Today, Microsoft made two announcements involving its middleware platform, BizTalk. The company released BizTalk service packs that bring RFID to mobile devices. Plus, it released a new beta of BizTalk Server 2009, available to existing BizTalk customers.
RFID support allows companies to tie real-time RFID events to BizTalk business processes (such as connecting pallet whereabouts on the warehouse floor to corporate ERP systems like SAP). The release of RFID Mobile Pack extends BizTalk RFID to Windows Mobile devices. An SDK is also available to allow enterprises and third-parties to develop BizTalk RFID Mobile-based applications. BizTalk Mobile and its SDK will also support more RFID standards such as Tag Data Translation (TDT) and Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP), Microsoft says.
The Microsoft press release notes that Rite Care Pharmacy is a BizTalk RFID Mobile user. Rite Care is using it to perform just-in-time inventory stocking, routing products to locations as soon as the company receives the product from suppliers.
Microsoft first announced RFID support for BizTalk server in September, 2007, by adding it to its Service Pack 2 release of BizTalk Server 2006. Note that Microsoft says only customers who have signed up for Microsoft’s Software Assurance program can get RFID Mobile, although it will be available to SA customers for free. Users will otherwise have to wait to buy BizTalk Server 2009, which will include RFID Mobile.
Speaking of BizTalk Server 2009, another beta was released today. 2009 is built on the latest Microsoft applications including Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 SP1, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, the .Net Framework 3.5 SP1, SQL Server 2008 and it will include support for Hyper-V. It also adds support for Oracle’s E-Business Suite plus updates for IBM’s Customer Information Control System (CICS), Information Management System (IMS), DB2, DB2/400, DB2 Universal Database and WebSphere MQ. It will include support for Microsoft’s group coding tools Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server.
BizTalk is eventually going to be the launching pad for Microsoft’s next big middleware technology, code-named “Oslo.” Oslo was to be Microsoft’s long-awaited attempt to unify the modeling and storage systems of many of its back office server apps. Eventually, if Oslo materializes as promised, Microsoft will be creating a version of BizTalk that integrates BizTalk’s enterprise messaging bus with Visual Studio, Office clients, .Net Framework, WCF, Silverlight and other Microsoft products with workflow and a meta-data repository. But in September, Microsoft delayed on Oslo, saying that BizTalk would continue to be developed as a stand-alone product. The next incarnation of BizTalk 2009 (previously referred to as BizTalk Server 2006 R3) is scheduled to be released first half next year.
Also see Converging on Microsoft Podcast: BizTalk Server 2009 Wins Over Oslo
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