Microsoft Friday renamed the next major release of BizTalk server and committed to releasing major updates to the business process management server line every two years or less.
Burley Kawasaki, director of product management in Microsoft's connected systems division, said the company changed the name of the name of the next version from BizTalk Server 2006 R3 to BizTalk Server 2009 to indicate that its a major release. The new version is slated to ship during the first half of next year, he added.
BizTalk Server 2006 R2 was made generally available last September.
"[Users] want more transparency," Kawasaki said. "As they're doing more and more with our technology, they want to be able to plan for future releases. We're trying to provide much more transparency about where we're going with BizTalk."
Kawasaki went on to outline the major new features planned for the 2009 release and for the follow-on major release, now referred to as BizTalk Server 7.
The 2009 release, he said, will add support for Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 SP1, SQL Server 2008 and the .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 as well as bolstered connectivity and better developer productivity tools.
On the connectivity front, the server will include a new Web services registry, new business adapters, better host systems integration and enhanced business activity monitoring, Microsoft said. It will also include improved support for EDI and AS2 protocols for business-to-business connectivity, Kawasaki added.
For developers, BizTalk 2009 adds support for Microsoft's Team Foundation Server and provides development teams with integrated source control, bug tracking, Project Server integration and support for team development.
Microsoft plans to focus on developer productivity and visibility in BizTalk Server 7, Kawasaki added. For example, Microsoft hopes to provide an easier way to do automated mapping between systems and protocols to speed connectivity. Release 7 will also focus on asset management to support remote devices beyond RFID readers, he added.