Microsoft Integration modernisation: building the resilience of your system

4th June 2020

At Integrate 2020, Microsoft announced the introduction of tooling to help businesses with on-premises installations of BizTalk Server to move their integration systems to Azure Integration Services (AIS) – Microsoft’s integration solution for the cloud.

The announcement means there’s a simpler path to migrate from BizTalk Server to AIS, and that in turn means fewer headaches when you’re ready to modernise your BizTalk applications and take advantage of the benefits of AIS.


Wait … integration modernisation?

Integration modernisation” is our term for the actions associated with updating and strengthening integration systems, particularly taking advantage of cloud technology. That makes them more resilient and fit for purpose in an IT environment that’s increasingly interconnected and built to take advantage of remote computing power.

What we’re seeing today is an increase in apps and systems moving to the cloud. As this trend speeds up, it’s important that businesses like yours get prepped to do the same with your integration systems – particularly if yours is one of the hundreds of businesses still using an on-premises installation of BizTalk Server.

With Microsoft’s pathway for on-premises BizTalk Server users in mind, let’s crack on with some benefits of moving your integration solution to the cloud.

Reduced operating costs

Modernising integration systems probably sounds expensive. Actually, it’s less of a financial burden than maintaining existing legacy systems. Even a small BizTalk installation comes with a 6-figure price tag. Keeping that up to date isn’t cheap.

Put simply, the pay as you go model means the cloud gives you lower ongoing costs.

If the data flowing between your systems is infrequent, such as overnight file drops and batch runs, the cloud can be much more cost effective than gearing up a local system that’s effectively unused a lot of the time.

The “elastic” nature of the cloud means you can scale up and scale down your processing to suit your current needs. That’s much better than building a local environment to withstand large spikes of activity but that’s otherwise dormant.

Integration modernisation leads to less local redundancy, which is expensive, and more cloud redundancy, which is cheap.

Better resilience

You don’t want data moving from the cloud down to your on-premises systems for processing and then being pushed back to the cloud. That’s a lot of unnecessary data movement for no real gain.

And it means that you’re wholly reliant on your local internet connection and data-processing capabilities. If your broadband goes down or one of your local servers fails, your operations stops in its tracks.

Compare that with the uptime and processing power achievable in the cloud. It’s an important consideration if the boardroom want to ensure the resilience of the business.

Integration modernisation leads to reducing the risks associated with running your business-critical IT operations.

Improved competitiveness

We know that the easiest thing to do is to stick with the systems you’re used to. That’s understandable.

But the ongoing costs of maintaining an on-premises integration solution aren’t always financially sensible – especially when more and more apps are being developed specifically for the cloud.

Perhaps your local solution has suited you for the past few years. What about the next 5 years? Will it be fit for purpose then? What would be the costs of modernising if you wait?

This isn’t just about managing costs. These days, more apps are being developed with a cloud-first approach. We’ll get to a point where an on-premises integration system won’t be able to interface properly with the latest cloud apps.

Kicking the can down the road might feel safe – “we’ll deal with this next year”. The other players in your market would be happy if you did that. Our clients who are modernising their integration systems now are the ones best placed to be competitive.

Integration modernisation means avoiding bottlenecks and taking advantage of the latest apps so that you can stay relevant in your marketplace.

But what about data security?

Old-school data guardians defend the on-premises way of doing things as being safer than putting their operations in the cloud. They often cite data sovereignty and other regulatory reasons for maintaining the on-premises status quo. It’s a common defence in the finance and pharmaceutical industries.

OK, it’s understandable to be risk-averse. But much of this stems from mainstream ideas of data somehow being “less safe” if it’s processed and stored in the cloud.

The reality in 2020 and beyond is that cloud data centres that are set up, locked down and maintained the right way offer better levels of security than local data centres.

So, the major limiting factor that often holds enterprises back from modernising their integration systems is a perceived drawback rather than an actual one.

Integration modernisation: taking the next step

We think Microsoft’s new tooling to help businesses migrate on-premises integration systems to the cloud represents a positive move forward. It makes integration modernisation that bit easier for businesses that have invested in on-premises installations of BizTalk Server.

Still, it’s no small step to make this move. If you want expert advice and practical support to manage a move to Azure Integration Services on Cloud, we’re here to help. We’re experts in AIS and BizTalk Server, and we’ve assisted many businesses in modernising their setup.

Get in touch and let’s chat about how moving your integration system to the cloud will give you more resilience and save you money.

What to discuss more? Contact us, we’re always happy to talk.