Microsoft to align BizTalk Server with Azure's AppFabric

By Eric Lai, Computerworld |  Software, BizTalk Server

Microsoft Corp. plans to make its Business Process Management (BPM) software, BizTalk Server, work very closely with the just-announced AppFabric .Net application server within several years.

Arriving in beta next year, AppFabric will let developers deploy and manage their .Net applications, whether they're running on-site in Windows Server boxes or in the cloud on Redmond's coming Windows Azure cloud platform. That technology was formerly code-named "Dublin."

AppFabric also provides a cache for accelerating performance.

These features all differ from BizTalk Server, which lets companies integrate their .Net apps with non-.Net applications and data streams.

AppFabric "is not a full integration server, a la BizTalk," Mark Berman, a director of product planning for Windows Server AppFabric, said in an interview during the Professional Developers Conference 2009 (PDC09) in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The details of how BizTalk will eventually work together with AppFabric "are to be determined," Berman said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to release a minor upgrade to BizTalk Server next year.

BizTalk Server 2009 R2 will include interface and back-end improvements to make it easier for .Net programmers to connect their apps to other platforms. These include improvements to the graphical process mapper, the ability to manage performance parameters, out-of-box support for event filtering and delivery and the ability to use PowerShell to access management tasks.

Microsoft released the first version of BizTalk Server 2009 this spring. BizTalk Server is now used by 10,000 companies, said Anil Nori, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, including 80% of the Global 1000.

Microsoft in the past talked about BizTalk Server and technology codenamed "Oslo" in the same breath.

Oslo has mostly been deconstructed in the past two years, with features dispersed to other Microsoft products, said Burley Kawasaki, director of product management at Microsoft. It remains a software modeling platform that was renamed SQL Server Modeling earlier this month and offered in Community Technology Preview.

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