Over the past several years, there has been a lack of clarity about Microsoft’s integration roadmap. Various integration tools have been offered, rebranded and renamed, and ultimately retired. With a lack of a published roadmap, it is hard to make an informed investment into an integration platform that needs to meet today’s needs and still be relevant into the future.
Since 2000, BizTalk has been around to meet critical on-premises integration needs. Many customers have implemented complex business-critical solutions based upon BizTalk. With the migration to the cloud and the advent of Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS) offerings, there have been concerns about the future of BizTalk and its role in Microsoft’s integration strategy.
A recent announcement by Microsoft’s Jon Fancey, the Azure Integration Services PM Lead, attempts to clear up some concerns about Microsoft’s integration roadmap and lays the foundation for what is expected from Microsoft in the next two years.
Some of the details included in the announcement are:
- The concept of BizTalk Feature Pack releases has been well received and will continue. This will continue to allow new features and functionality to be incrementally added.
- BizTalk “vNext” has been announced. The details of the included features are to follow but support for the latest releases of Visual Studio, Windows Server, and SQL Server will be included. The expected delivery date will be about 9 months after GA of Windows Server 2019 so I’d expect delivery sometime between late 2019 and mid-2020.
- There will also be “vNext” releases of the Adapter Pack and Host Integration Server.
- As part of the iPaaS offering, Azure Integration Services (which includes Logic Apps) will add the ability to run on-premises. The expected delivery of this functionality will be in 2019. While this is a good idea, it will add complexity to the platform selection process.
- Guidance will be forthcoming on the decision making process when choosing among the available integration platforms. As the breadth of the toolset increases, this guidance will be valuable in helping to define an appropriate integration strategy for an organization.
The options of different tools (Azure Integration Services vs BizTalk) and hosting options (on-premises vs cloud vs hybrid) creates a complex decision regarding which solution is appropriate for a specific integration scenario.
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The full text of the announcement from the BizTalk Server team can be found here.