BizTalk 2006 R2 public beta is now available for public download. Below is additional information on obtaining it, as well as a roundup of additional new features by Steven Martin, Director of Product Management.

To access R2 Public Beta, please follow these instructions:

  • Go to http://connect.microsoft.com/
  • Sign in using your passport
  • Click on Available Connections (on the Connect Home menu)
  • Scroll down to the Programs table (shown below)
  • Apply for BizTalk 2006 R2 Beta program

Steven Martin, Director of Product Management for BizTalk and the Connected Systems Division, blogged about this in his blog located at http://blogs.msdn.com/stevemar:

"Today marks an important milestone for BizTalk Server customers and the BizTalk team – the release of BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Beta 2. As you know, the product team has a great history of getting products out the door and this yet another example of the priority placed on making sure our customers feel great about their SA value. We would encourage everyone to explore the latest release at http://connect.microsoft.com/ which will be available beginning Monday.

BizTalk Server 2006 R2 will be 5th major release of BizTalk Server. This is another huge step forward for our 6,500+ customers globally and will add new capabilities for customers that need EDI and RFID. While there are numerous improvements to BizTalk, this release has three major themes:

  • EDI: The native support for comprehensive EDI and AS2 protocols in BizTalk Server 2006 R2 will provide much richer data integration and management capabilities for our customers. The Base EDI adapter that comes with BizTalk Server 2006 enables the sending and receiving of messages using X12 and EDIFACT. Customers can leverage this base functionality in order to build custom EDI solutions.
  • RFID: BizTalk RFID provides rich data, device and event management, as well as open APIs and tools. The capabilities allow customers to cost effectively build vertical solutions and configure intelligent RFID-driven processes.
  • Platform Alignment: BizTalk Server 2006 R2 features improved alignment with 2007 Microsoft Office system and Windows Vista, including key .NET Framework 3.0 technologies such as WF and WCF. This alignment will help customers access LOB data, as well as system-to-system or supply-chain processes from within their Office System applications (like SharePoint Server, InfoPath and Dynamics).

A big thanks goes out to the BizTalk Insiders, MVPs, Council members and everyone that has provided valuable advice and feedback during the development process!"