Microsoft Outlines Plans for Integration-as-a-Service on Windows Azure

Although Microsoft officials have been discussing plans for the successor to the company’s BizTalk Server 2010 product for some time, the cloud angle of Microsoft’s plans for its BizTalk integration server didn’t become clear until late October 2010, at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC). 

When looking at a BizTalk Server Team blog, it appears as if Microsoft is thinking about BizTalk vNext transforming into something akin to Windows Azure and SQL Azure—at least in concept—a “BizTalk Azure.”

An excerpt from the blog says, “Our plans to deliver a true Integration service—a multi-tenant, highly scalable cloud service built on AppFabric and running on Windows Azure—will be an important and game changing step for BizTalk Server, giving customers a way to consume integration easily without having to deploy extensive infrastructure and systems integration.”

The latest news from Microsoft reveals that there will be an on-premise version of BizTalk vNext as well—and the final version is slated to arrive in 2012. A Microsoft spokesperson said, “We will deliver new cloud-based integration capabilities both on Windows Azure (as outlined in the blog) as well as continuing to deliver the same capability on-premises. This leverages our AppFabric strategy of providing a consistent underlying architecture foundation across both services and server. This will be available to customers in the 2 year cadence that is consistent with previous major releases of BizTalk Server and other Microsoft enterprise server products.”

In September 2010, Microsoft released the latest on-premises software version of BizTalk (BizTalk Server 2010), which is a minor release of Microsoft’s integration server that supports Visual Studio 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2, Windows Server AppFabric and Windows Server 2008 R2.

There are currently over 10,000 BizTalk Server customers—paying a hefty price for the product—and thus Microsoft officials are being careful in their positioning of BizTalk Azure. Microsoft will ensure that existing customers are able to move to the Azure version “only at their own pace and on their own terms.” Microsoft plans on providing side-by-side support for BizTalk Server 2010 and BizTalk Azure to make sure apps don’t break and will also offer “enhances integration between BizTalk and AppFabric (both Windows Server AppFabric and Windows Azure AppFabrics).

Microsoft recently rolled out the First CTP (Community Technology Preview) of the Patterns and Practices Composite Application Guidance for using BizTalk Server 2010, Windows Server AppFabric and Windows Azure AppFabric together as part of an overall composite application solution. Additionally, Microsoft previewed a number of future enhancements to Windows Azure AppFabric.

For more information regarding BizTalk on Azure, contact a Nubifer representative today.

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  1. April 5th, 2011

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