Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where does 'Dublin' leave BizTalk Server?

Last Friday, I caught up with Microsoft's Burley Kawasaki, director of product management in the company's Connected Systems Division, and asked him a question that had been burning in my mind ever since he briefed me on Microsoft's "Dublin" application server technology: Where does Dublin leave BizTalk Server?

Dublin is an add-on that extends Windows Server's Application Server Role with infrastructure code to handle composite applications that have workflow oriented processes. Put simply, it executes XAML-based applications. That is significant because Microsoft's upcoming "Oslo" wave of development products serialize "M" application models into XAML. That made me question why customers would be to install BizTalk.

Dublin is complementary to BizTalk; it targets different workloads, Kawasaki said. "Integration [which BizTalk provides] is a separate [need] from customers that want to build customer applications and have an application server to run it in." Dublin and BizTalk will remain separately packaged offerings, he added. "They will be used together in many cases."

For example, BizTalk will be required when an application needs to connect to a mainframe, or conversely, when an ESB needs to connect to a back end, yet needs custom application logic, he said. Kawasaki acknowledged that Microsoft needs to provide more customer guidance.

"BizTalk will continue to be a key component in the Dublin/Oslo world. However, just how it will fit in is still a bit murky. I expect more announcements on this front in the near future," Forrester principal analyst Ken Vollmer wrote in an e-mail.

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