Microsoft Readies New Release of BizTalk Server With RFID Support

Server business process management

BizTalk Server 2006 R2 will provide native support for EDI and Applicability Statement 2 e-commerce communications protocols and will support RFID technology. The latter should provide channel partners with new RFID-related sales opportunities, said Steve Sloan, BizTalk Server senior product manager, at this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver. The new release also will be more tightly integrated with Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office. Pricing has been set at $35,000 per CPU for the enterprise edition and a flat $8,500 for the standard edition.

Microsoft said that more than 100 channel partners are participating in an early adopter program for the new release of BizTalk and more than 90 are using the software with RFID technology.

Microsoft also will bundle with R2 its "accelerators" or software that works with vertical industry document protocols such as HL7 and HIPAA in health care and RosettaNet in high-technology manufacturing. Previously the accelerators were sold separately with price tags as high as $20,000, Sloan said.

The new branch edition is designed to work with the enterprise edition in a hub-and-spoke manner. A company can install the branch edition in a distant warehouse to collect RFID data, for example, then communicate the information to a corporate hub.

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For six months after the product's availability Microsoft plans to offer a bundle of server products at a discounted price, including the BizTalk, SQL, and SharePoint servers, Visual Studio Team Systems and the .NET framework. Microsoft will also offer a developer version of BizTalk Server for $500 per processor.