Will Dublin Replace BizTalk?
Among many pressing questions that came up at last month's Professional Developers
Conference (PDC) was whether Microsoft's new Dublin app server extensions will
replace BizTalk Server. Microsoft says that's not the plan but it is important
to understand what Dublin is.
Microsoft released the first CTP of its new distributed application server
extensions to Windows Server, code-named Dublin, at PDC. Microsoft first disclosed
its plans to build these extensions in concert with the introduction of its
new modeling platform, code-named Oslo, last
According to Microsoft, Dublin will incorporate key components of the new .NET
Framework 4.0 -- specifically the second iterations of Windows Communications
Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). In addition to improving
scalability and manageability, Microsoft said it will allow Windows IIS to function
as a host for apps that use workflow or communications.
I attended a session at PDC that outlined Dublin, where Product Unit Manager
Dan Eshner explained where Dublin fits. In short, if the modeling tool called
Quadrant in Oslo lets developers create models or domain-specific languages
(DSLs), think of Dublin as one deployment repository for those models. Dublin
is scheduled to ship roughly three months after Visual Studio 2010, Eshner said,
and will initially extend Windows Server, though it will ultimately be built
into future versions of the platform.
"Dublin really is a hosting environment for WF and WCF services,"
Eshner said. The goal, he added, was to take the heavy lifting and skill requirements
out of invoking WCF and WF services. "You can make these services work
without Dublin, you just got to do some stuff. You've got to get all the configs
set up and you got to do some work, create services out of them," he said.
Within Visual Studio Dublin will add project templates, and in the IIS Manager
it will add WF and WCF management modules. It also adds discovery within the
hosting environment, a SQL persistence provider, application monitoring, and
adds versioning, partitioning and routing to messaging.
But questions abound regarding Dublin. To my original point, several people
were trying to get a grasp on whether Dublin will ultimately subsume BizTalk
during the Q&A portion of the session. Microsoft architect Igor Sedukhin
said he doesn't see that happening. "Dublin is not intended to be an integration
server at all," he said. "We aren't trying to put all the adaptors
in Dublin. BizTalk is really focused on that integration scenario."
Cutting to the chase, one attendee asked: "Three years from now, will
BizTalk as a product exist, and if it does, why would I want to pay for it?"
Yes, it will still exist, Eshner said. "We really believe that there is
a ton of scenarios on BizTalk that we will not address in Dublin, or you would
have to do a whole bunch of work to make Dublin work in the same kind of way
that BizTalk does," he said, adding Dublin won't have the transforms and
adaptors found in BizTalk. "BizTalk as an integration server is much more
powerful than what you get with an app server like Dublin."
Eshner and his team addressed a few more questions regarding Dublin, among them:
To what degree will Dublin scale to support enterprise-class applications?
That will be more clear over the next six months. Though probably not as scalable
as some would like, partners should be able to close the gap.
If Dublin is going to rely heavily on persistence, will it require shops
to purchase SQL Server?
The details are still being worked out, but to scale, that will probably be
a safe assumption.
What about transactions beyond the existing transaction services in Windows?
It's not clear how much will get added into version 1.
Will developers be able to deploy both locally and to Azure?
The Dublin team will be working with the IIS team using MS Deploy (Microsoft's
new IIS Web deployment tool) to see if it can be leveraged. "That's a great
thing to add to our future list to see how we can do that," Eshner said.
Have you looked at the Dublin bits? If so drop me a line at email@example.com
and let me know what you think.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 11/12/2008 at 1:15 PM