In this post, I am going to list down the key new features introduced in BizTalk Server 2013 Beta and also provide some useful links that describe how to use those features. But, to start with, this is where you can download the Beta bits for BizTalk Server 2013  from - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35553.

Now the list of new features.

  • Integration with Windows Azure – BizTalk Server 2013 provides a bunch of new adapters to extend connectivity of BizTalk Server apps to Windows Azure. BizTalk Server includes the new SB-Messaging adapter, WCF-BasicHttpRelay adapter, and the WCF-NetTCPRelay adapter for Azure integration. Specifically, you could use the SB-Messaging adapter to send and receive messages from Service Bus Queues and Topics on Windows Azure. Here, are some links that describe how to use these adapters.

  • BizTalk Server + REST – BizTalk Server now includes an out-of-the-box support for REST. BizTalk Server 2013 includes a WCF-WebHttp adapter that you can use to both invoke a REST endpoint as well as expose BizTalk Server artifacts as RESTful resources.

 

  • Updates to SharePoint adapter – The updated SharePoint adapter lets you choose between the client-side object model and the server-side object model for connecting to a SharePoint Server.

 

  • The new SFTP adapter – BizTalk Server 2013 includes a new SFTP adapter to send and receive messages from a secure FTP server using the SSH file transfer protocol.

 

  • Configuring handlers for dynamic send ports – BizTalk Server 2013 now provides the option to set a host handler instead of always using the adapter’s default host.

 

  • Tracking dependencies between artifacts – BizTalk Server artifacts can be dependent on each other. An orchestration can be dependent on send ports and receive locations, the ports can be dependent on pipelines and maps, so on and so forth. If one of these artifacts has to be updated, there was no easy and obvious way to figure out which other artifacts would be impacted. BizTalk Server Administration console now includes a Dependency Tracking pane that shows these dependencies and let’s you drill down to the last artifact type in the dependency list.

 

  • Integrated ESB Toolkit – ESB Toolkit is now included as part of the BizTalk Server core offering. The ESB Toolkit installation is now included as part of BizTalk Server installation and the configuration experience is much simpler as well.

 

  • Changes to BAM Alerts – BAM alerts had a dependency on SQL Server Notification Services (SSNS). SSNS was deprecated in SQL Server 2008 and removed in SQL Server 2012. So, for users to configure BAM Alerts if they had SQL Server 2012 as the backend database, a new option had to be introduced. That was done in the shape of an Alert Host Service that now runs and has a dependency on the Database Mail feature of SQL Server. So, if you have SQL Server 2008, BAM Alerts would continue to use SSNS. If you have SQL Server 2012, the Alert Host Service is used in conjunction with the Database Mail feature to provide BAM related alerts.

 

  • Updates in the platform stack – BizTalk Server 2013 supports the following new versions of the software dependency stack
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.
    • .NET Framework 4.5
    • Visual Studio 2012
    • SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2008 SP1

For a complete list of software stack supported, see Hardware and Software Requirements.