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Home Discover our latest blogs Discover our latest blogs Preparing for the future: migrating from Microsoft BizTalk to Azure Integration Services with Cegeka
Applications
4 minutes reading

Preparing for the future: migrating from Microsoft BizTalk to Azure Integration Services with Cegeka

Microsoft BizTalk Server has long been the lynchpin for many organizations' application landscapes, providing a reliable and trusted solution for automating and tracking information flows and business processes. But with Microsoft slated to end support for BizTalk in 2030, organizations must now look ahead to ensure their systems remain secure and compliant. In this blog we’ll explore Cegeka’s BizTalk migration services and uncover how our proven expertise with these projects could help your transition go smoothly.

Jeroen Maes

Jeroen Maes

June 26, 2024

Thanks to its reliability and ability to model complex orchestrations, BizTalk has been the middleware of choice for many businesses for over two decades. Many organizations have invested significantly in far-reaching custom solutions based on BizTalk over the years, and are understandably daunted about migrating to another integration solution. Nonetheless, transitioning away from BizTalk is unavoidable, and as the impending phaseout approaches, organizations will need to carefully plan and execute a transition strategy. With established strategies for BizTalk migrations, Cegeka is on hand to advise on all aspects of these projects, working in close cooperation with you to minimize disruption and safeguard your operations.

Challenges

Migrating from a well-established solution like BizTalk presents several challenges.

  • Low business value and fear of increased operational costs
    For many organizations, BizTalk is more than just a software solution; it's a cornerstone of their operational infrastructure, backed by significant investment. The thought of being forced to move away from a dependable, on-premise solution means that companies are sometimes unenthusiastic about the necessary changes. The switch also entails moving from Biztalk’s fixed license per year model to a cloud model, many of which have variable consumption-based pricing structures. Cegeka has the experience to implement cost efficient integration solutions with a continuous validation approach to allow careful cost management.

  • Lack of confidence in alternatives
    With BizTalk being a known quantity, organizations often express uncertainty about whether new solutions can match its reliability and performance. This is especially the case for organizations in the manufacturing space with ongoing on-premise requirements.

  • Talent acquisition concerns
    Finding specialized and trained BizTalk developers has always been challenging. Many companies are concerned that a new solution will also require specialized skills that are hard to source.

Cegeka's approach

A compelling alternative to BizTalk emerges in Azure Integration Services (AIS). This suite of cloud-based tools, hosted on Microsoft's versatile Azure cloud platform, allows for frictionless connections between applications, data, and processes, both within and across organizational boundaries. However, AIS is not a direct one-to-one replacement for BizTalk; it comprises a suite of Azure services that must be configured to replicate BizTalk’s functionalities. This complexity underscores the need for a methodical migration process involving an in-depth assessment of the organization’s needs, the current BizTalk implementation and a thorough gap analysis.

Cegeka has extensive experience in advising on and managing BizTalk migration projects, and has developed a standardized and robust approach that combines a reusable landing zone with custom expansions for every use case.

The process

Step 1 - Feasibility check

Cegeka begins each migration project with a comprehensive feasibility check. This initial assessment evaluates the existing BizTalk implementation, identifies integration points, and gauges the complexity of the necessary adapters and connected applications. The results inform a pilot roadmap, developed in close cooperation with the customer, to set up an integration platform in Azure.

Step 2 - Shared landing zone

A key component of Cegeka’s approach is the creation of a shared landing zone in Azure. This landing zone is centrally managed by the integration COE team, but also offers straightforward usability to teams working on other integrations. It serves as a reusable framework that facilitates efficient migration and management. Utilizing accelerators and infrastructure-as-code templates, Cegeka ensures the landing zone is deployed correctly in a phased manner.

Step 3 -  Custom expansions

Cegeka’s strategy combines this standardized integration hub with bespoke customizations or ‘spokes’, tailored to migrate each specific application or integration. This hybrid approach provides flexibility and addresses the unique needs of each organization.

Step 4 - Side-by-side validation

To mitigate risks and build confidence in the new solution, Cegeka employs side-by-side validation. The new Azure-based solution is run concurrently with the legacy BizTalk system, with messages and API flows monitored in parallel to ensure identical outcomes. This pragmatic approach offers peace of mind for companies transitioning to an unknown system, creating confidence in the new solution through monitoring and observability.

Step 5 - Observability

Effective ongoing monitoring is essential for critical integration platforms (iPaaS). Cegeka leverages standard Microsoft tools like Log Analytics and Application Insights, supplemented by custom dashboarding using Grafana, an open-source analytics and monitoring solution. This combination offers numerous benefits, including cost savings (no monthly license fees), ‘everything is possible’ technological flexibility, and simplified staffing.

Beyond Biztalk migrations

Cegeka's three-tiered integration approach provides clients with a flexible roadmap for modernizing legacy systems, moving beyond the more limited scope of a ‘lift and shift’ BizTalk migration to deliver more comprehensive solutions aligned with your budget and ambitions.

Level two introduces an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS), such as the serverless iPaaS offerings from Microsoft Azure. This approach centralizes integration processes, streamlining data flow and enhancing efficiency.

The third and most comprehensive level leverages microservices to completely reimagine a company’s application landscape. This approach breaks down monolithic applications into smaller, independent services, unlocking unparalleled agility, scalability, and resilience.

Cegeka's layered approach ensures clients can choose the depth of integration that best suits their needs, from single-project migrations to a complete architectural transformation.

In close cooperation

Cegeka recognises the extensive investments organizations have made in their custom BizTalk solutions. By working in close cooperation with customers, Cegeka designs and deploys open-ended solutions based on standardized landing zones that are fully customizable to meet specific requirements. This collaborative, pragmatic approach is supported by a dedicated team of Cegeka DevOps experts with specialized knowledge of Grafana.

Beyond BizTalk migrations, Cegeka’s integration services extend to designing event-driven architectures (EDA) and API-led architectures, and building comprehensive application modernization roadmaps.

Peace of mind

As the end of support for Microsoft BizTalk approaches, organizations must proactively plan their migration strategies to ensure continued security and compliance. Cegeka offers a proven, pragmatic approach to BizTalk migration, combining reusable frameworks and streamlined integration accelerators to produce tailored customizations and robust observability with no vendor lock-in. By partnering with Cegeka, organizations can navigate the complexities of migration with confidence and peace of mind, for a smooth transition to a future-proof integration platform.

Jeroen Maes

Jeroen Maes

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