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Integration Has Come a Long Way with Azure Logic Apps

Every business with more than one enterprise or server-based application reaches a point when integration between their systems and data becomes important. In its simplest forms, integration may entail email-based messages from one system to another, data extracts and loads, or use of vendor-supplied connectors purpose built for specific use cases. As business requirements outgrow basic methods, more complex integrations typically call for custom development, sophisticated integration tools, or more often, both. Fortunately, as more applications have moved to the cloud, so have integration tools. And as enterprises of all sizes re-evaluate their integration topologies, the market has driven the quality of tools up, and the price, in some cases, down. One such tool, from Microsoft, is Azure Logic Apps.

Logic Apps provides a purely linear usage-based and transparent pricing model. To give an example of how this works out, consider a set of integrations with a monthly usage of 20 million “actions” (workflow steps), of which 500 thousand are also “standard connectors” and 500 thousand are “enterprise connectors” (in other words, 20 workflow steps to every 1 callout to an external system). Even a moderately large use case such as this works out to only $1,063 per month. Many use cases will cost well under $100 per month.

I come from a background using last generation on-premise tools such as BizTalk, Software AG’s WebMethods, and the older on-premise TIBCO platform. All the modern cloud solutions I’ve tried so far are a huge step forward in simplicity. However, some take simplicity so far as to constrain capabilities and in-depth troubleshooting. Others are priced extraordinarily high. In my assessment of many of the top players in the space, Logic Apps provides a great balance between ease-of-use and technical depth, while rema