1 July 2019
Azure Logic Apps vs BizTalk Server
Most companies these days use a mix of cloud-based applications and on-premises systems to run their business processes. This hybrid approach gives them the many benefits of the cloud – greater flexibility, enhanced performance and lower costs – while letting them continue to use their mission-critical legacy software.
But it does mean that companies need a comprehensive integration strategy to seamlessly connect the various components. This was highlighted in a recent Gartner report, which predicts that – by next year – integration work will account for 50% of the time and cost of building a digital platform. Gartner also predicts that by 2022, 65% of large organisations will have implemented a HIP (Hybrid Integration Platform).
A number of integration solutions exist, of course, to let you connect on-premises, hybrid and cloud applications. ¬In this article we’ll look at two products from Microsoft’s HIP – Azure Logic Apps and BizTalk Server – and discuss some of the differences between them. Let’s look at Azure Logic Apps first.
Azure Logic Apps
Logic Apps is a software as a service (SaaS) offering that lets you connect applications, data and devices anywhere – on-premises or in the cloud – using cloud-based connectors. Out-of-the-box connectors include Office 365, Google services, Dropbox and Salesforce, and more are being added all the time. The connectors are API apps that use JSON as the data interchange format. They are essentially an encapsulation of authentication and data validation, combined with triggers and actions.
The software lets you build integration workflows, using a browser-based designer or Visual Studio as the development tool. Instantiation of workflow is by trigger, with trigger types including Request (endpoint), Recurrence (schedule), HTTP and ApiConnection.
Logic Apps, in summary, run on Azure Cloud services and enable serverless orchestration and scalable integrations in the cloud.
BizTalk, on the other hand, was primarily designed to focus on on-premises integrations.
It is XML based and connects applications and systems using adapters (as opposed to Logic Apps’ connectors). Available adapters include the WCF adapter set for LOB and ERP systems such as SAP, PeopleSoft, Siebel and Oracle.
BizTalk is a messaging solution (using schema, maps and ports) with orchestration (workflow) available. Visual Studio is its development tool, and instantiation of orchestration is by message. Nested workflow is also available, whereby the call to start an orchestration can come from within another orchestration.
Best when working together
Logic Apps and BizTalk are both integration tools and there is some overlap between them. But they are not alternatives, and are best utilised together. That’s because – as highlighted at the start – most companies have cloud-based and on-premises applications.
Microsoft obviously recognises that and provides a number of options to enable hybrid integration. These include a BizTalk connector in Logic Apps, a Logic Apps adapter in BizTalk, an Azure Service Bus adapter in BizTalk, and an On-premises Data Gateway to access your on-premises resources from the cloud.
Here at JBI Training, we provide a range of outstanding training courses on enterprise-wide integration solutions. The training courses include:
• Azure Logic Apps training course (4 days) where you learn to build cutting-edge integration solutions using the Azure platform – See our Azure Logic Apps training course outline
• BizTalk Server 2016 Development training course (5 days) where you learn to develop integration solutions for your business systems using BizTalk Server – See our BizTalk Server 2016 Development training course outline
• SOA Solutions with BizTalk Server training course (5 days) where you learn the latest BizTalk features and best practices – See our SOA Solutions with BizTalk Server training course outline