Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation in Hybrid Cloud Environment

With cloud being embraced actively by organizations, the need for hybrid cloud has evolved. As Cloud is evolving at rapid pace, customers have started consuming more of SaaS/PaaS applications that would require integration with legacy on prem enterprise applications.

During the digital workflow automation, we might have to integrate to a number of on prem, which do not provide easy to integrate interface. To integrate such enterprise applications with SaaS applications as well as other cloud applications/services which are not on-premises, complete custom integration has to be created which are very costly and time consuming.

There is a need for low code pay per use platforms which allow enterprises to better integrate services and applications in hybrid environments (on-premise and cloud). The platform should support hybrid integration scenarios like communication between SaaS and on-premise applications, on-premise and public cloud environments, etc.

Key Features Include:

  • Supports multiple communication protocols like AS2, HTTP, etc.
  • There is no need to manage servers.
  • Compute resources are allocated dynamically as needed.
  • You are charged only for the compute resources used to execute your code.
  • The compute resources scale on demand based on traffic.
  • Core integration engine-orchestration, routing, transformation, validation.
  • Provides connectors for SaaS, on-premise, and cloud services and other applications/services.
  • Highly available, scalable, reliable, and secure.
  • Provides the ability to expose and consume microservices.
  • Ability to handle real-time application integration.
  • API lifecycle management.
  • Monitoring and management.

Azure Logic Apps

Azure Logic Apps helps build mission-critical integration workflows to integrate applications and data across on-premise and cloud, and to orchestrate microservices/workflows. It provides a host of connectors that help connect with on-premise systems, cloud systems, Cognitive Services, the Azure IoT Suite, Azure Storage Blob, Office 365, Salesforce, Azure Event Grid, etc. It provides support for industry-standard protocols like AS2, X12, EDIFACT, etc., as well as the capability to process XML messages, flat files, and the like.

It provides an easy to use visual designer interface, which supports the easy creation of workflows. Logic Apps can be coupled with Azure Functions to include custom code if required. Azure Logic Apps provides a host of connectors that include standard connectors for connecting to:

  • Power BI
  • Azure Blob Storage
  • Event Hub
  • Twitter
  • OneDrive
  • On-premise connectors such as :
    • Oracle DB
    • BizTalk Server
    • SharePoint
  • Integration account connectors which provide support for transforming and validating XML, decoding, supporting standard formats like X12, and enterprise connectors for connecting to SAP, MQ, etc.

A logic app consists of actions, triggers, workflows, and flow controls.

Use Cases:

Logic Apps applications are good for batching or aggregator pattern. Batch processing is a critical requirement for most organizations. With event-based patterns and cloud consumption models, working with batch files is cost-effective and provides the end user with better insights into the business data. Logic Apps has built-in connectors for batch-processing use cases, in which the batch connector groups related messages and events in a collection until a specific criteria is met.

To understand this more clearly, let’s take the example of a social media website. When we post an update on a social media site, we may get some comments. To analyze those comments, it is important to batch them up and pass them to a central repository such as a data lake for analytical purposes, or Cognitive Services for sentiment analysis.

In this example, we have used a Cosmos graph database to trigger Azure Functions whenever a comment is added to a specific post:

Azure Functions

Azure Functions help in building functions in the cloud using serverless architecture that provides on-demand scalability and pay-per consumption.

This model lets the developer focus on the functionality rather than on infrastructure provisioning and maintenance. More integrated and efficient DevOps processes help in building features faster and creating a reduced time to market. It provides per action/resources consumed billing, resulting in better pricing as well.

Azure Functions are a great fit for scenarios where data needs to be processed, images need to be processed, event-based processing is performed, integration with other systems is performed, you expose your products as microservices, and you need tasks like batch jobs that run on a schedule, using backend applications for mobile application and web applications, IoT Event Processing, etc.

Azure Functions include triggers, and input/output bindings. Azure Functions include built-in triggers for HTTP Requests, batch jobs (timer), and processing messages when it gets added to a storage queue.

It provides integration with a number of Azure services in addition to third-party services like Azure Event Hub, Azure Event Grid, Azure CosmosDB, Azure Notification Hubs, Azure Service Bus, Azure Storage, etc.

Use Case Examples:

  • Ingesting events from a data stream and invokes a Azure function
  • SaaS-based application activity: A data file uploaded in OneDrive can trigger an Azure Function which can add additional analysis to the file.
  • Backend for web applications and mobile applications: Azure Functions can be invoked to do a lot of backend processing for mobile and web applications.

Some Sample Use Case Scenarios That Use Azure Functions and Azure Logic Apps Together

  • Logic Apps applications invoke Azure Functions to process complex data processing requirements.
  • An Azure Function that listens to a queue can invoke a logic app.
  • Azure Functions can be used to execute custom code which can be invoked from Logic Apps workflows.
Advance Solutions is constantly on the look-out for opportunities to expand our reach and work with more customers from different specializations. These varied experiences broaden our horizons as a firm, allowing us to serve you better.

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