Coming Soon: BizTalk 2009 CTP

Microsoft prepares to release BizTalk Server 2009 and will release BizTalk Server 7, its next-generation SOA solution, next year.

Microsoft is readying a test release of the next version of BizTalk Server, the company's Web services integration platform.

Previously referred to as BizTalk Server 2006 R3, the company last month said the product will be called BizTalk Server 2009. The company has already issued a controlled community technology preview (CTP), with the broader CTP likely to appear this fall, according to Oliver Sharp, Microsoft's general manager for BizTalk Server, who issued statements on the new BizTalk release.

In addition to BizTalk Server 2009, Microsoft says it's already developing its next-generation service-oriented architecture (SOA) solution. Microsoft plans to release more information on that solution, called BizTalk Server 7, early next year.

Anticipating 'Oslo'
Jason Bloomberg QuoteBizTalk Server will benefit from Microsoft's "Oslo" project, the company's yet-to-be-released visual-modeling solution that's intended to simplify the building of .NET applications. Users of the current BizTalk Server 2006 R2 version will be able to use Oslo to migrate services into composite applications, according to Sharp.

BizTalk Server 2009 will take advantage of Microsoft's latest releases, including .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008. BizTalk also works with Microsoft's Windows Communication Foundation, which Sharp helped develop.

SOA or Not?
Longtime SOA observer Jason Bloomberg, managing partner of the consultancy ZapThink LLC, notes that the latest BizTalk Server will enable Web services integration with improved support for the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration standard, a registry that provides the schema for finding and invoking Web services.

However, Bloomberg questions whether BizTalk Server 2009 will emerge as a true SOA solution. "Microsoft is moving away from SOA, not toward it," he says. "BizTalk is an integration tool that leverages Web services for standards-based integration, but offers little that helps organizations build the flexible services that form the core of a true SOA implementation."

BizTalk Server 2009 at a Glance
  • Community technology preview is imminent; release to manufacturing is set for 1H 2009
  • Leverages .NET 3.5 and 2008 Server and tools releases
  • Improved Universal Description, Discovery and Integration standard Web services support
  • Adapters to third-party systems planned

BizTalk points to the Microsoft and .NET stack, but it's more focused on Web services, "which have little if anything to do with SOA," Bloomberg says.

BizTalk Server 2009 will aim for some product interoperability beyond just Microsoft's stack. It will include adapters for the Oracle E-Business Suite, and it will integrate with IBM's MQ messaging system, CICS-based applications and IMS databases.

Microsoft says it has more than 8,200 BizTalk customers, with more than 1,500 partners supporting BizTalk globally. The customer base has doubled over the last four years, according to the company.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at

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