We can interpret integration as a communication between different systems or applications. One of the easiest ways to do this is through an API. APIs take care of this communication by “exposing” some of a program’s internal functions to the outside world in a limited fashion. But APIs have been around for a very long time, so what is different with Azure API Apps?
Azure API Apps provides a rich platform that makes it easier to develop, host, and consume APIs in the cloud and on-premises. With API apps you get enterprise grade security, simple access control, hybrid connectivity, automatic SDK generation as well as a very easy way to use Azure API Apps in Logic Apps procedures.
In this post we are going to cover some basics about Azure API Apps and its connectivity to BizTalk Services.
Why Azure API Apps?
Once your API is deployed to the API Apps service, all the interfaces are exposed as REST services and the service metadata is generated in Swagger 2.0.Using this metadata you can generate your client code.
Azure API Apps inherits all the benefits from Azure Web Apps plus some other benefits/features.
- Automatic OS patching
- Enterprise grade security
- High availability
- Support from many languages and platforms
- Auto scaling and load balancing
- WebJobs for background processing
- Easy deployments including continuous delivery
- Access On-premises data
- Bring your API as-is
- Simple access control
- Connectivity to SaaS platforms
- Swagger metadata
- Logic Apps integration
- Visual Studio tooling and support
- Public and private marketplaces
- Automatic dependency deployments
- Automatic updates
BizTalk Services Connectivity / Hybrid Connections
While integrating the new Azure API apps to legacy On-Premise systems, hybrid connections bring the capabilities to do so in an easy way. This is a very critical aspect of Azure API Apps since many customers have On-Premise systems that interact with Azure Cloud in different ways and different levels.
This API Apps interaction is wrapped into Hybrid Connections and what it does is use the Services Bus capabilities to establish a connection through a TCP port between the Azure service and the Local Server. This way is possible to be specific on which services you want to expose. This is also possible via Virtual Network.
This option is quite easy to enable and configure from the Azure Portal, navigating to your API App, selecting the API App Host and then clicking on “Hybrid Connections” inside “All Settings”
NOTE – This option uses BizTalk Services to perform the connections
After performing all the required configurations in the Azure Portal you can download an MSI file with the client installation package to configure it locally in your Server.
BizTalk Services Connectors
API Apps comes with a series of connectors for BizTalk Services that we list below.
- Batching / Debatching
- Extract (XPath)
- Transform (+Mapper)
- Convert (XML – JSON)
- Convert (XML – FF)
- Rules Engine
There are other connectors to for different CRMs, SAP, WebSphere and more to come.
We are very excited about this technology and we will continue to bring you more information on how to manage it and the different connecting options you have available to create your own API or Logic App. We know this is not a sliver bullet to fix every aspect of your integration project, but is wise to analyze its implications and possibilities.
If you have doubts or want to discuss a project with one of our experts feel free to contact us and we will find the best way to address your project and goals.
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