First LEAP Masterclass

This week I had my first master class with the LEAP 2008 Program (see my previous posts). Subject was (de)coupling of enterprise systems. For preparation of this master class we had to read a couple of things, which I mentioned also in my previous post. First we had a presentation from Dik Bijl concerning LEAP introduction, goals, means and vision/mission/strategy from Microsoft for the coming years. LEAP program is around topics from ‘back to front’:

  • Restructure back office (Master class 1)

  • Access to information and services in the back office (Master class 2)

  • Provide scalable and reliable infrastructure for these services (Master class 3)

  • Secure access to information and services (Master class 4)

  • Support people in their jobs: anywhere & collaborate (Master class 5)


  • In short Microsoft vision is a global village and virtual enterprise, where people and information are its prime assets. Here there mission is to enable people and business throughout the world to realize their full potential. To fulfill this mission Microsoft provided a couple of strategic initiatives in the past, now and in the future like web services, trustworthy computing, dynamic systems initiative, new world of work, people ready and software plus services. The latter one is their new initiative, where Microsoft visions the world in a slow transformation from software to services. Both will be there, but there will software inside enterprises (controlled) and services that can be accessed from the cloud (not controlled).

    Second we had a presentation from Andre Hoekzema from Microsoft. He discussed during his presentation the following topics:

  • Layers of Service Oriented Architecture

  • Standardize on Service Oriented Communication

  • Service Oriented Infrastructure

  • Business Process Management (BPM)


  • I will summarize here what was being discussed:

    Layers of Service Oriented Architecture are presented below in two diagrams.











    Standardization of communication in service orientation concerns two fundamental aspects:

    - A common protocol for communication (WS-*)
    - A common foundation for creating service oriented applications (.NET Framework 3.0)

    Service Oriented Infrastructure a protocol like SOAP is not enough; hence there is no agreement on queued messages protocol or necessity for translation between different data formats or communication between applications that do not speak SOAP. Dominant technology for addressing these issues and providing infrastructure to enable service communication is Enterprise Service Bus. Here BizTalk Server comes into play. Microsoft position there Server Product also as a possible ESB and guidance can be found at codeplex.














    Finally BPM, where two views on the matter were discussed; Business view where business is viewed as a set of processes that can be explicitly defined, optimized, and management and a technical view where development uses software designed for creating, executing, and monitoring process logic. Core technologies are:

  • Workflow (Human and system)

  • Graphical tools for defining process

  • Integration technologies like adapters and message transformation

  • Business Rule engines (BRE)

  • Business Activity Monitoring


  • Microsoft provides in these technologies with BizTalk Server, .NET framework 3.0 and MOSS 2007.

    After the presentation the group of LEAP attendees, were divided into a couple of groups. Each group had to work on a case around the topic of decoupling of enterprise systems. Each group received the same case and had to present the solution architecture of the case to another group and vice-versa. The case handled about a bank that wanted to improve their mortgage request and contract process. Now it involved to much manual steps and mortgages could only be requested by mail, fax or email. Requests should also be possible through internet (online). In the process of requesting and contracting legacy systems like IBM AS400 and IBM zSeries where involved. In my group we created solution architecture (globally) were we position BizTalk Server 2006 to automate the process and provide communication between IBM and AS400 through adapters (HIS 2006). Online functionality is being provided through MOSS or Windows SharePoint Services. WCF services were being position for communication between front-end and process in BizTalk Server. Discussing the solution between different members inside the group was fun and interesting. After presentation to other group we had diner and went home with a copy of a new book written by Dik Bijl about service orientation and ICT (Dutch).

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