BizTalk Server 2006 R3
Official news about the next release of BizTalk Server has been released on Steve Martins blog here with follow ups on the BizTalk Server Team Blog here and of course followed by other comments around the connected systems blogosphere. It's been expected and anticipated. This is not an Oslo release, and it's not a new product, and it's not a service pack, but it's an R3. I'm not quite sure what the difference is when compared to a service pack, but according to Steve
"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."
What's interesting around this release is not the fact that it will support the new wave of products and technologies being SQL 2008, Windows Server 2008, .NET 3,5 and Visual Studio 2008, although I've been told this in itself is not a small thing and I'm exhited about that as well, but the fact that they are choosing to bring in a couple of additional features. Among those are BizTalk RFID Mobile, an UDDI based Registry (no doubt inspired by the ESB Guidance) and additional LOB adapters and talk about service enabling and delivering SOA pattern and practices as part of the product. For me it's a clear expression of the desire to make BizTalk a more attractive SOA plattform.
The official date for release is planned for Q1 2009, with a CTP expected later this year following the release of SQL Server 2008 in Q3 2008. There are however already TAP programs available for BizTalk Server as well as some of the other features by themselves. I wish I hade a customer ready to run with it today...