Biztalk Technology Specialist

I passed the Microsoft Biztalk Server certification (MCTS) with flying colors (985).

An MCTS is:

“A Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist in Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 (MCTS: BizTalk Server) has a deep and broad understanding of the design and development of distributed applications that use BizTalk Server 2006. The credential holder has also demonstrated expertise in deploying and managing a BizTalk Server 2006 solution and can create a BizTalk orchestration, integrate business rules and human workflow services, manage business processes, troubleshoot BizTalk solutions, and consume and publish Web services.”

I knew that before, but now it is official. 😉

Now I an entitled to deliver the official Biztalk MOC courses (2033 and 2934) in addition to the regular development courses.

BizTalk Server an ESB?

During my Biztalk Server training I have been asked several times whether Biztalk is an ESB or not.
Especially in the Java technology domain ESB is becoming more and more popular. For example recently BEA released Aqualogic Service Bus.
I always said that Biztalk has all the features that you would expect from an ESB like routing and mediation.
I it’s interview Is BizTalk Server an ESB? on DNJ Online Matt Nicholson discussed this questions with Scott Woodgate from the Biztalk Server Team.
As Scott said Biztalk is not just an ESB. With it’s additional features like Business Process Management or Business Activity Monitoring, just to name a few, in combination with arbitrary service hosts it poses an ideal platform for SOA applications.

Biztalk 2006 at a Glance

I’m currently working at Microsoft TechEd in Amsterdam. My focus is on Business Process Management and Biztalk technology. At the conference I have the opportunity to see and try most of the new Biztalk Server 2006 features. From what I’ve seen so far the next release will not introduce any major changes, but will bring a lot of improvements. Below I’ve listed some information concerning these new features.

1. Zoom
A feature that was really missing is simple zoom functionality in the visual designers of Biztalk, e.g. the orchestration designer. With Biztalk 2006 it’s possible to zoom every model in the designer. That allows to visualize large business processes inside of visual studio.

2. Backwards compatibility
Biztalk Server 2006 is backwards compatible with the 2004 version. That means binding files and other artifacts can be used without or little modification.

2. Admin console
The admin console has been greatly improved. It’s a MMC snap-in and now more like a central point of administration which allows to get status and health information very easily.

3. Deployment
All Biztalk artifacts (bindings, rules, assemblies) can be bundled to applications. These applications can be deployed in it’s entirety. They can be exported as msi files. Such a file can be imported later on a different machine an started with a simple click.

4. BAM Portal
The new BAM portal allows to get access to key performance indicators via web frontend. This tool is really useful for analysts. One can create alerts which send e.g. emails if a particular threshold was reached. In conjunction with the admin console it allows to monitor applications on business- and technical levels as well. The input data for BAM can now also be created by Visio.

5. Routing of failed messages
Extended filter expressions allow to subscribe to failed messages and to process them accordingly. This gives much better control over runtime related problems.

Suggested Reading For Biztalk Server 2004

The documentation for Biztalk Server 2004 ist still somewhat limited. While developing Biztalk Server solutions I found a lot useful resources on the web. I collected them mainly for the delegates of my Biztalk 2004 courses. But if you are interested in Biztalk technology you might also be interested in Wolfgang Pleus Suggested Reading For Biztalk Server 2004

Microsoft’s business-process integration server opens doors to new markets for customers

Read more at At Four-Year Anniversary, Adoption of Microsoft BizTalk Server Tops 4,000 Organizations

“Some industry watchers posit that the future of business process management will depend less on software that is built to last, and more on software that is built to adapt. With that in mind, they say, companies should design processes that can be changed on the fly and software that’s flexible enough to support those changes, rather than reengineering processes in one fell swoop and then cementing the new models in code. From that perspective, BizTalk Server appears headed in an auspicious direction.”