Begineer to BizTalk Expert : Interview with Tord G Nordhal

Happy New Year to all and Welcome to the special 25th interview of the series, today's expert is Tord Glad Nordhal - who has been interviewed earlier before joining Microsoft, following is the link :

With a passion for Technology and specifically the cloud and its services Tord have acquired skills to be able to utilize the technologies that is provided out there. With the main focus of the product within the Microsoft Integration Stack. With experience within system architecture, solution architecture, and setting up and configuring large scale software for different clients worldwide,helping the customers to achieve more..

His current position requires him to have deep technical knowledge of BizTalk and Logic Apps, but most importantly what the customers expect and need to help them grow business, solutions running on-prem, hybrid or cloud. Tord held courses and been active with both online and offline communities within both BizTalk and Azure and have spoken at different events all over the world. He created products and methods as a system developer to increase productivity within the different technologies he has worked with and shared all these with the community. Sharing is caring!

Prior to the role in Microsoft TORD was awarded as MVP within the Microsoft Integration Stack.

Let's begin the interview.....

Mahesh:Who are you and what you do? When did you start working on BizTalk? 
Tord: I’m a family father of 4, I work as a Program Manager in Microsoft focusing on BizTalk. I started working with BizTalk way back and have worked with BizTalk versions from 2000 to our latest release BizTalk Server 2016

Mahesh:How did you mastered BizTalk (Learning path, amount of time)? 
Tord: I don’t know how much time I’ve spent learning BizTalk, but I found the product interesting and learned a lot around it. However I do love to share my findings with the community. Now as the Program Manager for BizTalk I continue my investment and passion for the product to build and make it better than it was, one of these things is to listen more to the community. We are coming out with a user voice page very soon to get more feedback from our customers, partners and community!

Mahesh: Which are the major projects you handled so far?
Tord: There are too many to mention and the too exiting ones I can’t talk too much about. However I’m more fan of listening to customers and partners (and this blog) to see what other people are using our product for. Understanding the stories around it helps us make it better.

Mahesh:How do you see BizTalk compare to other integration platform?
Tord: BizTalk is unique, both when it comes to the community and to the way it works. It’s a product that has been on the market for so many years that any child disease is gone. Customers are still investing in it and it plays a huge role to a lot of businesses around the world. Did you know that BizTalk has never shipped a security update? Not only that but with the unified story in the integration space at Microsoft we are even making a bigger effort. Logic App is our cloud iPaaS solution, very powerful and very easy to use, our on premise solution is BizTalk and we are heavily investing in both the products. API Management is also one of the products in our team, that can help us make a complete integration story both in the cloud and on premise.

Mahesh: What as per you is must to know to become an Integration(BizTalk) Expert?
Tord: Learn integration and understand why it’s so important to think one step ahead. No matter if you’re going to work on BizTalk or Logic apps (or any other) the mindset is the most important. Understanding the systems you’re communicating with is important. The other thing that I find very important is to always think that whatever I am making is going to run in production for a long time, and you need to make it perfect for a production scenario, no shortcuts!

Mahesh:What are your thoughts on forums,blogs and articles etc.?
Tord: So forums, blogs, articles, TN Wiki are all super important, this is where we share our knowledge (and where I spend a lot of my time looking for juicy information, like bugs, issues, concerns or even wishes for vNext). We reach out to people who have done different types of presentations or articles to get more information when we are interested in the feature (maybe for vNext). We are very proud of our community is huge, and the amount of data available is mind-blowing . I am very grateful for our community.

Mahesh:Your suggestion to a newcomers? What should be approach to get sound knowledge in BizTalk?
Tord: Read up and talk to the community, find your peers and mentors and start off with something simple.

