The future of BizTalk Server
It is the morning after #integrate2018 and the world has changed somewhat for us BizTalk fans.There are a lot of theories on it, and I woke up with a lot of tweets, apps, questions, theories and a debate on BizTalk's death. The question of the day seems to be: Will BizTalk live to fight another day?A simple search on twitter reveals the current confusion.While some parties think they heard Microsoft say BizTalk will be standing strong, while others clearly saw a "LogicApps are the future" kind of vibe coming from the Microsoft Team.
Microsoft has not given a straight forward on this during Q and A on #Integrate2018, instead, they answered the question about BizTalk vNext with a clear but confusing "We are concentrating on LogicApps first". They did however steer away from on-prem BizTalk scenarios during the entire event. BizTalk2016 was a factor in a lot of presentations but was often referred to as "On-prem connector to Azure features". Most sessions concentrated on LogicApps, Azure functions, ServiceBus and Azure Stack, and how to use BizTalk2016 to connect to them.There was however a BizTalk Roadmap stating a BizTalk vNext in Q3 of this year. Why would they have put this on a roadmap if there would not be any serious plans to go there?
Also, Program Manager Valarie Robb stated "As to the next version of BizTalk - we are doing our roadmap planning and it will likely be available in 2019 with a CTP version available at some point in 2018".
Other than this, there is no clear statement to be found on any Microsoft page about BizTalk's future.
I have spoken to a few integration experts on the topic in the last few days while visiting Integrate, and most of them seem to believe there will be a vNext for BizTalk, or at least updates and new features for BizTalk2016 to keep moving forward (or should I say up, towards the cloud?). Sandro Pereira stated that it is too soon to look at BizTalk vNext, since Windows Server vNext has not been released yet. I have spoken to him about it he shares my below opinion (hopes), Feature pack 4 for BizTalk2016 AND BizTalk vNext will come. Another interesting post by Michael Stephenson, after looking at BizTalk life support and comparing it to its competitors, states;
"My interpretation of the Mulesoft position compared to BizTalk is that the current version of Mulesoft has committed support for 2 years less than the current version of BizTalk and extended support for 5 years less than the current version of BizTalk."
I do believe there will be at least one more BizTalk version coming, which will help us move the BizTalk solutions entirely to the cloud.To me, BizTalk still the most capable integration platform on the market. Azure is catching up fast, but for now it is (just) a collection of building blocks in a world that is asking for a complete and standardized package or solution. Microsoft's so-called Citizen Developers need those kind of ready-to-go integration solutions, and for that, BizTalk Server is still on top.