Microsoft: Next BizTalk Server update due six months after Windows Server 8

BizTalk Server 2010 R2, the next (and maybe final) version of the on-premises version of Microsoft's enterprise integration server, is coming six months after Windows Server 8.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

After eight months of silence, the BizTalk team has blogged.

Via the BizTalk Server Team blog, Microsoft officials said on December 8 there will be a new release of the on-premises version of BizTalk Server coming, and that it will be delivered about six months after the release of Windows Server 8.

(Yes, Microsoft still hasn't said when Windows 8 -- client or server -- will be released, so this doesn't pin things down a whole lot. But many company watchers think Windows 8 will be released to manufacturing in the summer/fall 2012 timeframe.)

The next release of BizTalk Server, which is Microsoft enterprise integration server, is officially known (as of today) as BizTalk Server 2010 R2. The coming release will support Windows Server 8 and SQL Server 2012 (which is due to launch in the early part of 2012). It also will integrate with "Visual Studio 11" (aka Visual Studio 2012).

Here's the feature chart for BizTalk Server 2010 R2 from today's blog post:

(click on the chart above to enlarge)

BizTalk Server 2010 R2 will focus on three primary themes, according to information on the STB (Server and Tools Business) New Bytes blog today:

• Platform Support – Supporting new and current server and development platforms • Improved B2B – Aligning with industry standards and continuing to invest in performance improvements • Ready for the Cloud – Enabling customers to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing

Microsoft shipped BizTalk Server 2010 in the fall of 2010, and has declined to provide a detailed roadmap for future versions since that time. At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference this past summer, Microsoft officials said that after the next release (meaning 2010 R2), there would be service/maintenance releases, but probably no further on-premises versions of BizTalk.

According to Microsoft, there are more than 10,000 BizTalk Server enterprise customers, using the product to integrate Microsoft’s business processes with those from other vendors including IBM, Oracle, Siebel, SAP, JD Edwards, etc.

Going forward, Microsoft is adopting a cloud-first model for BizTalk. The cloud version of BizTalk is basically Azure AppFabric.

Speaking of AppFabric, Microsoft delivered the 1.1 version of Windows Server AppFabric this week. In spite of the commonality in names, Windows Server AppFabric is different from Azure AppFabric.Windows Server AppFabric is a bundle of Microsoft’s “Velocity” caching technology, plus its “Dublin” app server. Windows Azure AppFabric is the name for .Net Services (which currently means service bus and access control only).

The 1.1 Server App Fabric release adds support for read-through/write-behind and graceful shutdown, among other new features.

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