#IoT2CRM: Alternatives for the gateway – BizTalk, we meet again….

In my previous article, I mentioned that I would try to set up the gateway between the IoT world and Dynamics CRM using real integration products. The products that I intended to use were Microsoft BizTalk 2013 and Neuron ESB. So far so good, I’ve set up a new integration environment using Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, Dynamics CRM 2015 and BizTalk Server 2013 Enterprise edition. Setting up BizTalk is not for the faint hearted among us, tons and tons of settings and accounts need to be configured in order to get the thing up and running. One evening later and we are good to go.

Houston, we might have a problem!

Now that BizTalk has been set up, where to start? For starters, BizTalk can be really intimidating.. It’s nature – the universal connector – is really technical. Technical in a way, that you have to work with it on a frequent basis to be comfortable. If you pick up BizTalk after some period of time, you feel you have to master the art all over again… That’s where I’m right now. So before jumping in, I need to go back to the drawing board and specify exactly what I want to achieve. In the #IoT2CRM articles I implemented the gateway, using C#. The gateway was built in two parts:

  • Web API Controller: this was the receiver of the incoming messages
  • Dispatcher: this was the asynchronous sender of the outgoing Entities to CRM


I want to use the same principle as well in the BizTalk scenario. First I need to focus on the incoming messages. I need to be able to hook up the IoT devices to a REST service provided by BizTalk. If possible I want this REST service to be created without having to write it myself in C#, I want to configure it. To be honest… I have never done this before. This is what I need to investigate (a little bit of help is appriciated  ).

Initial goal

In order to be able to build the BizTalk gateway, my first focus will be creating a BizTalk version of the Web API Controller. Luckily, I found a good tutorial on Microsoft Technet ”BizTalk Server 2013: How to publish a REST web service with POST”. I’ll use this tutorial to build the incoming message collection functionality. Once the messages have been picked up by BizTalk, I hope my life will become a little bit easier. On the other hand, I never said it was going to be an easy journey…