BizTalk Services – which version is right for me?

Micrsoft Azure BizTalk Services (MABS) is available in four editions: Developer, Basic, Standard and Premium. The problem is that Microsoft unintentionally uses puzzling expressions to distinguish them from one another, such as “the number of EAI Bridges per Unit”, “the number of EDI Agreements per Unit” and “the number of connections using BizTalk Adapter Service (to on-premise LOB systems) per Unit”. There are more such expressions in the WABS licensing policy, but we focus on those three as they seem to be the most confusing ones. So, what do these limits mean in practice? How many bridges, agreements and adapters do you need to exchange data with your trading partners? We try to figure this out for you in the paragraphs below.

We try to explain what affects the required number of EAI bridges, EDI Agreements and LOB Adapters in BizTalk Services using two different scenarios.

Have any additional questions and/or want us to make BizTalk Services work for you? Contact us now!

What affects the required number of EAI bridges, EDI Agreements and LOB Adapters in BizTalk Services? Scenario no. 1

Imagine you have 40 trading partners with the following characteristics to exchange data with:

Item Count

Implicates:

EAI Bridges EDI Agreements LOB Adapters
No. of trading partners not using
X12, EDIFACT nor AS2;With webservice | Own/ Dedicated
FTP or catalog | Shared FTP and catalog
10

3 | 4 | 3

Total – 8

3 | 4 | 1

0

 

No. of trading partners using AS2
but not X12 nor EDIFACT
10 0 10
No. of trading partners using X12
or EDIFACT, but not AS2
10 0 10
No. of trading partners using X12
or EDIFACT and AS2
10

0

20

No. of partners that have to use
LOB (Line of Business) Adapters for pulling data from:

Microsoft SQL
Server/ Oracle Database/ Oracle E-Business Suite/ SAP /
Siebel
eBusiness Applications

0 /1 /0/1/0

2

Altogether:

40

8

40

2

Conlusion: In the discussed example you need the Basic version of BizTalk Services (costing about $358 per month) that covers 25 EAI bridges, 50 EDI agreements, 2 BizTalk Adapter Service connections and 10 Hybrid Connections per Unit (more on BizTalk Services pricing).

EAI Bridges – additional comments
For each of your trading partners who exchange their data using such standards as X12 or EDIFACT you don’t need separate EAI bridges. The Agreement bridge decoupling function was introduced as part of Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services August 2014 update.

If you have other trading partners that don’t use EDI standards for B2B messaging, theoretically you can connect them even with one bridge. However, you must remember that one bridge needs to pull the data (such as invoices or orders) from a single FTP server or a catalogue in this FTP server. You can overcome this restriction by creating special software that is responsible for pulling all the required data from your trading partners to your FTP (connected to your BizTalk bridge), and then for pushing it back from your FTP to the FTPs of your partners.

You can also use this software to connect some of your trading partners (who have agreed to such a solution) with your FTP server, and exchange B2B messages with others using separate bridges. That will enable you to reduce the required number of bridges but you still need the software.

You can also take advantage of the fact that each BizTalk Services bridge is visible as a webservice in the cloud and a client can send the data directly to the bridge via webservice or AS2 protocol – in such a case you need one bridge per partner.

One bridge is able to handle different types of files (e.g. orders and invoices) because it is able to recognize what type of message is input and it can add to it the appropriate map that is needed and then transfer it through the pipeline, performing a series of processing steps (decoding, validating, enriching, and transforming the message).

EDI Agreements – additional comments
You don’t have to set up agreements with partners that don’t use EDI standards for B2B messaging. For partners that use such standards you have to set up one agreement with each of them, unless they use also AS2. If this the case you need 2 agreements per partner as AS2 requires a separate agreement. When using EDI Agreements you don’t need EAI bridges.

LOB adapters – additional comments
If you or your trading partners have to use LOB (Line of Business) Adapters for pulling data from Microsoft SQL Server/ Oracle Database/ Oracle E-Business Suite/ SAP/ Siebel eBusiness Applications you should remember that each connection to such a system (installed on a separate server) requires one LOB adapter. However, as you probably know most systems have a possibility to generate txt or xml files that can be used for B2B messaging. In such a case there is no need to use LOB adapters.

Pushing BizTalk Services Basic Version to the limits. Scenario no 2

Imagine you have 1050 trading partners with the following characteristics to exchange data with:

Item

Count

Implicates:

EAI
Bridges

EDI
Agreements

LOB
Adapters

Hybrid
connections

No.
of trading partners not using X12, EDIFACT nor AS2;

No.
of FTP servers

1000

 

25

25

0

No.
of trading partners using AS2 but not X12 nor EDIFACT

10

0

10

No.
of trading partners using X12 or EDIFACT, but not AS2

20

0

20

No.
of trading partners using X12 or EDIFACT and AS2

10

0

20

No.
of your internal systems that you need to communicate with (let’s
say 1 SAP and 1 Oracle Database)

SQL
Server/ Oracle Database/ Oracle E-Business Suite/ SAP /
Siebel
eBusiness Applications /

0/1/0/1/0

2

No.
of your internal systems that you need to communicate with
webservice

3

3

Altogether:

1050

20

50

2

3

Conlusion: In the discussed example you need the Basic version of BizTalk Services that covers 25 EAI bridges, 50 EDI agreements, 2 BizTalk Adapter Service connections and 10 Hybrid Connections per Unit.

Have questions? Please contact us. We can calculate what BizTalk Services version is right for you together with Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services team.

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