Wednesday, October 03, 2012

BizTalk Community Series: Introducing Stuart Brierley‏

Last couple of weeks I have been preparing and giving talks on BizTalk Server in combination with Windows Azure Service Bus. The integration capabilities Microsoft provides on-premise and in the cloud are amazing and unique. There is no other vendor that has an integration infrastructure up in the cloud like the Service Bus. There are on-premise integration/messaging engines like BizTalk, however the number of adapters it offers has not been matched by any other. These are exciting times as Microsoft keeps innovating both BizTalk Server and Windows Azure Service Bus.

Today I am going to introduce you to another community member that has been contributing to the BizTalk community for quite some time through his blog. His name is Stuart Brierley and he works for Vasanta Group, the UK's largest supplier of office products, as a Systems Integration Specialist.

Stuart has worked with BizTalk Server for almost 10 years, working with many different versions of the product.  He started his involvement with BizTalk a few years after leaving University while working for Chelsea Building Society, a UK financial institution.  Initially Stuart was developing solutions using BizTalk 2000 which was replaced a couple of years later when migrating these existing systems over to BizTalk 2004.  He then spent the next few years of his time there working as a BizTalk specialist, architecting and developing solutions as a central part of the organization's IT infrastructure.   
 
Following this Stuart moved on to a "greenfield" BizTalk installation where he was the architect of a new installation of BizTalk 2009 for Clipper Group, the UK's leading provider of e-fulfillment services, working with some of the UK's largest retailers.    
 
Last year Stuart joined Vasanta Group, an existing user of BizTalk 2000 and 2006, for whom he oversaw the design and implementation of a new BizTalk 2010 installation. Currently Stuart is working on a major systems integration project where BizTalk Server 2010 is to be used as the hub connecting a large number of systems to a new Dynamics AX 2012 installation. This involves the architecting of a number of new BizTalk environments and the design and development of the BizTalk solutions that will help transform the business processes at Vasanta.  
 
Stuart has the following view on BizTalk:
 
"One of the things I like about working with BizTalk is that as well as understanding the core BizTalk product itself, you also need to build an understanding of all the systems and technologies that you need BizTalk to work with.  As such it is difficult to get bored working with BizTalk - it always offering a new challenge as technologies change around it. I have been fortunate enough to work alongside some very experienced and knowledgeable BizTalk specialists in my current role, which has definitely exposed me to new ideas and techniques, reaffirming the idea that there is always something new to learn with BizTalk!"

and on community

"Working with BizTalk you also come to realize the strength of the community that has built up around the product; bloggers posting articles to share interesting finds, developers sharing code and ideas on Codeplex or those helpful souls that populate the forums at MSDN, Stack Overflow or BizTalk Gurus.  As a BizTalk specialist you have to appreciate the effort that the community put into helping each other and the desire to push the product forwards."
 
Stuart thoughts on the evolution of BizTalk:
 
"I do think it is a shame that BizTalk itself has always followed behind the other major releases from Microsoft and it would be great to see it treated as a first class citizen and released alongside the latest versions of SQL and Visual Studio rather than some months later.  Hopefully in future releases this can be addressed and I am excited to see how the product develops into the world of Azure AppFabric and where it will take me in my continued career as an integration specialist."  

As the father of three young boys (age 1, 8 and 10) spare time is not something that Stuart has a lot of :)  He enjoys reading, listening to music, watching TV and Films, football (soccer), cycling...... too many things to fit into an average week! Most of all he enjoys spending time with his family, whether it be taking the older boys to their athletics/swimming/football (soccer)/gymnastics training, going for long tiring bicycle rides together with them and his wonderful wife or just relaxing and playing around the house.

Currently Stuart enjoys getting back into cycling with his thankfully enthusiastic family and he has always enjoyed playing football (soccer), but recently have found that he kept picking up injuries! He is a dedicated Manchester United fan:

"I am a life long supporter of Manchester United, a trait which I am pleased to say I have passed on to the rest of my family :)"

A cool soccer team as they have one of finest striker couple in the world: Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

A final word from Stuart towards the BizTalk community:

"I would like to say thank you to all those who have read and commented on any of my blog posts in the past, I am always pleased when anyone else finds them useful.  I don't post as often as I would like, but thanks for reading when I do."
 
and to me:
 
"Also, a big thanks to Steef-Jan for featuring me on your introducing series and for all the work you do in the BizTalk community."

Thanks Stuart for your time and contributions!

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