When I do corporate training, I always get asked this question... "So what is new in BizTalk 2006 when compared to BizTalk 2004?" mostly from people who have been using BizTalk 2004. So here I have tried to summarize some of the things. Note this is by no means an exhaustive listing as there are other small but significant improvements.
Automatic installation of redistributable components.
In BizTalk Server 2006, the BizTalk team provide a single file that contains the latest version of all redistributable components required by BizTalk Server during installation, eliminating the need for users to individually search for the components.
Simplified setup experience for first-time users.
BizTalk Server 2006 includes a significantly simpler installation experience for the developer, single machine user, and the first time user. Selecting to install the product by using the default setting will allow all of the product's components to be installed under a single account on one machine, with minimal need of user input.
Flexible setup experience for advanced users.
In BizTalk Server 2006, the setup experience has been redesigned to provide greater flexibility to support the advanced user tasked with deploying solutions across large server farm. Once installation completes, the custom configurations can be exported and imported to ease the installation of settings across server farms or development build labs.
Seamless upgrade experience.
Upgrading from BizTalk Server 2004 to BizTalk Server 2006 is an in-place upgrade process. When a customer executes the BizTalk Server 2006 setup on a machine where BizTalk Server 2004 is already installed, the setup program will automatically upgrade the installation to BizTalk Server 2006. All solutions built for this earlier version will work unchanged in the new version.
Introducing the application concept
BizTalk Server 2006 formalizes the concept of a BizTalk application by providing a logical container for housing all the artifacts for a given solution. This allows administrators to work with a complete BizTalk application as a unit, greatly simplifying the management, troubleshooting, and deployment of business processes.
In BizTalk 2004, working with complex orchestrations in the Orchestration Designer sometimes requires a lot of scrolling on the design surface to view different parts of the orchestration. In BizTalk Server 2006, the designer has been enhanced to provide the ability to zoom in and out on an orchestration, allowing a developer to view only those parts of an orchestration of current interest.
Flat File Schema Wizard
The BizTalk Flat File Schema Wizard is designed to simplify the process of creating flat file schemas by providing the following:
- The ability to use flat file instances as input
- A visual design surface for working with delimited and positional flat file schemas
- An interactive wizard-based process for adding elements to the schema and defining flat file related annotations.
Using the BizTalk Administration Console, an administrator can package entire applications into .msi files by just right-clicking on the application and exporting as .msi file. Once packaged, installing these applications to one or more servers is as easy as running / importing the .msi file.
More Powerful Administration Console
In BizTalk Server 2006, all the management functionality is consolidated into the BizTalk Administration Console. Users now have the ability to create artifacts and messaging components by using the console in addition to configuring, deploying, stopping, and starting applications across multiple servers.
Server health monitoring
Using the BizTalk Administration Console's Group Hub page, an administrator can view at a glance the health of currently running BizTalk applications. Rather than requiring an administrator to search for problems, the Group Hub page uses color-coded indicators to display those problems, allowing the administrators to take a more proactive approach to application monitoring.
BizTalk Server 2004 provides support for sending email through the SMTP adapter, however, no out-of-the-box support is provided for receiving email. With the introduction of the POP3 adapter in BizTalk Server 2006, BizTalk Server now supports receiving email messages and their attachments using version three of the Post Office Protocol (POP3) from any POP3 compliant mail server.
Windows SharePoint Services Adapter
BizTalk Server 2006 introduces the Windows SharePoint Services Adapter to provide built-in support for accessing and publishing documents stored in Windows SharePoint Services document libraries. Organizations can now link the Office documents and tools familiar to knowledge workers with the enterprise portal systems that run their businesses.
MQ Series Adapter
For BizTalk Server 2004 the MQSeries adapter was available as a Web download. In BizTalk Server 2006, the MQSeries support comes built-in. With the MQSeries adapter, organizations can use XML-enabled MQSeries investments, making it possible to more securely and reliably integrate disparate applications
New Line-of-Business Adapters
SAP, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, ODBC Adapter for Oracle, Siebel, TIBCO, IBM DB2
RUN TIME IMPROVEMENT
In BizTalk, an Interchange can contain two or more messages, such as a batch. In BizTalk Server 2004, a validation error in any message contained in the interchange will result in the entire interchange being suspended. With the introduction of Recoverable Interchange in BizTalk Server 2006, only messages that fail validation are suspended, and the messages can be resumed once the error is corrected.
Failed message routing
In BizTalk Server 2004, when a message fails within a receive pipeline, the message is suspended and cannot be subscribed to by end points. In BizTalk Server 2006, functionality is introduced to allow orchestration and send ports to subscribe to failed messages. When used appropriately, failed message routing can be used for notifying users of failed messages or building rich error handling and message repair capabilities.
In BizTalk Server 2004, message resume is only enabled for the send side but not for the received side. In BizTalk Server 2006, nearly all receive-side messages can now be resumed through the Health and Activity Tracking tool.
In-order message delivery
In BizTalk Server 2004, end-to-end, in-order processing is accomplished only when using MSMQT as a transport. In BizTalk Server 2006 this capability is expanded to support any send port that uses the same ordering semantics that outbound MSMQT does in BizTalk Server 2004 today.
Large Message Transformation
In previous releases of BizTalk Server, mapping of documents always occurred in-memory. While in-memory mapping provides the best performance, it can quickly consume resources when large documents are mapped. In BizTalk Server 2006, large messages will be mapped by the new large message transformation engine, which buffers message data to the file system, keeping the memory consumption flat.
Executing Pipelines within Orchestration
A new capability in BizTalk 2006 is the ability to synchronously call a pipeline from within an Orchestration. This enables orchestrations to leverage the message processing encapsulated within a pipeline (either send or receive) against a body of data without having to send that data through the messaging infrastructure.
BAM has been enhanced in 2006 to include an out-of-the-box BAM portal that allows an information worker to easily examine and configure BAM information. Using the BAM portal, an information worker can select a particular instance of some business process to monitor and then choose a specific BAM view into the process to get a different perspective on the key performance indicators being monitored-sized image
Through integration with SQL Server Notification Services, BizTalk Server 2006 allows BAM information to be delivered as notifications through e-mail or another communication channel to the business user, enabling them to make real-time business decisions based on this information.
BAM Web service
BAM in BizTalk Server 2006 builds on the existing Web services available in BizTalk Server 2004 and adds new Web service interfaces to expose the query of aggregate and instance data, creation of alerts, and retrieval of BAM configurations. The enhanced Web services interface can be utilized by custom applications to expose BAM functionalities within their user interface.
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