14 September 2007
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 to take productivity to the edge
With the release of BizTalk Server 2006 R2, Microsoft’s service orientated architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) technology, the software giant says it is ready to help users “take productivity to the edge”.
Enhancements include new functionality for RFID (radio frequency identification) and EDI (electronic data interchange), as well as extended interoperability. Both, will make it easier for companies to connect systems within their own organisations and across those of trading partners, according to Microsoft.
“For customers to successfully extend their core business processes to reach across applications, partners and platforms, they need a way to connect their existing systems, regardless of vendor, age, platform, protocol and geography,” says Steven Martin, director of the connected systems product management at Microsoft.
“With BizTalk Server 2006 R2, customers choose how they want to connect applications, platforms and people. We provide them with the tools to do it.”
Explaining the ‘edge’ allusion, he makes the point that, increasingly, companies need to extend business processes out to branch locations, business partners and supply chains. BizTalk effectively provides an integrated platform for supply-chain connectivity and process collaboration through RFID, native support for EDI and AS2 (Applicability Statement 2), as well as industry standards such as SWIFT, HL7, HIPAA, and RosettaNet, he says.
And it’s practical. For example, BizTalk Server 2006 R2 is also available in a Branch Edition version that enables connecting intra-organisation hub-and-spoke supply chain processes.
The upshot: BizTalk Server 2006 R2 appears to be a god starting point for those wanting to get on the BPM and SOA bandwagon. Microsoft has also released ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) Guidance, providing architectural guidance, patterns and practices.
Incidentally, Microsoft has also released BizTalk Server Adapter Pack Beta 2 for testing, designed to help users integrate their business applications. The adapters work with BizTalk Server 2006 R2, SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and are scheduled for general release in the first half of 2008.
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