Saturday, November 03, 2007

Microsoft SOA and Business Process Conference - Day 4

Time Session
7:30am-8:30am Breakfast
8:30am-9:30am Modeling and Composition of Applications
10:00am-11:00am Advanced Orchestration Concepts and Best Practices
11:00am-1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm-2:00pm Robust Error Handling for BizTalk Solutions
2:00pm-2:45pm Taxi to Airport
5:25pm (PST)-12:00am (CST) Flight back to DFW and drive home!


As much as I like the dynamic duo of Clemens Vasters and Steve Swartz, the best presentation of today was Stephen W. Thomas on his "Advanced Orchestration Concepts and Best Practices".  Turns out, Stephen and I lived literally within 2 miles of each other, until he picked up and moved!

Microsoft SOA and Business Process Conference - Day 3

Time Session
7:30am-8:30am Breakfast
8:30am-9:30am Software Plus Services
10:00am-11:00am Viso as a Business Process Analysis Tool
11:00am-11:30am Lunch
11:30am-12:30pm Enterprise SOA: How SOA will Alter Corporate Software Buying Decisions
1:00pm-2:00pm Building Workflow Powered Services in .NET 3.5
2:30pm-3:30pm Reliable Messaging on the Microsoft Connected Systems Platform
4:00pm-5:00pm Using Visual Studio Team System to Deliver the Right Services at the Right Time


Best presentations today were Building Workflow Powered Services in .NET 3.5 and Reliable Messaging on the Microsoft Connected Systems Platform.

Finally got around to reviewing the DVD that was given on the first day of the conference.  They delivered something called "Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Training Classroom-in-a-Box".  This thing actually looks pretty good!  Of course, you've got your requisite VPC image and then a large number of targeted "How To" lab exercises.  I still need to review more of it, but its 3 DVD's...!

Alan Smith presented the Reliable Messaging session and demoed a Resequencer as a BizTalk 2006 orchestration.  Definitely worth a deeper look as he is releasing the source code on his blog.  He also mentioned using an atomic transaction as a performance trick to keep the orchestration from dehydrating during the action - need to mull that over whether it would add value in one of our situations.

Went out and had the best beer I've had in a long time at the Rock Bottom Brewery right behind the Bellevue Westin.  Something with blueberries and was hmmmm good!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Microsoft SOA and Business Process Conference - Day 2

Time Session
7:30am-8:30am Breakfast
8:30am-9:30am BizTalk Adapters for WCF: Deep Dive
10:00am-11:00am Service Lifecycle Management: Addressing the Challenges of the Provider/Consumer Relationship
11:00am-11:30am Lunch
11:30am-12:30pm Best Practices for Service Oriented Architecture
1:00pm-2:00pm Service Virtualization with .NET and BizTalk Server
2:30pm-3:30pm How Everyone Should Test Their BizTalk Server Based Solutions
4:00pm-5:00pm Building a Service Monitoring Infrastructure with BizTalk Business Activity Monitoring


Skonnard on WCF BizTalk Adapters was great!  Really communicated the flexibility of WCF, including performance gains over older WSE.

Managed Service Endpoint was discussed in both the SLM and Virtualization talks.  MSE appears to allow providers to protect consumers from service change through the use of endpoint resolution and XSLT to transform message requests to newer formats. 

Best Practices for Service Oriented Architecture was a good review of the Microsoft Enterprise Service Bus.  New code drop is on the way, don't bother with current code on Codeplex.

Darren Jaffords talk on BizTalk testing reinforces that functional testing is feasible, but it would really - really - be great it if it was more of a first class citizen in the IDE.  He also mentioned using the visual studio profiler OFF the desktop and on the server - didn't know you could do that.  Evidently can also do that with the code coverage. Will need to definitely check that out for all of our C# code running in our BizTalk projects. 

