Mexia was not only a major sponsor of the Brisbane and Melbourne locations for the first ever Global Integration Bootcamp, but it also contributed five speakers and the organiser of the Brisbane event!

Last Saturday I had the great privilege of not only organising but also speaking at the first ever Global Integration Bootcamp in Brisbane. This was a free one-day deep dive event where participants had the opportunity to get some hands-on experience with Microsoft’s integration technologies in both the cloud and on-premises. Hybrid connectivity was a prominent theme throughout the day, with the segment on BizTalk Server 2016 concentrating on the ability to bridge Azure hosted Logic Apps with LOB systems within the corporate network.

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“Global” really does mean global, as sixteen locations in twelve countries around the globe participated in the same event on the same day. Given the range of time zones this meant that the event actually spanned almost thirty hours starting with Auckland, New Zealand and finishing up with Seattle in the USA. Of the sixteen locations, three of them were hosted in Australia alone, with Bill Chesnut running the Melbourne event, Rene Brauwer organising the Sydney event, and myself leading the Brisbane event. 

Of course, an event of this scale takes more than just a few local organisers – it involves coordinated efforts led by a team of volunteers around the globe who donated countless hours of their time to arrange logistics, establish a common communication platform (Slack), publish details in a central website, and hand-write the five distinct labs that formed the focus of the event. A huge shout-out to Martin Abbott, Glenn Colpaert, Steef-Jan Wiggers, Tomasso Groenendijk, Eldert Grootenboer , Sven van den Brande, Gjis In ‘t Veld and Rob Fox for their mammoth efforts:

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Whilst the agenda varied from one location to another (each local group had the freedom to choose their content), the general concentration was on the labs and providing attendees the opportunity to get their “hands dirty” – since this is always the best way to learn. The speakers and other designated experts were on hand to help out and provide guidance wherever people needed it.  Here is the Brisbane agenda:

Time Slot Topic Speaker
08:30 - 08:45 Light Breakfast -
08:45 - 09:15 API Management + API Apps
( slides )
Ashley Knowles
09:15 - 10:30 Lab 1 + morning tea -
10:30 - 11:00 Service Bus + Enterprise Integration Pack + On-Prem Gateway
( slides | video )
Dan Toomey
11:00 - 13:00 Lab 2 + lunch -
13:00 - 13:30 Logic Apps + BizTalk 2016 (Hybrid Integration)
( slides | video )
Dan Toomey
13:30 - 15:00 Lab 3 -
15:00 - 15:30 Logic Apps (cloud adapters) + Azure Functions + Azure Storage
( slides | video )
Dan Toomey
15:30 - 16:30 Lab 4 + afternoon tea -
16:30 - 17:00 Service Fabric
( slides )
Lee Simpson
17:00 - 18:00 Lab 5 (Optional) -


Quite a full day and an ambitious schedule, to be sure! Still, we managed to run relatively close to on time, finishing up at 6:00pm with Lee Simpson’s excellent walk-through of provisioning a Service Fabric cluster and deploying a sample application. In fact, all three speakers from Mexia delivered high quality presentations that prepared delegates for the following lab exercise. Although some slides were shared by Microsoft and other speakers around the world, each of us was responsible for putting together our own presentation. A big thanks to Lee & Ashley for stepping up and volunteering their time and expertise! Please take a few moments to peruse the slides and videos using the links in the table above.

I must say that I was most impressed by how well prepared all of the attendees were, having following the extensive and detailed pre-requisite steps before arriving. This not only ensured that they were able to complete most of the labs within the allotted time, but also prevented saturating the WiFi network at the Microsoft venue with everyone having to download content at once. I also want to thank Bill Chesnut for allowing us to use half a dozen of his 39 virtual machine instances which he hosted on his personal server, providing remote access to a pre-built BizTalk Server 2016 image for those people who were unable to host the provided image on their local machine. Bill & myself spent a great deal of time between us building and configuring this image so that users would have an “on-premises” environment with which to execute the labs.

It was amazing to see all of the buzz going around the world as each location posted pictures and statuses on Twitter using the designated “#gib2017” hashtag. The level of collaboration and sharing highlights how close-knot the integration community is around the world – you can always count on finding help when you need it!  I think Tord Glad Nordahl from the product team sums it up pretty well in his tweet:

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In addition to thanking the speakers and all of the dedicated participants who gave up their Saturday to learn about integration, I’d like to thank our sponsors Microsoft and Mexia. Microsoft provided the venue for free, which is quite a big thing when commercial venues quote several thousand dollars for a Saturday event! Special thanks to Megan Mallin from the DX team who secured the necessary cost centre code for running the A/C and paying the cleaners. In addition, the Pro-Integration team in Redmond sent through some t-shirts and stickers, as well as producing an introductory video. Also Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Architect Dale Austin hung out the entire day serving as our host. And a HUGE thank-you to Mexia for a generous grant that not only covered the excellent catering by Simply Fresh, but also funded other ancillary expenses. Mexia also donated a variety of nifty swag, which was well-appreciated by the lucky recipients. And on top of that, Mexia also contributed funds to the Melbourne event, and five speakers as well between the two locations – all three of the Brisbane speakers plus Tanvir Chowdhury and Paco del la Cruz speaking in Melbourne!

Here are a few pics from the Brisbane event:

Ashley   Dan-BizTalk 

HardAtWork   Lee_ServiceFabric2

To encapsulate the excitement of this event, Rob Fox has put together this awesome video:

 

You can also read some other blog posts about the event by Saravana Kumar and Eldert Grootenboer as well, both of which provide some perspective on the challenges of organising an event of this scale.

Given the success of this event around the world, I think we can definitely count on there being a #gib2018!