Microsoft Boosts SOA with BizTalk Server 2009 Release

Microsoft released its BizTalk Server 2009 enterprise application integration platform.

Microsoft released its BizTalk Server (BTS) 2009 enterprise application integration platform. The new release offers broader connectivity for those building enterprise services-oriented architectures and extended integration with the company's development and tooling environments.

The company had said it would ship BTS 2009 in the first half of this year when it issued the beta in December 2008. It is the sixth version since its release in 2000 and replaces BTS 2006, which was released about two years ago.

For developers, BTS 2009 now ties to Visual Studio 2008 Team Foundation Server. It offers integrated debugging, unit testing, support for automated builds, integrated source code control and bug tracking, said Darrell Cavens, Microsoft's BizTalk director of product management.

"With this release, the improved with Visual Studio integration will make it very easy for developers that are working in other applications and need to integrate with other systems to use all the benefits and adaptors and connectivity available in BizTalk within the tools they are used to using," Cavens said.

The VSTS 2008 integration should be welcome to those looking to tie BizTalk development into their overall application lifecycle management (ALM), said Forrester Research analyst Ken Vollmer in an e-mail exchange. "I see this as a key enhancement in that ALM features are now tied into the larger .NET environment," Vollmer said. "This will be well-received in shops where BizTalk development needs to be tied closer to .NET development activities."

Some 8,500 enterprises are using BizTalk, Vollmer said. "BTS 2009 compares favorably with other advanced integration tools, especially for Microsoft shops," he said, but noted that its most significant shortcoming is the lack of a graphical environment. "There are some features to support this in BTS 2009, but more functionality is needed to make this an effective IDE," he said.

In addition to improving the development environment, Microsoft is also targeting the new release at larger-scale enterprise SOA via the extended connectivity. "We've put a substantial set of investments around broadening our connectivity story," Cavens said. Included in that story are new adaptors for the most recent AS2 standards for Internet-based EDI connectivity, support for version 3 of the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) specification, the OASIS standard for registering and discovering Web services.

Also included with Microsoft's BizTalk upgrade is its Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Guidance 2.0 documentation and improved messaging and Web services integration through Microsoft's Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) adaptor, Microsoft said. In the core engine, Microsoft said the new server offers extended caching and expanded support for various messaging and directory protocols including LDAP and SMTP.

Microsoft also has added connectivity to enterprise systems with the new BizTalk Adaptor Pack 2.0, which provides integration with Oracle's E-Business Suite and the most recent version of Microsoft's SQL Server 2008. It also includes BizTalk Adaptors for Host Systems 2.0, which include the WCF Channel for IBM WebSphere MQ and the WCF Service for Host Applications, which are based on Microsoft's Transaction Integrator.

The adaptors offer support for the most recent versions of IBM's CICS, IMS, CICS HTTP transport, DB2 and DB2 Universal Database. Also included are performance improvements to Transaction Integrator, which now has a fully managed runtime and offers the extended data conversions, Microsoft said.

For its own platforms, Microsoft said in addition to the VSTS and SQL Server 2008 support, BizTalk Server is now tuned for Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft's Hyper-V virtual machine. "Customers can now run unlimited virtualized instances of BizTalk Server, Cavens said.

Some other new features to BTS 2009 include extended business activity monitoring through linkage to Microsoft's Office Business Intelligence tools, including support for Microsoft's Unified Dimensional Model (UDM) cubes in SQL Server Analysis Services. Also, Microsoft is promoting the new BizTalk Server release for RFID applications.

The new release is available today for those with MSDN subscriptions and Microsoft's Software Assurance licenses. For others, it will be available May 1.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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