Mahesh: There are many tools from community which support BizTalk in some or the other way(like BTDF, Bizunit etc), what do you say about it? Which ones you would recommend?Why?
Tord: I love when the community find ways to improve our product (in some areas so well that it blows us away). We got partners worldwide that make a living for themselves creating tools like BizTalk360, nSoftware etc. Although some of their products goes outside the area we’re focusing on we can see as the products get used heavily that there is a need for them. We appreciate any contributions customers, partners and FTEs (Full-time employees at Microsoft) do for our products. And we are more than eager to understand and help take this to the next step.

Mahesh:There are monitoring tools developed by other companies around BizTalk, is there any plan if Microsoft plans to acquire them and provide it out of box or any plans to develop monitoring tool?
Tord: No, there are no plans for this.

Mahesh:What are your thoughts around BizTalk certification?
Tord: BizTalk and integration in general has had a lack of certification the last releases. However I find that the tests are not mandatory (sadly you can go an buy all the answers a few days after we launch a new certificate). But I do think they can help you out to see where you should invest more time to learn more about our products, and understand more around them. And some customers do require certifications when they are looking for new vendors or partners.

Mahesh: Why certification around BizTalk is stopped?
Tord: Who said it stopped? We are working on something new but it will most likely be involving more the entire integration story, both on premise and in the cloud. However this is very time consuming and we have a strong focus on developing the products.

Mahesh:What is the future of BizTalk?
Tord: Brighter than ever I’d say. With the recent release of BizTalk Server 2016 release, and our continued investment and announcement of vNext, we are bringing the product one step further. We continue to state that our on-prem investment is to BizTalk Server while our cloud story is Logic apps and Enterprise Integration Pack.

Mahesh:No where it appears that Microsoft is focussing on BAM, ESB portal upgardation based on latest .Net version. What about supporting xslt 2.0?
Tord:So, we are looking into this to see how we can enhance these experiences. It’s not an easy job to pick the right paths to move towards, but we’re hoping to surprise you with some great features coming later.

Mahesh: Any thoughts on cloud, in particular Azure? 
Tord: For some companies this is the way going forward, the cloud is powerful and provides functionality you won’t be able to get on premise as easy as in the cloud. We also believe that in order to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more we need to be agile and provide first class services, both in the cloud and on premise.

Mahesh:You were MVP before joining Microsoft, do you feel that responsibilities get added when you are MVP? What is your thought on MVP now?
Tord: MVPs are awesome, it requires a lot of work that we cherish, coming from the MVP area myself. I know how important it is to stay on top of things and being aware of what is happening in the field and at Microsoft. We believe that if we can continue to add value to the MVP program by being open and sharing information you will get more out of it, we also like to get your feedback on how you think we are doing. We have started monthly PGIs with the MVPs.

Mahesh: As per the Roadmap provided by Microsoft,LogicApps can be run on-premise in addition to Azure.Do you think Azure Stack Logic Apps on prem will supersede BizTalk Server?
Tord: No, this is not right anymore. BizTalk Server will be our on premise integration technology going forward, Logic apps is our cloud offering.

Mahesh: From my perspective, Microsoft keeps coming up with Overlapping technologies like recent ones MABS and Logic Apps, in some situation it gets puzzling. What you say?(MABS seems to be dead)
Tord: Yes, the cloud is confusing, even with technologies like ServiceBus, Data Factory, Stream Analytics etc. However some of these may have overlapping features they are all individually unique. They are designed to do different tasks and to help you integrate your systems better.

Mahesh: Last question but not least, this question is been asked every now and then -- maximum messages in a second BizTalk can process/What is the maximum size supported (I know it depends on machine config), would be great to get stats from you both :).
Tord: It all depends on your setup and configuration, I’ve seen super-fast BizTalk Environments, and I’ve seen environments pup 100gb files through BizTalk, but I wouldn’t recommend that. There is not hard limit on either one of these.

Thanks a lot Tord for taking out time and sharing your insights,experiences and info around Microsoft future plans, this will surely benefit many !!!

Feel Free to ask questions to Tord in the comments!!!!!!!! 

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