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BizTalk Server 2013 Beta Now Available

Microsoft today announced the availability of a beta test version of BizTalk Server 2013.

Information about Microsoft's newest integration and connectivity server has been somewhat sporadic, but it's now clear that BizTalk will have a "2013" brand name. Previously, Microsoft had released a community technology preview version of BizTalk Server 2010 R2, the current flagship product, for its Technology Adoption Program customers.

Microsoft has said in the past that it plans to release the final BizTalk Server 2013 product six months after Windows 8, or in late April, although the product cycle has tended to slip in the recent past. That still seems to be the case. A Microsoft spokesperson told veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley that BizTalk 2013 "will be available in the second half of calendar 2013."

For now, testers can get their hands on the beta at this Microsoft Download Center page.

The beta adds support for Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2012, as well as "new IBM systems," according to Microsoft's blog post announcement. Microsoft is promising transaction integration with solutions from Oracle, SAP and Microsoft (Dynamics and SharePoint). Developers can leverage BizTalk through SharePoint's Business Connectivity Services capability. Microsoft added a "new OLE DB provider for Informix and new Service for [IBM's] DB2 DRDA [distributed relational database architecture]," according to the blog post.

The release notes for BizTalk 2013 indicate that the solution will be available via Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud or on-premises as a server. The on-premises BizTalk Server 2013 product will have adapters that will enable BizTalk Server applications to connect with Windows Azure.

Microsoft made some adjustments as to how business activity monitoring (BAM) alerts are supported in BizTalk Server 2013 when working with Microsoft's newer server products. BAM alerts previously depended on using SQL Server Notification Services. However, SQL Server Notification Services won't be available in SQL Server 2012, Microsoft's current flagship relational database management system. Consequently, the Microsoft engineering team made sure that BAM works without Notification Services in BizTalk 2013. However, organizations using the older SQL Server 2008 R2 technology with BizTalk 2013 will still need to tap Notification Services.

BizTalk Server 2013 will arrive with an alphabet-soup-like roster of improvements. Users can invoke REST endpoints. Messages can be sent and received via secure FTP servers. The ESB Toolkit is now integrated with the server, among other enhancements.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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