BizTalk Server 2009 Value Proposition

BizTalk Server 2009 CTP is out together with its documentation. Looking at the information provided by compiled help file BizTalk Server 2009 product I did not feel that much had changed. So I looked at BizTalk value proposition section and gave some insight to what actually is new or more important why investments could be made in this upcoming edition of the product.

First thing that strikes me or could be viewed as obvious is the alignment with 2008 products: Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. BizTalk Server 2009 supports latest Microsoft platform technologies and that’s good, but it should have already been the case. Organizations nowadays might have to support more platforms. Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 for BizTalk Server 2006 (R2) and updated platform being Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008 for new development projects that need latest technologies embedded in that platform. Hopefully for next release of BizTalk Server the alignment will go faster or by then already has taken place (BizTalk vNext alignment with VS2010).

So one of the argument to invest in BizTalk Server 2009 is clear, though not strongest argument. I think alignment is great, but has a drawback as I already mentioned. Then there some other improvements that also can be brought in as an argument in favor of investments and that would be for instance enhancements in:

· AS2/EDI (B2B scenario’s);

· BAM (SQL Server 2008, some alignment here together with more BI functionality);

· Developer Productivity (debugging BizTalk Maps, pipeline components, and XLANG orchestrations together with unit testing in VSTS 2008 Test Edition, recoverable interchange support with disassembly (DASM), and WCF adapter has been enhanced to provide support for configurable transactions and the ability to choose the transaction isolation level in the WCF-Custom send adapter).

And the biggest improvement or at least one of the strongest arguments in my view is Application LifeCycle Management support. BizTalk Server 2009 provides I quote ‘support for Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server, and enables development teams to leverage the integrated source control, bug tracking, support for team development, integration with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, and support for automating builds by using MSBuild’. This is similar to how I think BizTalk applications should be developed and maintained (administration); see previous post. I even think that the way BizTalk is deployed has influence on eventual development of BizTalk.

BizTalk Server in my view can be positioned in three general solution scenario’s:

· Integration of applications (due to adapter technology);

· Support for services (i.e. Service Bus with ESB Guidance 1.0/2.0);

· Support for business processes management (i.e. collaboration with projects like IDS Sheer).

To give customers some guidance in architecting/deployment of BizTalk Server product inside Windows 2008 environment, development of solutions in Team Foundation Server/Visual Studio 2008, Testing and deployment patterns & practices should be provided. Something Microsoft will do and has done in past, currently and in the future. I myself am also working on some guidance. I will keep you posted on this endeavor.


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