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BizTalk 2006 ships in the first half of 2006

I have read through the articles released by Scott Woodgate and other resources I could find on BizTalk Server 2006. So partly as a learning exercise and to provide a summary to my Boss who was concerned about the state of BAM in BizTalk 2004 I have condensed the articles down into the following bullet pointed summary with some personal opinions. Maybe this will be of use to people who are too time-strapped to read all the articles (if you are a more visual reader I suggest you get hold of the articles lots of pics of the new dialogs etc). Thanks to the BizTalk team for their openness in what’s in the next release it looks like a goodie. To get the original articles go here. I will be adding to this summary as more articles come out.

BizTalk Server 2006 Setup & Migration                             Microsoft Corporation     April 2005

BizTalk Server 2006 Business Activity Monitoring               Microsoft Corporation     April 2005

BizTalk Server 2006 Developer Tools Improvements          Microsoft Corporation     April 2005

BizTalk Server 2006 Adapter Enhancements                      Microsoft Corporation     April 2005

Looking Ahead to BizTalk 2006 and Beyond                       http://www.microsoft-watch.com/article2/0,1995,1751293,00.asp

Latest DBMS & Framework Upgrades

Supports 64 bit server releases

Runs on SQL Server 2005

Support for Visual Studio .Net 2005

Support for Virtual Server 2005

Simplified BizTalk installation and configuration

              Automatic upgrade for BizTalk 2004 implementations there is NO support side by side installation for 2004 and 2006

              Simplified BizTalk 2006 installation (the BizTalk 2004 installation could be difficult if you didn’t follow the 16 pages of instructions and install the supporting components this will be supplied in a single CAB file)

              The prerequisites which will still need to be manually installed first are:

o        Windows

o        SQL Server 2000 \ 2005

o        Visual Studio .Net 2005

              There will the different setup options for different types of users beginners vs seasoned developers

              Simplified BizTalk Database and Services Configuration

              Default Configuration Option for single user account for all BizTalk Server 2006 services i.e. don’t need to enter all the user names and passwords for BAM, HWS, ESSO, Rule Engine etc but the Custom configuration Option is also there if you want to select different users for different services as well i.e. if you are doing a BizTalk 2004 upgrade this may be a good idea.

              Only 4 screens in the configuration process down from ~8.

              More flexibility and less effort required to deploy BizTalk databases \ services over multiple CPUs in a Server Farm

              Setup log file contains more detailed information for trouble shooting install, config issues

Much needed overhaul of Business Activity Monitoring

              BAM Portal web app which exposes BAM activities to the Information worker this provides:

o        Customisable branding for the portal in its banner

o        An Activity Search page for generating and saving queries for reporting “instance data” and setting alerts  i.e. notify me if, when

o        An Aggregations page providing pivot table and graphing functionality for a point-in-time snapshot for the health of the business reporting “aggregate data”. You can easily set alerts here too (on values of individual cells in a pivot table) and there is the ability to “drill down” to the individual transactions\message instances. Thus alerts may be set on a single transactional value or the aggregation of many transactional values

o        An Alert Manager page to create and edit real time alerts set email addresses, messages and the ability for users to subscribe to those alerts. These alerts are fired on the monitoring of live data

o        Ability to create an advanced query for an alert if it cannot be created from query or pivot table data on the activity Search and Aggregation pages

o        The BAM Portal is big improvement to the messing around creating SQL Server Analysis Service Cubes & exporting it to Excel it is basically an easy to use query builder with subscribable alert functionality. It takes a step towards making BAM Information Worker user friendly rather than a reliance on the developer to implement and maintain BAM.

              BAM Pipeline Interceptor

o        No longer need to write custom pipelines components to call the BAM API a BAM pipeline interceptor is supplied out of the box

o        The Tracking Profile Editor (available in BizTalk 2004) has been improved to retrieve the message context and promoted properties from BizTalk message schemas. It enhances the ability to capture BAM data from orchestrations

              Ability to expose all BAM Portal Functionality as a Web Service

o        You can create queries for aggregate and instance data, set alerts and retrieve BAM configurations through a BAM Query Service and a BAM Management Service

              BAM Management command line utility

o        The input for this utility is the BAM Excel Template that is created by Business Analysts to define events and track data which will provide setup data for the BAM Portal

o        Supports change-on-the-fly so in order to make a change you don’t need to un-deploy and redeploy your BAM setup as in BizTalk 2004 which was tricky and could result in BAM data loss

o        Can retrieve a list of all BAM activities, views and aggregations

o        Alert and subscription management

o        Security management

              Excel Improvements

o        Installable BAM add-in for Excel which provides a BAM menu which enables you to create import and export Activities and View and query live data

Small additions to the developer user experience

              Flat File Wizard

o        A wizard interface to speed up the creation BizTalk XSD Schemas for flat files looks a bit like the MS Excel \ Access Flat File Importers but much more attuned and sophisticated to producing BizTalk schemas with a flat file extension. Many developers must have found this area of BizTalk development difficult so this UI is more or less an add-in however with the help of Google and some patience mastering the art of BizTalk schema development using the Flat File extension isn’t beyond reach

              Simple UI functionality in the Orchestration designer such as:

o        Zoomability for dealing with large and complex orchestrations

o        Preserving the collapsed and expanded settings on shapes on saving

o        Enlarging the set size of the expression window … why not make it resizable

              All in all there is not much change to the developer UI watch this space more changes may be revealed at a later date.

New and updated Adapters

              New Adapters

o        POP3 Adapter for receiving email messages and attachments BizTalk 2004 shipped with a SMTP adapter for sending email. There are a few of these already freely available on the net

o        Windows SharePoint Services Adapter for accessing documents stored in SharePoint libraries through polling for a document in a SharePoint directory or folder through a SharePoint web method. This may utilise a SharePoint view to filter the messages available to be received by the adapter. Sending a document to SharePoint is the reverse. Upon first glance this adapter is extremely configurable and flexible to use.

o        MSMQ adapter “out of the box” at the moment it’s available on the net

o        MQSeries Adapter “out of the box” at the moment it’s available on the net now has dynamic receive allowing it to determine at runtime the queue it will receive messages from.

              Updated Adapters

o        SMTP Adapter better user experience with the new Compose and Attachments tabs as part of the SMTP Adapter Property Pages Dialog and the ability to send plain text or html emails with multiple attachments. SMIME encryption and digital signing is not included add this through a MIME Encoder Pipeline Component in a send pipeline. New performance counters.

o        File Adapter better user experience not so many property pages to click around. Ability to give the Adapter different user credentials when accessing a file in a directory on a remote file share. New advance settings dialog to allow you to rename the files while reading, set a polling interval, set retry counts and intervals on removing files. New performance counters.

o        HTTP Adapter new Suspend Failed Requests setting to control whether a request just errors out or whether it can be resumed. New performance counters.

Summary

In creating BizTalk Server 2006 it seems the BizTalk team has focused on the most important improvements to BizTalk 2004 rather than a complete rewrite of the product.

R. Addis

Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2005 5:22 AM BizTalk | Back to top


Comments on this post: What’s new in BizTalk Server 2006 aka Rolling Thunder

# re: What’s new in BizTalk Server 2006 aka Rolling Thunder
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Brilliant summary hopefull this will save me a lot of time as well! Thanks.
Left by Heinrich van Vught on Jul 22, 2005 7:54 AM

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