What's next for Microsoft's BizTalk integration server, services

Another on-premises version of Microsoft's BizTalk enterprise integration server is coming next year. And Logic Apps will be hostable on-premises in 2019, too.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

As it is doing with Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business, Microsoft is readying another new on-premises version of its BizTalk integration server.

Credit: Microsoft

BizTalk is Microsoft's application-integration server with an installed base of thousands of enterprise users. The server includes more than dozens of adapters for connecting systems inside and outside a customer's organization.

The coming BizTalk Server "vNext" will be generally available "within roughly 9 months of the general availability of Windows Server 2019," the team announced on August 9 on its blog. Windows Server 2019 is expected to begin rolling out around October or so this year, from what we've heard, meaning the next BizTalk Server release should be in the latter half of 2019.

BizTalk Server vNext will include all previously released feature packs; platform support for the newest versions of Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio; and an upgrade path from BizTalk Server 2013 R2 and BizTalk Server 2016, officials said. The new version of BizTalk also will get a new version of the Adapter Pack and Host Integration Server, officials said.

(I'm guessing the newest versions of the Microsoft servers and tools that it will support will be Windows Server 2019; SQL Server "Aris" and Visual Studio 2019.

Microsoft also is planning to enable Azure Integration Services -- which includes Logic Apps -- to run on-premises, according to the team's blog. This will happen sometime in calendar 2019. I've asked Microsoft whether this means that they'll only work on Azure Stack, its on-premises Azure equivalent; no word back so far.

Update (August 20): The plot thickens. Here are a few answers to some of my questions from a Microsoft spokesperson:

"We will provide Azure Integration Services (including Logic Apps) on-premises scenarios via Azure Stack. We have nothing to share at this point regarding Windows Server."

"These services (Logic Apps, Service Bus, Event Grid, API Management) will be available on-premises. We don't have specific detail to share at this time about the form this will take."

Back to the original post.

Logic Apps, the official successor to BizTalk Services, are a tool for orchestrating business processes to connect to cloud and on-premises services. Other Azure Integration Services include Service Bus, Event Grid and API Management.

From the blog post:

"We know there are functional gaps between BizTalk Server and Logic Apps, and we are hard at work closing them. Our Azure Integration Services vision is to enable all customers to move to a modern, holistic and rich iPaaS (Integration Platforms as a Service) platform that can meet the challenges of all their integration workloads, both today and in the future wherever they reside."

Microsoft rolled out BizTalk Server 2016 in 2016 and followed it up with two feature packs the following year. Microsoft "retired" BizTalk Services, a k a, the cloud version of BizTalk Server, on May 31, 2018.

Microsoft officials continue to tout the company's commitment to hybrid computing as a differentiator from its competition. That's why Microsoft is continuing to roll out on-premises versions of its key server products, even as it is trying to get more customers to go with the cloud/subscription variants of those products.

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