Microsoft: Scoop On BizTalk Server 2009

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As it has done with some of its other products, Microsoft is committing to a regular and more transparent development schedule for BizTalk Server, said Burley Kawasaki, product management director for Microsoft's Connected Systems Division. Microsoft wants to fall into a "rhythm of releases" for BizTalk Server, delivering a major upgrade every two years as it plans to do with Windows Server and other products. "We're trying to be more predictable for our enterprise customers," Kawasaki said.

Microsoft has begun planning for the product release that follows BizTalk Server 2009, code-named "BizTalk Server 7," Kawasaki said, and will start providing customers and channel partners with information about that release early next year. Priorities for that and future generations of the product include more tools for enterprise connectivity, support for the latest capabilities in the Windows platform such as messaging and workflow, and improved visibility throughout a business for such applications as business intelligence and asset tracking.

Enhancements and new capabilities offered in BizTalk Server 2009 generally revolve around improved enterprise connectivity, expanded platform support and improved developer productivity, Kawasaki said. "It's a pretty full release. It helps reinforce the focus on enterprise connectivity."

BizTalk Server 2009 will support Microsoft's new wave of platform systems including Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and .Net Framework 3.5, as well as supporting Microsoft's new Hyper-V server virtualization software. Managing the life cycle of applications developed for BizTalk will be easier with a new release of ESB Guidance 2.0 patterns and practices.

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The new software will offer improved connectivity both inside and outside the firewall through a new UDDI v3-compliant services registry; new and enhanced line-of-business adapters for SQL Server, Oracle's E-Business Suite and other applications; enhanced integration with host systems such as IBM WebSphere MQSeries and CICS; and a new mobile RFID platform. The software will also provide enhanced business-to-business capabilities with updates to its EDI, AS2 and SWIFT protocols.