Microsoft hands BizTalk Server 2006 to manufacturers

Microsoft hands BizTalk Server 2006 to manufacturers

Microsoft has released BizTalk Server 2006 to manufacturing, and the product will be generally available on May 1.

Microsoft has released a new version of its BizTalk Server integration software to manufacturing.

BizTalk Server 2006, software for integrating business processes across the enterprise through Extensible Markup Language (AML), would be generally available to customers on May 1, a Microsoft director of product management, Steven Martin, said.

One of the biggest differences between the new version and its former release BizTalk Server 2004 is the pricing and packaging. Microsoft was including 14 technology adapters that connect BizTalk Server 2006 to back-end applications such as PeopleSoft and Oracle Application Suite, Martin said. As a result, the pricing for the enterprise edition of the product has increased from $US25,000 per CPU to $US29,999, he said.

But this price was still far less than it would be if a customer purchased BizTalk and all the new adapters separately, since the cost of the adapters alone would run about $180,000, Martin said.

Some of the new adapters included in BizTalk Server 2006 are ones Microsoft purchased from iWay Software last year, he said.

The pricing for the Developer Edition of the product, which is for development and testing only, had dropped since the previous version, Martin said. It now costs $US499 per user or was free for developers with a Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Universal subscription. The developer version of BizTalk Server 2004 had cost $US799 per user.

BizTalk also comes in a Standard Edition, which is limited to two CPUs on a single server and five BizTalk applications, for $US8499 per CPU.

Enhancements to BizTalk Server 2006 include a single management console for configuring, deploying, managing and monitoring BizTalk Server applications and an updated management pack for use with Microsoft Operations Manager 2005. The software also includes one-click start and stop operations for deploying and undeploying BizTalk applications and a new, customizable business activity monitoring portal built on ASP.NET 2.0 technology.

Because of an aggressive beta process for the software, 50 customers already were using BizTalk Server 2006 in production, he said. In all, about 6,000 customers had deployed some version of BizTalk Server in their business.

Customers that already are using the software include Gulf Coast Seal, a Houston company that manufactures and distributes sealing material for the oil and gas industry.

Ecommerce manager with Gulf Coast Seal, Jeff Lynch, said the company began moving its applications to Beta 2 of BizTalk Server about six months ago.

The company has been a BizTalk customer since 2003, using the product to set up an automated purchase order and invoice system for its customers.

Lynch said his company has drastically reduced the costs of handling customer orders -- from about $US50 to $US75 per order to $US0.03 per order -- since deploying BizTalk.

"In the last three years we've been able to grow our business more than 25 per cent each year and we haven't had to add any new inside sales people," he said.

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