Rich Messaging Endpoints
Updated: November 21, 2013
In the topic About Windows Azure BizTalk Services, we saw that one of the core requirements from BizTalk Services is to bridge the message and transport protocol mismatch between two disparate systems. In cloud parlance, we should think of each system on the cloud as an endpoint on Windows Azure. Rich messaging endpoints enable message exchange between these disparate applications (which are either extensions of on-premises applications or representing an application running on the cloud). However, given that the two systems are disparate and probably follow different messaging format and protocols, it becomes imperative that Windows Azure provides rich processing capabilities between the two endpoints. The processing capabilities could include the following:
The ability to connect systems following different transport protocols
The ability to validate the message originating from the source endpoint against a standard schema
The ability to transform the message as required by destination endpoints
The ability to enrich the message by adding properties to the message context. The properties can then be used to route the message to a destination or an intermediary endpoint.
All these capabilities are made available through rich messaging endpoints available as part of BizTalk Services. The following diagram depicts how rich messaging endpoints bridge mismatches between systems and applications.
To sum it up, BizTalk Services offers four major components (connectivity, validation, enrichment, transformation) that can be stitched together to provide rich messaging endpoints.
Connectors: These bridge the gap between different transport protocols as well as different LOB applications that exist on the premise behind a firewall but expose their operational endpoints on the cloud. Bridges accept incoming messages from different protocols such as HTTP, FTP, and SFTP. Bridges can send outgoing messages to different protocols such as HTTP, FTP, SFTP as well as other endpoints such as Azure Blobs, Service Bus Queues, Topics, and Relays.
In addition, BizTalk Services also provides connectivity to on-premise LOB applications such as SQL Server, SAP, Siebel, and Oracle databases/E-Business Suite. For more information, see BizTalk Adapter Service.
While setting up connectivity, you can also set rules based on which the message is transferred to different endpoints. For more information, see Routing Messages from Bridges to Destinations in the BizTalk Service Project.
Validation, Enrichment, and Transformation: BizTalk Services provides these capabilities as different stages of a ‘bridge’. For more information, see What are Bridges?.
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