Microsoft In Development on BizTalk Server 2010 R2
Microsoft announced that it plans a Release 2 version of BizTalk Server 2010. The company didn't provide details on the timing of the release, but a BizTalk Server team blog post indicated that R2 would appear "approximately 6 months following the release of Windows Server 8." Microsoft recently indicated that it will release a beta of Windows 8 in late February. IDC predicts a Windows 8 product release sometime in the second quarter of 2012.
Microsoft will improve the product's business-to-business capabilities and cloud integration with the R2 release, according to the blog. When released, BizTalk Server 2010 R2 is expected to be capable of working with Windows Server 8, SQL Server 2012 and Visual Studio 11 -- products not released yet. Those using BizTalk Server 2010 will be able to carry out an "in-place migration" to the R2 product, the blog suggests.
The R2 product will facilitate IBM DB2 client connections with Microsoft SQL Server. In addition, the R2 product will enable adapter connections to "IBM Informix V11 and IBM IMS/DB V11."
Improved integration with the Windows Azure Service Bus is being promised with the R2 release. However, that seems to have been a long-promised goal, going back to the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference of 2009, when Microsoft described using AppFabric for the purpose. In an October 2010 blog post, Microsoft promised to unveil a preview of an "Azure-based integration service" sometime this year. So far, that preview apparently has not been released. The release-to-manufacturing version of BizTalk Server 2010 lacked integration with Windows Azure because of AppFabric communication issues.
Licensing changes are ahead with BizTalk Server 2010 R2 that would let users access BizTalk services from hosting providers. Microsoft plans to issue Services Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) licenses for the R2 product. Possibly, some sort of "licensing mobility" will be allowed. Microsoft introduced the licensing mobility concept in March as a way for its volume licensing customers with Software Assurance to use hosting services but still retain their Software Assurance benefits.
Microsoft describes BizTalk Server as an "integration and connectivity server." It can be used to tie together business processes that depend on disparate software solutions. It's middleware that acts like an enterprise messaging bus in service-oriented architecture scenarios.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.