Communicating with Windows Azure Queues with the WCF BizTalk Adapter for Windows Azure Storage Services

Monday, June 27, 2011
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As part of its Cloud Computing offerring, Microsoft provides highly elastic and reliable capabilities for storing structured and unstructed data from anywhere over an internet connection.
One thing I’m being very interested in, is the capabilities that Windows Azure StorageServices provide. In my mind, these set of storage services enable wider data integration services, between on-premises applications or processes and Cloud applications.
That is why I teamed up with Jérémie, in order to build a BizTalk WCF Adapter for Windows Azure Storage Services. Our adapter is currently at very early stage but we wanted to show what it is already capable of.
Jérémie and I are working hard and we expect to release a preliminary beta version of our adapter on CodePlex in the next few days or so.
BizTalk WCF Adapter for Windows Azure Storage Services
Thanks to the WCF LOB Adapter SDK, building an adapter is not that complicated. Well, it comes with its own set of challenges, but still.
Like any other adapter, the Azure Storage Adapter allows you to browse through the various artifacts exposed by the target LOB system. In this case, Blob Service Containers and Queues associated with a Windows Azure Storage Account are available.
For each selected operations, the WCF LOB Adapter framework will build a set of .xsd schemas for use with BizTalk, for building your integration of business processes as usual.
In the BizTalk Server Administration Console, the configuration of send ports and receive locations is exactly the same as any other adapter. First, select the azureStorageBinding for the WCF-Custom transport properties.
Then, specify an appropriate URI that represents your Windows Azure Storage Account, and you’re good to go !
Conclusion
As we’ve seen, Windows Azure Storage Services provide a robust, scalable and efficient means to store data on the Cloud and that enables existing on-premises data integration scenarios to extend outside the boundaries of an enterprise, with the concept of Composite Applications.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this port, our adapter is very raw at the moment. For instance, it currently only supports Outbound operations for Blobs and Queues. So adding support for Tables is next on the list. At a later stage, we might want to make use of the Azure Storage REST APIs instead of relying on the Windows Azure SDK dependencies at runtime.
But even with these limitations, Jérémie and I think that our adapter can be useful for you out of the box. That’s why we are committed to release a first version of our adapter onCodePlex in the next few days, in order to gather feedback from the community. We are working hard to help bridge the gap for data integration scenarios between BizTalk and Windows Azure

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