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Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009 reaches beta

Microsoft this week announced the first public beta of BizTalk Server 2009 and general availability of BizTalk RFID Mobile. The products are crown jewels in the company's BPM portfolio.

Microsoft this week announced the first public beta of BizTalk Server 2009 and general availability of BizTalk RFID Mobile. The company made the announcement at the Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit in Las Vegas. The company also released a community technology preview of its Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Guidance 2.0.

The ESB guidance represents a set of patterns, itinerary modeling using Domain-Specific Language tools. This is an important move for a company that was somewhat slow to jump on the ESB bandwagon.

"An ESB is one of the common patterns that is used in a typical SOA. We think of it as a pattern for loosely defining the customer and the consumer of a service across a bus model," said Burley Kawasaki, director of Microsoft's connected systems division.

The Microsoft ESB guidance is important as SOA moves from the ranks of early adopters into mainstream adoption. "Early adopters aren't afraid to jump in without a lot of documentation. But with mainstream adopters, you have to build on the skill that they already have, and be able to build incrementally," said Kawasaki.

This anticipated BizTalk release provides key new capabilities around interconnectivity. Kawasaki said more adapters are available 'out-of-the-box,' including mainframe adapters that can be exposed as services using Microsoft's WCF framework tools.

Said Kawasaki, "Developers can now expose [a mainframe] very simply as a service in the WCF format. Developers don't need to know the complexity of the mainframe or, as another example, the Oracle application suite." He indicated that the large army of Microsoft developers will be able to recombine services as composite apps, using BizTalk and hooking into Microsoft Visual Studio tools.

Meanwhile, Kawasaki said the economics of RFID-enabled work flow tagging are changing. Tags have come down in prise, but implementation cost is still a moving target. Mobile RFID, he asserted, lets RFID reader systems more readily go ''where the goods are.''

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