BizTalk 2004 Coming, But the Rest of 'Jupiter' is Dead

The availability of Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 at the beginning of next month will mark the end of Microsoft's once-grand "Jupiter" project.

Back in October 2002, Microsoft unveiled a two-part program to roll together three of its enterprise servers -- BizTalk Server, Commerce Server and Content Management Server. At the time, Microsoft said Jupiter would help businesses by bringing the three e-business servers into a unified environment.

Publicly, Microsoft always planned to do Jupiter in two steps -- the first step consisting of an overhaul of BizTalk Server and the second step being an integrated product that would include Commerce Server and Content Management Server.

The first public sign of trouble out by the fifth planet came in June 2003, when Microsoft publicly delayed its timetable, which had originally called for a 2003 release of Phase I -- or Voyager -- and a 2004 release of Phase II -- or Discovery. But at TechEd 2003, Microsoft disclosed the whole project had been pushed back by a year, with Voyager/Phase I/BizTalk Server coming out in 2004 and Discovery/Phase II coming in 2005.

The death knell for Phase II came last month in an e-mail to BizTalk customers and partners from Microsoft vice president Ted Kummert. "We will not deliver a single Jupiter sku in the 2004/2005 timeframe," Kummert wrote.

Putting the best possible spin on the decision, Kummert continued, "Changing the packaging strategy does not in any way change our goals for interoperability between our portal and integration technologies … Moving forward, the Jupiter vision will be realized through the Windows Server System, an effort that aims to better integrate all of our server technologies."

But throughout his e-mail, Kummert acknowledges feedback that customers found little benefit to the combination. In fact, customers appear to have pushed Microsoft to the more sensible pairing of Content Management Server with Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server.

"You've made it clear that you want best of breed portal technology that is architecturally unified and brings together the technologies in SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) and Content Management Server (CMS)," Kummert wrote. "To address this feedback, we unified the SPS and CMS organizations to ensure a more concerted approach to building portal technologies."

Click here to read the full text of Kummert's letter to customers.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.