Azure Event Hubs and Apache Kafka, a match made in messaging heaven

Last week Microsoft announced during Build that they are now supporting the Kafka protocol 1.0 and onward on Azure Event Hubs. This allows us to connect our Kafka clients, which can be either producers or consumers, to Event Hubs and take advantage of all features which Event Hubs gives us, like easy integration to Azure services including Stream Analytics, Functions and Logic Apps, use Capture and auto-inflate, and tie into Azure core features like MSI, RBAC and Virtual Networks.

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API Management CI/CD using ARM Templates – Products, users and groups

This is the second post in my series around setting up CI/CD for Azure API Management using Azure Resource Manager templates. In the previous post we created our API Management instance, and have set up our build and release pipelines. In this post we will add custom products, users and groups to our API Management instance, which will be used to set up our policies and access to our APIs.

API Management products, users and groups

The posts in this series are the following, this list will be updated as the posts are being published.

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Working with CloudEvents in Azure Event Grid

Recently Microsoft announced Azure Event Grid, a highly scalable serverless event driven offering allowing us to implement publish and subscribe patterns. Event driven scenarios are becoming more common by the day, which means that we see these type of integrations increasing a lot as well. A lot of times applications will define their own message formats for their events, however, with the recent announcement of native support in Azure Event Grid for CloudEvents our lives should be made a lot easier. CloudEvents is a standard for working with events accross platforms, and gives us a specification for describing event data in a common way. This will allow any platform or application which is working with events, to implement a common format, allowing easy integration and interoperability, for example between Azure, AWS and Oracle. The specification is still under active development, and Microsoft is one of the big contributors, especially Clemens Vasters, Lead Architect on Azure Messaging Services.

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API Management CI/CD using ARM Templates – API Management Instance

This is the first in a series of blogposts around setting up CI/CD for Azure API Management using Azure Resource Manager templates. We will be using Visual Studio Team Services to host our repositories and set up our build and release pipeline. By using CI/CD our API Management will be updated any time we check in changes made in our ARM templates.

The posts in this series are the following, this list will be updated as the posts are being published.

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Microsoft Azure becomes Magic Quadrant leader in Enterprise iPaaS

Last week the new Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service (EiPaaS) was published, listing Microsoft in the coveted leader space. Having worked with Azure’s iPaaS products for a long time now, I wholeheartedly agree with this decision, and congratulate all the teams within Microsoft who have been working so hard to get to where we are today. The complete report, with all requirements and results can be found in this report.

Source: Gartner (April 2018)

Source: Gartner (April 2018)

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Correlating messages over Logic Apps using Service Bus

When working with Azure Logic Apps, I like to have each Logic App do a single piece of work, as this allows us to mix and match these Logic Apps in various flows. For this demo, we will be using a very simple representation of this, where we have one Logic App which receives the message and send back a response to the original caller, another Logic App which does transformation of the message, and finally a Logic App which calls a backend system. To decouple these Logic Apps we will be using Azure Service Bus topics, providing us with routing capabilities and allowing us to handle downtime more easily.

Architecture

Architecture

Now the challenge we were running into, is that we needed to give the response which we received from the backend, back as a response to the client.

Requested architecture

Requested architecture

Of course, since we have implemented communication between the Logic Apps asynchronously and decoupled by using Service Bus in between, we don’t have a return channel on which we can send the response. In this post, I will show how we can solve this by using Service Bus sessions.

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Integration Patterns In Azure – Message Router Using Service Bus

In the previous post, we have seen how we can implement the Message Router pattern when working with Logic Apps. As discussed, Logic Apps are a great fit if you have a limited set of endpoints to which you want to route the message, and if you have a need for various connectors. In this post we will look into another technology to implement this pattern, Azure Service Bus Topics. Topics are a great solution if we want to implement a publish / subscribe mechanism.

  • Capability to send our messages to one or more subscriptions in our topic.
  • Each subscription represents a virtual queue, from where subscribers can pull their messages, allowing receiving systems to process messages at their own speed.
  • Receiver and sender are completely decoupled, so systems can work independently from each other.
  • Topics have dead-lettering capabilities built in, so messages are not lost even in case of issues.
  • Easily add new subscriptions, so we can quickly on-board new systems.
Azure Service Bus Topics

Azure Service Bus Topics

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Integration Patterns In Azure – Message Router Using Logic Apps

When implementing software, it’s always a good idea to follow existing patterns, as these allow us to use proven and reliable techniques. The same applies in integration, where we have been working with integration patterns in technologies like BizTalk, MSMQ etc. These days we are working more and more with new technologies in Azure, giving us new tools like Service Bus, Logic Apps, and since recently Event Grid. But even though we are working with new tools, these integration patterns are still very useful, and should be followed whenever possible. This post is the first in a series where I will be showing how we can implement integration patterns using various services in Azure.

Message Router Pattern

Message Router Pattern

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Creating event driven integrations using Azure Event Grid

Yesterday Microsoft announced their newest service on Azure, and it is called Azure Event Grid. With this new service, we now have event based serverless routing, from any source, to any destination. Of course, we all love integration, and Azure Event Grid brings a whole new world of possibilities. The service is currently in public preview, and we already have various publishes and event handlers to our disposal, and more will be rolling out over the coming months. In the end, expect every service within Azure to have a connection to Event Grid.

Event Publishers and Handlers

Event Publishers and Handlers

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Writing Azure Functions for Logic Apps using Visual Studio

In this post, I will show how we can use Visual Studio to write Azure Functions and use these in our Logic Apps. Azure Functions, which went GA on November 15th are a great way to write small pieces of code, which then can be used from various places, like being triggered by a HTTP request or a message on Service Bus, and can easily integrate with other Azure services like Storage, Service Bus, DocumentDB and more. We can also use our Azure Functions from Logic Apps, which gives us powerful integrations and workflow, using the out of the box Logic Apps connectors and actions, and placing our custom code in re-usable Functions.

Writing Azure Functions from Visual Studio

Previously, our main option to write Azure Functions was by using the online editor, which can be found in the portal.
azurefunctionsonlineeditor

However, most developers will be used to develop from Visual Studio, with its great debugging abilities and easy integration with our source control. Luckily, earlier this month the preview of Visual Studio Tools for Azure Functions was announced, giving us the ability to write Functions from our beloved IDE. For this post I used a machine with Visual Studio 2015 installed, along with Microsoft Web Developer Tools and Azure 2.9.6 .NET SDK.
visualstudioinstallationoptions
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