Microsoft to release BizTalk Server 2006 R2

Microsoft announced plans Tuesday for a new version of BizTalk Server 2006 designed to help companies extend the reach of their business processes to the edge of the enterprise.

BizTalk Server 2006 R2, which Microsoft said will ship in the first half of 2007, adds support for electronic data interchange (EDI) and other business-to-business standards as well as the ability to link real-time data collected from radio frequency identification (RFID) devices to processes and back-end applications.

"With business process management, you're seeing companies that are deploying business process solutions at the corporate hub, but you don't see them able to deploy it at the edge to the shop floor or to their trading partners," said Burley Kawasaki, Microsoft's group product manager for BizTalk. "You want to be able to connect the data from RFID back to the process that manages the item."

The new release will include support for EDI and AS2, a standard for secure data exchange, allowing companies to connect core business processes to those in its external supply chain, Kawasaki said.

Finally, R2 will broaden support for 2007 Microsoft Office System and Windows Vista, including a new adapter framework built atop Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) to help users build customized adapters for better interoperability between applications. WCF is a service-oriented messaging system in Vista designed to allow programs to interoperate.