BizTalk in the spotlights on TechEd NA

This week was TechEd North America week again. A great show with overview and deep dive sessions about almost every aspect of Microsoft technology. I went to the TechEd a couple of times when it was in Amsterdam and I felt like a kid in a candy store. 🙂

The last couple of years there was little attention for the integration stack of Microsoft at TechEd, SharePoint was hot and also Azure got lots of attention. This time integration was in the spotlights again and with reason. Microsoft took the first serious step towards integration in the cloud with BizTalk services and this is big! It is getting clearer that integration will be the key feature in tomorrow’s world of technology. On premise systems and SaaS platforms will need to exchange information like nothing before and the integration layer is going to be this intermediary like it has been for years, connecting on premise systems.

Of course BizTalk Server will be around for the next decade. Microsoft has committed itself to a two-year release cycle, so the next version will probably be BizTalk Server 2015. However you need to keep an eye on the new ‘BizTalk-in-the-cloud’ initiative called Windows Azure BizTalk Services or WABS. It was silently tried out as EAI/EDI labs in April 2012, but it showed where we’re heading. Now the WABS are in preview and will be general available soon. At this time it is nowhere near what BizTalk Server offers, but this will change rapidly. Microsoft is on a release cycle of every quarter(!) for services which means they can and will add more BizTalk-Server-like functionality at a rapid pace. One of the extensions will be support for ESB in the cloud.

BizTalk Server is an enterprise level, business critical product which will be around for a long time, because companies will need an integration layer on premise. However while BizTalk Services is catching up the functionality of the on premise version of BizTalk at the moment, I expect this to be the other way around in two year. From 2015 on you’ll see innovation in BizTalk Services that won’t be available in the on premise server version until the next release. Will customer wait for 2 years to get access to new features? With that in mind it will be more and more interesting and important for companies to seriously look at WABS.

If you want to keep up with BizTalk, you can start by watching these interesting BizTalk sessions from TechEd:

Didago IT Consultancy