BizTalk Server 2009 on the Way

The 1,500 partners worldwide that implement and support Microsoft BizTalk Server will soon be able to work with a new version of the service-oriented architecture (SOA) solution: BizTalk Server 2009 is scheduled for availability in the first half of 2009.

The new product will be a full upgrade to BizTalk Server 2006 R2. More than 8,200 business customers use BizTalk for enterprise connectivity, according to Microsoft.

At press time in early October, a community technology preview of the next BizTalk Server product was available only to "select customers," Oliver Sharp, general manager for Microsoft's Connected Server team, said in a press release. But he added that Microsoft plans to offer a more widespread preview before the calendar year's end, and he urged customers and partners to participate and provide feedback.

One element expected to enhance BizTalk is Microsoft's "Oslo" project, a yet-to-be-released visual modeling solution that may simplify life for architects and developers. Users of the current BizTalk Server 2006 R2 version will be able to use Oslo "to leverage and compose [their] services into new composite applications," according to Sharp.

The Cost of Creating a Services Giant

About three weeks after closing the $13.9 billion purchase of EDS Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. dropped the other shoe in mid-September by revealing the scale of the layoffs involved in a deal that's been billed as the largest-ever IT acquisition by value:

24,600 Number of employees worldwide who will lose their jobs due to restructuring

12,300 Maximum number of U.S. jobs lost

12,300 Approximate number of jobs that HP expects to add in the next three years to create a global work force with the "right blend of services-delivery capabilities"

$1.8 billion Estimated annual cost savings attributed to restructuring

$1.7 billion Fourth-quarter charge that HP plans to take relating to restructuring

$38 billion HP's estimate for the combined revenue of EDS and HP's services arms from each company's 2007 fiscal year


He also emphasized BizTalk Server's integration with the overall Microsoft stack. In particular, BizTalk Server 2009 will take advantage of .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008. BizTalk also works with Microsoft's Windows Communication Foundation, a SOA programming model that Sharp helped develop.

Longtime SOA observer Jason Bloomberg, managing partner of the Baltimore, Md.-based ZapThink LLC consulting firm, says the latest BizTalk Server will enable Web services integration with better universal description, discovery and integration support. However, he adds this caveat: "Make no mistake-Microsoft is moving away from SOA, not toward it," he says. "Furthermore, when Microsoft talks about 'real-world SOA,' what they really mean is Web services integration that leverages the Microsoft architecture, which has little, if anything, to do with SOA."

BizTalk Server 2009 will also offer improved interoperability with some non-Microsoft products, the company said. It will include adapters for the Oracle E-Business Suite and will integrate with IBM's MQ messaging system, CICS application servers and IMS database management system.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has begun planning for its next-generation SOA solution, according to Sharp. Look for more information on BizTalk Server 7 in early 2009.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.