on the cloud). However, given that the two systems are disparate and probably follow different messaging format and protocols, it becomes imperative that Windows Azure provides rich processing capabilities between the two endpoints. The processing capabilities could include the following:

    • The ability to connect systems following different transport protocol.
    • The ability to validate the message originating from the source endpoint against a standard schema
    • The ability to transform the message as required by destination endpoints
    • The ability to enrich the message by adding properties to the message context. The properties can then be used to route the message to a destination or an intermediary endpoint.

All these capabilities are made available through rich messaging endpoints available as part of BizTalk Services. offers four major components (connectivity, validation, enrichment, transformation) that can be stitched together to provide rich messaging endpoints.

  • Connectors: These bridge the gap between different transport protocols as well as different LOB applications that exist on the premise behind a firewall but expose their operational endpoints on the cloud. Bridges accept incoming messages from different protocols such as HTTP, FTP, and SFTP. Bridges can send outgoing messages to different protocols such as HTTP, FTP, SFTP as well as other endpoints such as Azure Blobs, Service Bus Queues, Topics, and Relays. In addition, BizTalk Services also provides connectivity to on-premise LOB applications such as SQL Server, SAP, Siebel, and Oracle databases/E-Business Suite. For more information, see BizTalk Adapter Service. While setting up connectivity, you can also set rules based on which the message is transferred to different endpoints. For more information, see Routing Messages from Bridges to Destinations in the BizTalk Service Project.

  • Validation, Enrichment, and Transformation: BizTalk Services provides these capabilities as different stages of a ‘bridge’

2. Integrating different Line-of-Business (LOB) applications. This integrates business processes and applications that span different LOB applications, such as SAP and SQL Server. WABS enables you to extend operations on LOB applications as Service Bus endpoints on the cloud, thus extending the reach of the LOB applications to the cloud. You can then use these endpoints to integrate with other applications, either running on premises or on the cloud. The BizTalk Adapter Service feature allows an application in the cloud to communicate with a Line-of-Business (LOB) system on-premise, in your network, behind your firewall. Using the LOB adapters in the BizTalk Adapter Pack (BAP), a BizTalk Adapter Service application can execute LOB operations to the following on-premise LOB systems:

          • Microsoft SQL Server
          • Oracle Database
          • Oracle E-Business Suite
          • SAP
          • Siebel eBusiness Applications

 

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Integrating commerce transactions between businesses over industry or vertical-specific standards, such as X12, etc.

WABS provides a BizTalk Services Portal on the cloud that enables you to manage your EDI message transactions with trading partners. These integration capabilities are now provided as part of Windows Azure through WABS. Data received from partner organizations is often categorized as business-to-business (B2B) data transfer. One of the standard and most commonly used protocols for B2B and EDI is X12. There are various solutions available that help you manage and process EDI data transfer. Windows Azure BizTalk Services provides a BizTalk Services Portal that not only enables you to manage your trading partners and B2B messaging but also provides a central location to manage other BizTalk Services assets such as artifacts, bridges, etc.

 

The BizTalk Services Portal

 

Microsoft introduces the WABS Portal that enables customers to:

• Easily manage and onboard trading partners using the BizTalk Services Portal. With the BizTalk Services Portal, customers will be able to cut down the on-boarding time from weeks to days.

 

• Leverage Microsoft hosted B2B pipelines as services to exchange B2B documents and run them at scale for customers. This minimizes overhead in managing B2B pipelines and their corresponding scale issues with dedicated servers.

 

• Perform other management operations such as track messages, search and upload artifacts, manage bridges, etc.

 

The WABS Portal enables service providers to add trading partners and configure agreements that can be deployed to Windows Azure. The trading partners can then be send X12 messages using HTTP, AS2, FTP/S, and SFTP as transports. Once the message is received, it will be processed by the B2B pipeline deployed on Windows Azure and is routed to the destination configured as part of the agreement.

 

Conclusion:

Windows Azure BizTalk Service is a simple, powerful, and extensible cloud-based integration service that provides Business-to-Business (B2B) and Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) capabilities for delivering cloud and hybrid integration solutions. The service runs in a secure, dedicated, per-tenant environment that you can provision on demand.

 
You may Want to Check it out at:
http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/services/biztalk-services/
Regards,
Nihar Malali