Sunday, August 14, 2016

Begineer to BizTalk Expert : Interview with Salvatore Pellitteri

Welcome to 22nd  interview of the series, today's expert is Salvatore Pellitteri.

He is Developer Team Manager in Microsys Srl. He works on integration application projects using BizTalk Server and on business intelligence projects using SQL Server platform.

Salvatore works with BizTalk Server since the first version and has worked in many big integration project with several Italian enterprise organizations using many technologies like SAP, Oracle, SQL Server, AS400, J.D. Edwards and HL7.

This year he has obtained the second Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award for BizTalk Server.

Let's begin the interview.....

Mahesh: Who are you and what you do? When did you start working on BizTalk? 
Salvatore: I am Salvatore Pellitteri, I live in Italy near Milan. I have a beautiful wife two wonderful children.I work for more than twenty years as a computer consultant. My company is Microsys and I am developer team manager.
I deal with application integration projects, data integration, data platform and business intelligence.In 2002, my boss told me that I had to follow an integration project between SAP and MSMQ with BizTalk Server. Biz what? I asked. Should be an Enterprise Application Integration platform. He replied. In short, so I started. What I remember is that I had to study really so much.

Mahesh: How did you mastered BizTalk (Learning path, amount of time)? 
Salvatore: It is difficult to say how much I had to study. During the first project I had to read a lot of documentation and I did extensive testing with my colleagues before we get to understand how it worked. A few years later I read the book by Dan Rosanova that made me understand how BizTalk works. It was enlightening. Later I started to read many articles, blogs, by Sandro Pereira, Michael Stephenson, Paolo Salvatori. Then I worked for about two years with Nino Crudele from which I learned a lot. So every experience gave me something. I can tell you that I started to study in 2002, I do not know when I'll finish.

Mahesh: Which are the major projects you handled so far?
Salvatore: Well, I can think of a project where I had to integrate the Italian public authority of the energy production with power generation systems.
It was really interesting because of the criticality of the process. Every application system was new for me so I think it was a great challenge.
Another nice project was to implement a true enterprise service bus for a large company that produces and distributes fuels.
The interesting thing was to have integrated many very different systems with each other and created a set of efficient and homogeneous communications.
Another great experience was to have integrated an order management system, that generates orders by an Internet portal, with an automated warehouse.
In a few seconds, the user confirms an order, the message is communicated to the warehouse that assembles the package and in a few minutes is ready for shipment.
This looks like a simple process, instead is definitely a series of activities and controls that make the process really critical and complex.

Mahesh: How do you see BizTalk compare to other integration platform?
Salvatore: BizTalk is the best !!! No, I am joking. Really I don't know, I don't be able to compare BizTalk with other product or maybe I don't want to do that.

Mahesh: What as per you is must to know to become an Integration(BizTalk) Expert?
Salvatore: You have to be curious. It is simple. You must have the desire to understand how an application system works, even if you do not know that system, you have to learn what are its interfaces and what is the best way to use them.
In addition to this you have to like to know the functional processes and not just the technical aspects. We can not develop good communication if you do not know the subject. What kind and when an information should be exchanged.

Mahesh: What are your thoughts on forums,blogs and articles etc.?
Salvatore: When I started doing this job there was nothing like this. The systems were much simpler and it was very hard to understand things. Today I think that is not possible doing my job without having the support of articles and blogs.

Mahesh: Your suggestion to a newcomers? What should be approach to get sound knowledge in BizTalk?
Salvatore: Read the book by Dan. J

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?
Salvatore: There isn't one in particular that I recommend. I use a lot the "BizTalk Mapper Extensions UtilityPack", but over time I gathered a library of components that I use frequently.
The important thing is that when you start a project you have clear what are your tools.

Mahesh: What are your thoughts around BizTalk certification?
Salvatore: I think that Microsoft in recent years has lost interest in creating a certification path for BizTalk.

Mahesh: What is the future of BizTalk?
Salvatore: Good question. I think that Microsoft might want a unified integration platform that covers your needs on-premises and on the cloud. How and when it will get I do not know.

Mahesh: Any thoughts on cloud? What motivates you to do the community work?
Salvatore: The cloud is the future. I don't think it's anything to think about. I am sure that the community is going in that direction and soon you will see even more noticeable results.

Mahesh: Being MVP, do you feel that responsibilities get added? What is your thought on MVP?
Salvatore: Being MVP, gives you a way to be closer to the community, but also the responsibility to be a reference person. Being part of a community means contributing, then take part of events, write articles and all this takes time.
Also change people's expectations. From an MVP, you expect much more and this leads you to try to give something more.

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?
Salvatore: Let's say that when I talked about a unified integration platform was referring precisely to Logic Apps. But then again, it is my thought and not what I know that Microsoft will do.

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?
Salvatore: I think that MABS is died. Microsoft is doing evolve Logic Apps and that is the direction to take.

Thanks a lot Salvatore for sharing your insights and experiences, this will surely benefit many !!!

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

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