In the past few days, there have been three sizable product announcements that should be of interest to the cloud/integration community. Specifically, there are noticeable improvements to Microsoft’s CEP engine StreamInsight, Windows Azure’s integration services, and Tier 3’s Iron Foundry PaaS.
First off, the Microsoft StreamInsight team recently outlined changes that are coming in their StreamInsight 2.1 release. This is actually a pretty major update with some fundamental modification to the programmatic object model. I can attest to the fact that it can be challenge to build up the necessary host/query/adapter plumbing necessary to get a solution rolling, and the StreamInsight team has acknowledged this. The new object model will be a bit more straightforward. Also, we’ll see IEnumerable and IObservable become more first-class citizens in the platform. Developers are going to be encouraged to use IEnumerable/IObservable in lieu of adapters in both embedded AND server-based deployment scenarios. In addition to changes to the object model, we’ll also see improved checkpointing (failure recovery) support. If you want to learn more about StreamInsight, and are a Pluralsight subscriber, you can watch my course on this product.
Next up, Microsoft released the latest CTP for its Windows Azure Service Bus EAI and EDI components. As a refresher, these are “BizTalk in the cloud”-like services that improve connectivity, message processing and partner collaboration for hybrid situations. I summarized this product in an InfoQ article written in December 2011. So what’s new? Microsoft issued a description of the core changes, but in a nutshell, the components are maturing. The tooling is improving, the message processing engine can handle flat files or XML, the mapping and schema designers have enhanced functionality, and the EDI offering is more complete. You can download this release from the Microsoft site.
Finally, those cats at Tier 3 have unleashed a substantial update to their open-source Iron Foundry (public or private) .NET PaaS offering. The big takeaway is that Iron Foundry is now feature-competitive with its parent project, the wildly popular Cloud Foundry. Iron Foundry now supports a full suite of languages (.NET as well as Ruby, Java, PHP, Python, Node.js), multiple backend databases (SQL Server, Postgres, MySQL, Redis, MongoDB), and queuing support through Rabbit MQ. In addition, they’ve turned on the ability to tunnel into backend services (like SQL Server) so you don’t necessarily need to apply the monkey business that I employed a few months back. Tier 3 has also beefed up the hosting environment so that people who try out their hosted version of Iron Foundry can have a stable, reliable experience. A multi-language, private PaaS with nearly all the services that I need to build apps? Yes, please.
Each of the above releases is interesting in its own way and to me, they have relationships with one another. The Azure services enable a whole new set of integration scenarios, Iron Foundry makes it simple to move web applications between environments, and StreamInsight helps me quickly make sense of the data being generated by my applications. It’s a fun time to be an architect or developer!