BizTalk 2002 Generally Available
- By Scott Bekker
BizTalk Server 2002, an incremental improvement to Microsoft's integration server software, shipped on Monday with new technology for quickly distributing trading infrastructure to partners and tight integration with Visual Studio .NET.
The server, a member of Microsoft's 11-member .NET Enterprise Server family of back-end software that also includes SQL Server and Exchange Server, made its debut as BizTalk Server 2000 in September 2000.
Microsoft positions BizTalk as an XML-based product that does double duty as an enterprise application integration server or a business-to-business integration server. And on the B2B integration side, Microsoft says BizTalk provides an engine for customer, supplier or marketplace interactions.
The major new technology in BizTalk Server 2002 is on the marketplace interaction front in the form of a wizard-like process, called SEED, for quickly distributing trading infrastructure to partners. The idea is for a large trading hub to be able to quickly publish configuration information to trading partners, which Microsoft refers to as spokes from the hub.
SEED includes several steps: the hub packages configuration settings, the spoke downloads the package, the spoke performs configuration, the spoke executes a local systems test and a remote process test, and finally the spoke deploys.
The other notable work on the incremental upgrade to BizTalk is tighter integration with several other Microsoft products. Integration with the Visual Studio .NET development suite allows developers to use BizTalk Server components in the development suite and turn BizTalk Server business processes into XML Web services.
New integration with Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2000 allows BizTalk users to conduct more sophisticated event monitoring, alerting, consolidation, reporting on and management of BizTalk through MOM 2000 tools.
Native integration with Application Center 2000, meanwhile, gives BizTalk Server 2002 capabilities for quick deployment across server farms and through firewalls, according to Microsoft.
BizTalk Server 2002 is the first of the 2002 class of .NET Enterprise Server releases from Microsoft. Microsoft recently pushed Commerce Server 2002 into beta testing and is also planning to release 2002 versions of Content Management Server, Internet Security and Acceleration Server, Mobile Information Server and SharePoint Portal Server.
The BizTalk team within Microsoft managed to push BizTalk Server 2002 out just before a company-wide code review for security holes prompted by chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates' Trustworthy Computing memo last month. It is not clear what effect the security review might have on the rest of Microsoft's 2002 shipping schedule.
Click here for MCP Magazine's recent review of Microsoft's BizTalk Server.
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.