Microsoft has updated its BizTalk Server and Services offerings.
BizTalk is Microsoft's integration server with an installed base of 12,000 customers, according to the company. The server includes more than 25 adapters for connecting systems inside and outside a customer's organization.
Earlier this month, Microsoft made available to customers BizTalk Server 2013 R2. The R2 release -- which follows on the heels of the BizTalk Server 2013 version which Microsoft rolled out in March 2013 -- adds support for Windows Server 2012 R2 (as well as Windows Server 2012), Windows 8.1 (along with Windows 7 SP1), SQL Server 2014 (and SQL Server 2012 SP1), and SharePoint 2013 SP1.
The R2 update includes other new features in the SB Messaging adapter, the HL7 Accelerator and more, which are listed on this MSDN page.
BizTalk Server 2013 R2 can run in the cloud in a virtual machine on Windows Server and/or connect to the cloud in a variety of ways, including via Azure BizTalk Services. Azure BizTalk Services allows users to build enterprise application integration (EAI), EDI (electronic data interchange) and B2B (business-to-business) apps and services on Azure.
At the TechEd 2014 conference last week, Microsoft officials unveiled a preview of a new feature of Azure BizTalk services known as Hybrid Connections. Hybrid Connections allows users to connect their Azure Web sites or mobile services to on-premises data, applications and services. It does so without requiring users to reconfigure their VPN gateways or opening firewall ports, according to the company.
The goal of Hybrid Connections is to make it appear that Azure users can access on-premises resources as if they were located on the same private network, and vice versa.
"Application admins thus have the flexibility to simply lift-and-shift specific most front-end tiers to Azure with minimal configuration changes, extending their enterprise apps for hybrid scenarios," according to the company's explanation.
As part of the Hybrid Connections preview, Microsoft also added a free tier of Azure BizTalk Services to allow customers to use Hybrid Connections for free. Microsoft moved to a per-core model with BizTalk Server 2013. Pricing is here for the four edititions of the 2012 R2 server.