Most awaited Azure Table Storage Connector is available now!

Recently Azure Table Storage Connector has been released in preview.

Now, the connector is only available in West Central US. Hopefully soon it will be rolled out to other data centers.

To play around this connector I created this very simple Logic App which pulls an entity from the table storage.

 

I have a table storage called RobustCloudIntegrationWithAzure as shown below.

This table basically stores all the authors and chapters name of the book Robust Cloud Integration With Azure.

The author or the chapter is the partition key and the sequence number is the row Key. To get any author or chapter details, you need to pass partition key and the row key to the logic app

First you need to make a connection to the Azure Storage table, by providing the Storage Account Name with Shared Storage Key. You also need to give a name to your connection.

Once you have made the connection successfully, you can use any action of CRUD operation. In this case I am using Get Entities which is basically a select operation.

Once you have selected the table, you have option to user Filter and Select OData query. In the Filter Query I have condition to check for partionKey which is coming from input request. In the Select Query, you can choose the columns of the table to display.

So, this logic app receives an request with the partionKey and rowKey as inputs.

Then it checks the value of partitionKey. If a partitionkey is equal to the author, Author action would be executed, else Chapter action. Depending on the partitionkey, either author or chapter details will be sent out as the response from the Logic App workflow

Here are the sample request and response using Postman.

Author

Chapter

 

Conclusion

Azure Table Storage Connector was one of the most voted request to Logic App team and now it’s available to use.

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When to use Logic Apps vs BizTalk Server

Now a days, this is a very common and valid question in the BizTalk community, both for existing BizTalk customer and for new one too.

Here is what Tord answered in the open Q&A with product group at 100th Episode of integration Monday.  Check at ~ 30.30 minutes of the video.

If your solution need to communicate with SaaS application, Azure workloads and cloud business partners (B2B) all in cloud then you should use Azure Logic Apps, but if you are doing lot of integration with on-premise processing by communicating with on-premise LOB applications, then BizTalk is the pretty good option. You can use both if you are doing hybrid integration.

So basically, it depends on scenario to scenario based on your need and architecture of your solution.

 

Cloud Integration

Many enterprises now use a multitude of cloud-based SaaS services, and being able to integrate these services and resources can become complex. This is where the native capability of Logic Apps can help by providing connectors for most enterprise and social services and to orchestrate the business process flows graphically.

If your resources are all based in the cloud, then Logic Apps is a definite candidate to use as an integration engine.

Natively, Logic Apps provides the following key features:

Rapid development: Using the visual designer with drag and drop connectors, you design your workflows without any coding using a top-down design flow. To get started, Microsoft has many templates available in the marketplace that can be used as is, or modified to suit your requirements. There are templates available for Enterprise SaaS services, common integration patterns, Message routing, DevOps, and social media services.

Auditing: Logic Apps have built-in auditing of all management operations. Date and time when workflow process was triggered and the duration of the process. Use the trigger history of a Logic App to determine the activity status:

  • Skipped: Nothing new was found to initiate the process
  • Succeeded: The workflow process was initiated in response to data  being available
  • Failed: An error occurred due to misconfiguration of the connector

A run history is also available for every trigger event. From this information, you can determine if the workflow process succeeded, failed, cancelled, or is still running.

Role-based access control (RBAC): Using RBAC in the Azure portal, specific components of the workflow can be locked down to specific users. Custom RBAC roles are also possible if none of the built-in roles fulfills your requirements.

Microsoft managed connectors: There are several connectors available from the Azure Marketplace for both enterprise and social services, and the list is continuously growing. The development community also contributes to this growing list of available connectors as well.

Serverless scaling: Automatic and built in on any tier.

Resiliency: Logic Apps are built on top of Azure’s infrastructure, which provides a high degree of resiliency and disaster recovery.

Security: This supports OAuth2, Azure Active Directory, Cert auth and Basic auth, and IP restriction.

There are also some concerns while working with Logic Apps, shared by Microsoft IT team at INTEGRATE 2017

You can also refer the book, Robust cloud integration with Azure to understand and get started with integration in cloud.

 

Hybrid Integration

When you have, resources scattered in the cloud and on premise, then you may want to consider BizTalk as a choice for this type of hybrid integration along with Logic Apps.

BizTalk 2016 include an adapter for Logic Apps. This Logic App adapter will be used to integrate Logic Apps and BizTalk sitting on premise. Using the BizTalk 2016 Logic App adapter on-premise, resources can directly talk to a multitude of SaaS platforms available on cloud.

The days of building monolithic applications are slowly diminishing as more enterprises see the value of consuming SaaS as an alternative to investing large amounts of capex to buy Commercial Off the Self (COTS) applications. This is where Logic Apps can play a large part by integrating multiple SaaS solutions together to form a complete solution.

BizTalk Server has been around since 2000, and there have been several new products releases since then. It is a very mature platform with excellent enterprise integration capabilities.

Below is a short comparison matrix between BizTalk and Logic Apps:

Conclusion

Microsoft Integration platform has all the option for all kind of customer’s integration need.