To buck the trend IT managers face of purchasing (at exorbitant price points) and implementing (unnecessary complexity) service oriented architecture in piecemeal fashion, Microsoft's BizTalk product claims to proffer all enterprise IT needs under the sun, in a single package.Despite its recent shady head-butts with the open source world, we're willing to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt with the upcoming release of Biztalk Server 2006 Release 2 - an interesting name for a product that will actually be released in 2007.
You are probably wondering why we are covering Biztalk in the context of enterprise content management.
With the new release, Microsoft is providing a six-month promotional offering that includes (what it considers to be) everything necessary to build a service oriented architecture using Windows-based products.
This promotional offering includes:
* Biztalk Server 2006 R2
* Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007 (MOSS), a CMSWire favorite
* Visual Studio Team System
* SQL Server 2005
* .Net Framework
* Four Office Business Applications Reference Application Packs
And if that isn't enough, Microsoft is offering this bundle with a 10 percent discount. But discounts aside, Biztalk can stand on its own merits too.
With Biztalk Server, you get the ability to connect to your organization's existing legacy systems (supply chain, retail management, etc.). MOSS 2007 also provides collaboration and content management.
For an enterprise level database, you have SQL Server 2005. Visual Studio Team System provides the development environment for software engineers, and the .Net Framework provides the black magic required to make custom Windows applications function correctly.
The concisely named Office Business Applications Reference Application Packs allow developers to hook Microsoft Office applications directly into the freshly implemented service oriented architecture.
While Microsoft's goal of making the implementation of a service oriented architecture cheap and easy is admirable, the gian'ts track record of security and stability issues should be sufficient to encourage IT Managers to practice caution before making such a broad-sweeping commitment.
For further coverage, check out Charlie Babcock's InformationWeek piece or Chris Kanaracus' article in the Redmond Developer News.
Planning to take advantage of this promotion to implement a Microsoft-centric service oriented architecture? If you have stories, either successful or horrifying, about building a SOA with Microsoft technologies, or are simply confused as to why Biztalk Server 2006 Release 2 is not named Biztalk Server 2007, jump down to the comments section and tell us about it.