Microsoft talks BizTalk 2009 and beyond

Microsoft is preparing a major release of BizTalk Server that will take advantage of functionality added to the company’s application platform stack since BizTalk Server 2003 R2 shipped.BizTalk Server 2009 will become generally available in the first half of 2009, said Burley Kawasaki, director of product management in the Connected Systems Division at Microsoft, and a Community Technology Preview will be release before the end of this year.Application platform support will be extended to the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and Windows Server 2008. BizTalk Server will take advantage of failover clustering features from Windows Server and will support Hyper-V, Microsoft’s hypervisor.Integration with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server adds ALM functions such as automated builds, bug tracking, source controls and multi-party development. The underlying BizTalk project system for Visual Studio will also be improved, the company says.The new features require Visual Studio 2008, said Kawasaki. “A lot of integration[s] we are doing builds on top of 2008 wave,” he added. What’s more, BizTalk will have out-of-the-box Business Activity Monitoring capabilities with SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services, as well as supporting Unified Dimensional Model cubes and real-time aggregations that are used in Microsoft’s PerformancePoint Server 2007 business intelligence product.“I believe the planned improvements that will become available in [BizTalk Server 2009] signal Microsoft's continuing intent to make this product a leading solution in the integration space, while ensuring that it's development is synchronized with other major initiatives inside of Microsoft. That's a good strategy,” said Ken Vollmer, a principal analyst for Forrester Research.Outside of the Microsoft stack and beyond the firewall, the 2009 release is slated to have a UDDI 3.0 registry that will provide for extended discovery services, registry affiliation, a subscription API and support for digital certificates for authentication.For business-to-business integrations, Microsoft is broadening its support for AS2 and EDI data sharing protocols. New capabilities will include support for multiple message attachments, configurable auto message resend and file name preservation.BizTalk Server 2009 updates all business rules and message schemas for compliance with the SWIFTReady Financial EAI Gold certification, increasing functionality as a result.The company also vows to offer broader guidance for applying Enterprise Service Bus usage patterns and other tasks.Inside the firewall, BizTalk will include implementations of more recent versions of CICS, CICS HTPP Transport, DB2, DB2/400, DB2 Universal Database, IMS and WebSphere MQ, according to Kawasaki.In addition, the company is developing a Line of Business Adapter for Oracle E-Business Suites and SQL Server, as well as improving its existing set of adapters, said Kawasaki. Adapters are available for MySAP ERP, Oracle Database and Siebel CRM business applications.The company is also updating BizTalk’s RFID standards support to adhere to industry standards, including LLRP, TDS, TDT and WS Discovery. Another standard, EPCIS, will not be fully implemented.Customers should expect a follow-up release within two years, Kawasaki noted. Microsoft will continue to update BizTalk to remain aligned with its application platform, he said. In the release beyond BizTalk 2009, Microsoft intends to collaborate with its research division to develop productivity enhancements like complex mapping, said Kawasaki. Other features will includes complex trading partner management, low-latency messaging enhancements and additional ESB guidance.Another goal is to extend the reach of BizTalk’s enterprise asset tracking to portable devices and laptops by leveraging its existing RFID platform.Customers will also be able to utilize its “Oslo” wave of modeling tools to create composite applications. Services exposed through Windows Communication Foundation by previous versions of BizTalk may also be used with Oslo modeling technologies, said Kawasaki.