Azure moves fast. Azure Relay Hybrid Connections was announced on November 1st and I'm just catching up with it now.
Azure Relay Hybrid Connections does not depend upon BizTalk and does not replace Hybrid Connections.
Differences between Hybrid Connections and Azure Relay Hybrid Connections:
- Hybrid Connections
- Only available in the old Azure portal (
- Uses BizTalk on the Azure side
- Uses a proprietary communications protocol
- Requires you to download and configure the Hybrid Connections Manager
- Relay Hybrid Connections
- Only available in the new Azure portal ()
- Does not use BizTalk on the Azure side
- Built on HTTPS and Websockets. The protocol is open and fully documented
- No client-side "connections manager" required - use the API with an Azure relay namespace
- Supports SAS keys
- Support for multiple code bases and platforms (a node sample is also available)
- Can be used in a production environment for simple point-to-point connectivity.
People adopting Relay Hybrid Connections should follow well-known best practices for working with web sockets (e.g. periodic pinging and aggressive reconnecting as necessary).
See here for a simple example of Azure Relay Hybrid Connections.