BAM as a tool for monitoring service operations kinda helps put BAM potentially back in the picture - I got a t-shirt for explaining why we aren't using BAM and a lot of feedback on how it could give better insight into our inflight service instances, as well as services outside of BizTalk.  Our 3PL tier could really benefit from something like this but will take a little thought to identify what we want to capture.  Jon openly stated that he would not use DTA for tracking, and would build a tracking infrastructure around BAM. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Microsoft SOA and Business Process Conference - Day 1

I didn't think that there would be really any big news this time around, but they announced "Oslo" during the keynote this am.  I'm not going to go into all the details of "Oslo", there aren't really all that many.

However, there are a couple of features that really get me excited: Modeling Tools and The Repository.

Modeling Tools

A significant issue during the development lifecycle is the sharing of models.  Well, we share them as static copies that we pass around, or if we are lucky, host in a central location. 

Part of the modeling conundrum is that they are static.  Once you've got a model, you can't really do much with it.  Sure, there are vendor solutions that fill this void, but for the most part there is little enforcement of fidelity between the model and the instance (e.g. code constructs) with the available tools from Microsoft.  Visual Studio 2005 Team Architect was supposed to help close the gap in this area with a caveat - anyone you share the model with has to have a copy of Team Architect. 

One of the promises of "Oslo" is more robust modeling tools that enable sharing of models from Analysts (Business Process Model) to Architects (Service and Contract Models) to Developers (Workflows and Orchestrations Models), to Operations (Deployment Models and Monitoring Models).

The tools that actually generate the models will still be different, yet these models will be published to The Repository where relationships can be established between the different models and reported against.

The Repository

The Repository is where it all comes together.  This is the host for the models, but its even more than that.  It will be the centralized location for discovery, service resolution, configuration and workflows.  Well, if we are storing workflows in The Repository, why not other code?  It sounds like we could deploy code to The Repository where it gets picked up by a process host (defined by a deployment model) and executed.  

Thats more deploying code across the enterprise, deploy it to a central location and have the deployment model define where it gets executed.  Sounds too good to be true.  "Oslo" is an ambitious release, time will tell how it will actually turn out.  We can expect betas early in 2008.

More Information

Check out BizTalk Community Blogs via Syndication for up to date information. 

BizTalk Services

This is an area that really looks interesting.  I especially like the idea that I can prototype services 'in the cloud' and then move them to my own infrastructure, or another hosting provider.

Current services are Identity, Connectivity and Workflow on the horizon. 

BizTalk Roadmap

BizTalk looks like it will definitely evolve around WCF and WF.  That's right, you no longer need to know just .NET to pull off BizTalk development.  In the future, your going to want to be comfortable with Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow.  Yes, the future workflow engine of BizTalk will be WF.  That being said, we've got a commitment from Oliver Sharp (GM, Connected Systems Division) that there will be support for existing messaging, and orchestration assets, in the next version. 

When is the next version shipping?  I swear I had a verbal commitment from members of the BizTalk Product group on a product delivery every two years: 2004, 2006, 2008....uh, 2008?  Doesn't look like it.  It looks more like 2009.  We'll see on this one as well.

Connected Systems Division Focus Group on Documentation

This was a last minute invitation to represent 'corporate' America.  It was somewhat humorous to be sitting at a table with close to a dozen MVP's - I kinda felt like a party crasher, but they made us feel welcome!


My portable HD died on me this am.  This thing has all my music, and more importantly, all my virtual machines.  *sigh* Luckily, this is all at the house, but it leaves me limited in my experimenting with technology this week.

Phone was also on the fritz and not receiving email, which left me in an odd 'disconnected' feeling.

One last comment on today...there is definitely more vendor-speak and 'marketecture' than I remember from last year.  Last year, the sessions sponsored by vendors were a little more obvious than they were today.

Once I realized that I was hearing the same repetitive why reasons for needing SOA governance, and there was no hint of how we should go about enabling governance (not counting the slides showing screenshots of a vendors product) I needed to pack up and leave but didn't.  I won't make that mistake again! 

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hello Bellevue, WA

I've only been here a handful of times (like 3 - guess that qualifies for several) yet the landscape continues to change with each visit. Its certainly becoming more metropolitan. Its a great little city, and there is definitely fall weather!

I am here...

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