How can you optimise Microsoft Azure integration services to meet your needs?

18 Feb 2019

Microsoft installation screen on Android. Image: Piter2121/Depositphotos

Girish Phadke, cloud and Microsoft expert at Tata Consultancy Services, offers his tips to make Azure work for you.

Microsoft Azure is becoming one of the most popular public cloud platforms available, and its popularity is only continuing to grow. To date, more than 85pc of Fortune 500 companies are on the Microsoft cloud. With 89pc year-over-year growth in Azure’s revenue, new enterprise customers are adopting their cloud services at exponential rates.

As these customers begin to integrate Microsoft Azure into their business operations, they need to ensure that they understand the importance of choosing the best application integration services that fit their individual needs – no matter how they plan on utilising the platform (ie development, deployment or operations).

Here are a few important distinctions between various Azure integration options that are important for architects and developers to understand as they begin their journey navigating Microsoft Azure.

Applying Azure Logic Apps

Replacing BizTalk Services, Microsoft Azure Logic Apps is the next stage in the evolution of iPaaS (integration platform as a service) on the Azure platform.

Azure Logic Apps provide end-users with the capability to orchestrate workflows and business processes across multiple lines of business applications, through the use of a collection of triggers, actions and connectors.

Azure Logic Apps comes with a rich set of more than 200 connectors – which significantly simplify the process of application integration. Any custom code required for orchestrations and workflows on Azure Logic Apps can be written using Azure Functions (Serverless Compute).

Azure Logic Apps can invoke REST APIs hosted using Azure API Management or third-party API management platforms. Azure Logics Apps also support B2B message exchange protocols such as EDIFACT, AS2 and X12.

Message exchange with Azure Service Bus

Microsoft Azure’s Service Bus provides a secure and widely available infrastructure for communication and service publishing. Service Bus provides queues (one-way data exchange), topics (subscription-based message routing), and relays (real-time, two-way data exchange) for the sending and receiving of messages between separate applications.

Service Bus is ideal for businesses that need to create a ubiquitous message store for accepting online orders. The tool allows companies to build a solution allowing the storage of orders throughout the day and seamless, reliable processing of those orders overnight.

Additionally, companies with large employee bases and high-functioning operations around the globe can utilise Azure Service Bus to implement lightweight systems that can quickly and effectively route any claim – such as an application for health, travel, leave or any other expense-related claim – to the appropriate department.

Key considerations

Azure Logic Apps and Azure Service Bus are not competing but instead are complementary technologies that can be used together if applied correctly. Azure Logic Apps can be integrated with Azure Service Bus to create workflows that are triggered when messages arrive in service bus queues, topics and topic subscriptions.

Companies new to the Azure platform should research the available tools, prior to implementation to ensure that they are optimising their time and energy, and investing in the right tools that best fit their individual business needs.

By Girish Phadke

Girish Phadke is the technology head for the Microsoft and Cloud Platforms group within Tata Consultancy Services’ alliances and technology unit. He has more than 25 years of experience in architecting enterprise solutions for diverse industries such as banking, insurance, telecom, healthcare and consumer products.

Microsoft installation screen on Android. Image: Piter2121/Depositphotos