Over the past few months we’ve seen an incredible wave of new platform products and technologies including Windows Server 2008, .NET Framework 3.5, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008. You may remember that in the past BizTalk Server has updated features to support the most recent platform releases. With BizTalk Server 2006 once the RTM versions of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 were released, we did final testing and sent a new version of BizTalk Server out the door.
Based on feedback from customers and partners, we are planning to do the same thing this time around to follow closely on the heels of this latest platform wave. Once SQL Server 2008 (the final of the three to be released) becomes generally available, we will follow with an updated version of BizTalk Server designed for the latest versions of Windows Server, the .NET Framework, Visual Studio, and SQL Server. This will mean that BizTalk Server customers will continue to take full advantage of the platform’s latest improvements including: scalability for mission-critical workloads, improved support for next-generation web and service oriented applications, improved virtualization support and better business insight through Office.
We are also taking the opportunity as part of this BizTalk Server release to deliver additional customer-requested capabilities for our core SOA infrastructure. We will give more updates on specific features in the coming months, but at a high level we are planning some new investments in the release that includes:
To ensure existing BTS applications continue to run without changes, we are taking an incremental approach and limiting the changes to the items listed above. Because this release build on existing bits, the name of this release will be BizTalk Server 2006 R3. Refreshing the bits (instead of applying a large Service Pack) provides for the best update experience. You should expect to see a CTP of BizTalk Server 2006 R3 later this year (with an RTM planned in H1 CY09).
Stay tuned for an update in the coming weeks! See you @ TechEd.