Microsoft set to ship BizTalk Server 2006

Microsoft Monday completed development of BizTalk Server 2006 and said the software would be generally available in the coming weeks.

With BizTalk’s “release to manufacturing” or RTM, which is when Microsoft is done with the code and begins to burn it onto CD’s for distribution, Microsoft is completing a roll out of three pieces of software it has pitched as the foundation of a business application platform. The other two are Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, which were released last fall under the billing as Microsoft’s most important releases of the year.

Microsoft hopes the close integration of the three products, and other software in its platform lineup, will allow it to raise its reputation in the corporate data center and become the platform for critical corporate programs such as trading floor applications.

The release of BizTalk 2006 also comes in the exact timeframe laid out last fall, which is a breath of fresh air after last week when Microsoft announced delays in its two most important products for this year — Vista and Office 2007.

BizTalk 2006 is designed to connect applications within defined business processes and to manage and monitor business processes across a network.

The software’s developer tools have been incorporated into Visual Studio 2005 and now support the .Net Framework 2.0.

SQL Server 2005 servers as the back-end storage for BizTalk 2006, which can run on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.

BizTalk Server also includes free application connectors Microsoft acquired from iWay Software, including those for PeopleSoft, JD Edwards OneWorld XE and Enterprise1, Oracle Application Suite, Oracle database connector, Siebel, TIBCO Rendezvous and EMS, Mainframe Applications through Microsoft Host Integration Server, IBM DB2, Mainframe Files, POP3, Windows SharePoint Services and SQL.

Also new in BizTalk Server 2006 is integration with Microsoft Operations Manager 2005, which provides a single management console for managing and monitoring the health of BizTalk Server.

Also new is a developer tool focused on deployment that lets developers pull operations such as business rules, orchestration schedules, maps and message pipelines together into a single unit and reuse it when building and modifying business processes.

“You can change your business rule associated with multiple processes without having to recompile your code,” says Steve Martin, director of product management for BizTalk.

BizTalk Server 2006 comes with a Business Activity Monitoring portal, which will compare in real-time the health of business processes against preset key performance indicators such as how long it takes to turn around orders. Microsoft also has added an alerting feature that provides notification when a process strays out of the boundaries of the key performance indicators.

The Enterprise Edition of BizTalk Server is priced at US$30,000 per processor and the Standard Edition is $8,500 per processor. A Developer Edition is $500 per developer or is included with a Universal subscription to Microsoft Developer Network.

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