Over the last few months I have becoming a little bit more familiar with the term ‘Serverless’ and what it means in the context of automating business processes in Azure and what features and products are available to help with these kinds of tasks.
With the fantastic wealth of information provided by Microsoft Learn I have picked my way through a few online sessions and thought I would just post up a summary of which Services are available in Azure and maybe an idea of when some of these may be best suited for use.
A lot of the notes from this section have been taken from the following MS Learn module which I highly recommend having a read of: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/learn/modules/choose-azure-service-to-integrate-and-automate-business-processes/
Setting the scene!
Ok so, for many years integration within applications for streamlining business process has been a thing of wonder, usually at a time when some integration was required a quick call to the tech support teams, a problem definition and criteria were set and a troubled IT Pro or Dev would pull their hair out trying to get two disparate software systems to communicate. Depending on the capabilities of your Dev this could end up in a professional well developed solution, or it could be a little lack luster. Either way, this would have been a relatively ‘painful’ task, when if any changes were required it might be back to the drawing board.
Over the years, software companies developed ways in which to allow programmatical access to their software applications, and would expose functions or methods to do specific things with their software. These are typically called API’s (Application Program Interfaces). These API’s were and are seen as a tip of the hat by software developers who might know that the software they have developed may very well need integrating with other software that users or large businesses utilise, it creates a raft of possibilities, but still traditionally and typically would require an ITPro or a Dev person to take that problem definition and make the magic happen! That magic would be a bit easier for those guys now that API’s, but still there are challenges for integration. Why can’t this integration be a bit easier to use or abstracted away from the API or coding requirements?
So in short this is where Azure Services come into play!
With Microsoft’s mission to ‘enable everyone on the planet to achieve more’ they are definitely making that statement come true.
What do we have in Azure?
So, generally speaking, to configure Business Process Flows, there are a few options available which I will highlight here for you to utilise in Azure.
- Azure Functions
- Azure Logic Apps
- Azure WebJobs
- Microsoft Power Automate (used to be called Microsoft Flow)
These four services cover off a lot of the problems I mention earlier, i.e. abstracting complexities away from end user, removing barriers to adoption, however, the features still enable the level of complexity in configuration which allows complete flexibility to the most seasoned developer. Another words, these features cover a wide spectrum of use and target user. Also all of these services are essentially ready to set up and deploy, there is no infrastructure servers and Operating systems to worry about, Microsoft do all of that for us! Hence the term ‘Serverless’. To clarify, these services do of course need servers to run and execute their commands on, but this is all abstracted away from the end user!!
The decision of which service to be used can be worked out relatively easily based on the person needing to use the feature as well as the complexity of the problem or business process that is looking to be automated.
Design First Technologies
Code First Technologies
How to choose a service?
Microsoft have drawn up a relatively simple decision tree with some basic criteria in order to try and understand at a high level which feature should be utilised and when:
I have linked to the four services above and I highly recommend completing some of the MS Learn courses to further understand each of these technologies and how they help to automate your business processes.
I do hope this post has been useful for you, any questions then please do not hesitate to reach out to me and I will help as much as I can 🙂
My Main ReadMe Page is all set up with a bit about me!
The guys at 100DaysofCloud have set up the GitHub repo to be cloned and also have a great repo containing ideas and areas to collaborate on: https://github.com/100DaysOfCloud/100DaysOfCloudIdeas
My Github Journey tracker can be found here: https://github.com/jonnychipz/100DaysOfCloud
Please Watch/Star my repo and feel free to comment of contribute to anything I push! I really look forward to hearing from anyone who is going to jump on the journey around the same time as me! Lets see where I get to in 100 days!
I would encourage others to jump on this journey, I’m not sure that I will be able to commit every day for 100 days, but as long as I can complete 100 days that will be great!