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Microsoft Announces BizTalk Server Update

The upcoming release improve's the product's business-to-business capabilities and cloud integration.

Microsoft is planning to release an updated version of its BizTalk Server 2010 about 6 months after Windows Server 8 is released, the company announced last week.

The upcoming release improves the product's business-to-business capabilities and cloud integration, according to a BizTalk Server team blog post. BizTalk Server 2010 R2 is expected to support next generation products including Windows Server 8, SQL Server 2012 and Visual Studio 11. Developers 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."

The exact timing of the new release wasn't described, but the BizTalk Server team indicated that the R2 product would appear "approximately 6 months following the release of Windows Server 8." While Microsoft hasn't disclosed when Windows Server 8 will be released, the expectation is that it will be timed close to the release of Windows 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, but no later than August. If so, then BizTalk Server 2010 R2 might be expected to appear as early as October 2012 or as late as February 2013.

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.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.

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