Microsoft sees uptake on BizTalk server

Count Microsoft among players seeing success in SOA. In recent Magic Quadrant results, Gartner confirms Microsoft leadership position in several types of application integration.

Count Microsoft among the players that are still seeing success in the area of SOA, despite the rumors of its demise,

"Regardless of the hype, we actually are seeing a significant amount of customer interest in doing SOA," said Burley Kawasaki, director of Microsoft's connected systems division. Kawasaki spoke last week from the Microsoft SOA & Business Process Conference in Redmond, Wash.

The company is also touting its positioning in the latest round of Gartner Application Integration quality quadrants, where it is marked as a leader in several instances, including Application Infrastructure for Back-End Application Integration Projects.

The Microsoft SOA, BPM and legacy modernization effort relies very much on BizTalk server. By some estimates BizTalk Server now holds an installed base of more than 8,000 customers, most of these on the newer versions of the server.

"I think [the Gartner positioning] validates our decade of investment," said Kawasaki. "A ten-year Web services effort has laid a foundation for the next stage."

Microsoft BizTalk software is a good fit at Accuride, a maker of motor vehicle products, David Stefanich, Chief Information Officer at the company. With 2007 revenues of $1.0 billion, Accuride still takes a modest approach to IT funding, according Stefanich, who took part in the Redmond event.

''We have been a Microsoft shop, '' he said. That includes a SQL Server back-end, and development done in C#. Stefanich said his team was looking to cut down on the number of partner-specific documents it had to handle in an established EDI application. ''In the market there are quite a few EDI document formats,'' he said. ''Now we have standardized that all internally.''

BizTalk R2 ''fit in pretty well,'' he said. ''I think of it as a BPM engine that can handle ETL transactions because it has a workflow constituent and a translation constituent.''

With SOA, said Stefanich, it is important to start small but to think long-term. It helps early on to get adoption, he said.

To both the business side and the developer side, he points out that the goal is ''benefit to customers – it's not about widgets.''

For its part, Gartner sees a general trend in application integration in which big vendors like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle have reached functional parity with integration specialists' offerings.

Gartner noted that Microsoft has the ability to attract large numbers of independent software vendors to create BizTalk Server apps, but cautioned that, despite partnerships, there are no products for managing and implementing policy and life-cycle management integrated with BizTalk Server. Like others, Gartner also noted that BizTalk Server hosting is limited to the Windows environment.

Related Application Integration information
Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for SOA Composite Application Projects – Gartner
Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for New Systematic SOA Application Projects – Gartner
Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Back-End Application Integration Projects - Garnter

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