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BizTalk server debuts RFID, more B2B and vertical-industry support

The latest version of Microsoft BizTalk Server is out this week (Monday), complete with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, more business-to-business functionality and built-in industry-specific support.

Those features will make BizTalk Server 2006 R2 easier for Microsoft partners to integrate with customers’ IT infrastructure, said Steven Martin, Microsoft’s director of Connected Systems Product Management. Eighty percent of BizTalk deployments involve the channel in some way, and even the most basic implementations are more involved and present more value-add opportunities than other deployments, Martin said.

“It goes well beyond installing,” he added. “When you just install BizTalk, it doesn’t do anything. … BizTalk is a base platform that many partner organizations build on top of.”

BizTalk is Microsoft’s 7-year-old service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) offering, and Microsoft boasts 7,000 customers worldwide.

Microsoft added RFID to BizTalk to give users better visibility and control over their business processes once they ship products, Martin said. The added BTB functionality comes from extended interoperability in R2, and it also now includes support for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, Health Level 7, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and RosettaNet standards.

“It’s an R2, but this is a huge release,” Martin said.

Microsoft today also announced the release of Enterprise Service Bus Guidance, a bundle of patterns, practices and codes to help users simplify their ESB development. It is available for free for BizTalk Server customers.

“We think it’s really important to help customers understand best practies,” Martin said.

And in one final announcement, Microsoft released the community technology preview of the BizTalk adapter pack. Martin described it as an “early, early beta” of a product that will allow BizTalk server to interact with back-end database systems. The full product will be available in the first half of 2008, he said.

For more information on SOA and BPM channel issues, check out some of the content offers: How can you help your customers handle business process challenges?, Service-oriented architecture (SOA) tutorial and BPM and SOA: Q&A with IDS Scheer’s Mathias Kirchmer.

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