Dev/test story for BizTalk Server in Microsoft Azure IaaS just got better. We have published BizTalk Server 2013 Developer edition image in the platform gallery for MSDN subscribers.
A typical BizTalk Server (2013) development environment consists of
- Base Windows (Server 2012) platform
- BizTalk Server (2013)
- SQL Server (2012)
- Visual Studio (2012)
The aim of creating the developer edition image is to have a self-contained image which includes everything that a BizTalk developer needs to get started. So, it contains not just BizTalk Server but also the other software components mentioned above. The specific versions of the software components are mentioned in parenthesis.
Yes, the developer edition image does contain Visual Studio pre-installed! Not only that, it also contains the BizTalk SDK pre-installed for you.
This image is available only to MSDN subscriptions in Microsoft Azure. A MSDN subscription offers lots of benefits to develop and test solutions in the cloud. You can read more about MSDN subscription benefits here.
Create a new BizTalk Server development environment
You can create a new BizTalk developer virtual machine either through the Azure portal, or through Powershell. In this blog post, I will walk through the portal experience.
In Azure portal, you can create a new VM by navigating through
New – Compute – Virtual Machine – From Gallery – BizTalk Server
If your subscription is not a MSDN subscription, BizTalk Server 2013 Developer image does not light up. However, if you are making use of a MSDN subscription you will notice the BizTalk Server 2013 Developer image magically light up.
You can then select this image, walkthrough the image creation wizard and create a new BizTalk Server 2013 Development virtual machine just like you would create any other virtual machine.
Develop your first BizTalk Application
When the virtual machine is up and running, it has the local SQL Server up and running as well.
Note the absence of any BizTalk specific databases. This is because the virtual machine has BizTalk Server installed, but it isn’t configured yet.
BizTalk Server configuration
You can now launch the BizTalk Server configuration (shortcut to BizTalk Configuration is present in desktop), and configure BizTalk in the virtual machine.
Above screenshot shows a successful completion of BizTalk configuration.
The heart of any BizTalk development environment is the IDE – Visual Studio. The virtual machine already has Visual Studio pre-installed.
Note that the BizTalk SDK is installed as part of the image as well. So, you can get started right away.
More options – other BizTalk components
The developer edition image has BizTalk core installed by default. If you wish to use other components of BizTalk Server, such as ESB Toolkit, WCF LOB adapters, etc. – you have full access to the BizTalk Server 2013 Developer edition base media at C:\BizTalkServer2013_Developer.
Develop in the cloud – Get started with BizTalk Server development in minutes
The barrier to get started with developing BizTalk applications has come down drastically in the cloud. With the BizTalk Server 2013 development image, developers can now provision a fully functional development environment and write their first BizTalk application in minutes.
All the complexities involved with respect to hardware availability, understanding the software dependencies, installation sequence, SDK installations, etc. are taken care of. BizTalk developers can focus on their application, and get started with their app development in the cloud within minutes.
On-demand development environments
There are many cases where customers need to spin off a new BizTalk Server development environment for a POC, or an upcoming BizTalk project. Usually, they either have to work their way through setting up a new environment.
With the power of developer images in Azure, customers can now create their environments on-demand – create and use it when required, and shut it down when the POC/project development is complete.
Leverage Azure platform and its ecosystem
This is often understated, but there is a lot of goodness provided by the Azure platform.
Choose a datacenter location near you
Azure currently operates out of ten regions across the globe. This includes United States, Europe, Asia Pacific, Japan, and Brazil. Additional geographic expansion is a high priority focus for Azure team.
Wherever you are located, you can choose a location near you that suits your requirements.
Explore on premise connectivity options in the Azure platform
It is very common in BizTalk solutions to have one or more dependent systems (e.g. ERP) on premise. Development could happen in the cloud, and to test the end-end flow – customers can make use of the networking solutions in Microsoft Azure: point-to-site, site-to-site, or the recently announced Azure ExpressRoute options.
There are various other goodness that comes as part of the Azure platform. It includes, but is not limited to: VM sizes, VM agent for remote debugging, VM extensions, security extensions, etc.
BizTalk Server 2013 Developer edition is available for MSDN subscriptions in Microsoft Azure. It is a completely self-contained image and helps you get started with BizTalk Server development in the cloud.