All you need to know about BizTalk 2016 Feature Pack Updates
September 2018 Update
What are BizTalk 2016 Feature Pack Updates?
As many of you are already aware, Microsoft stopped making a new version of Windows every 2 years (for many reasons), and started releasing cumulative updates instead. BizTalk is now being treated with that same approach. Instead of releasing new versions of the same product that have very small differences, Microsoft has started releasing Feature Updates or Feature Packs; including BizTalk 2016 Feature Pack Updates.
BizTalk 2016 Feature Pack Updates are installed on top of your existing Developer or Enterprise Edition of BizTalk 2016, to acquire new features without having to do a whole new deployment to access those features.
But you can’t just download and install it when you feel like it. . .
Yes, that’s right. There are important licensing implications.
To be compliant with your BizTalk 2016 Feature Update Pack licensing, you need to be using Enterprise or Developer edition, and fall in one of these categories:
- Customers with “Software Assurance” licensing model.
- Customers with “Azure Enterprise Agreements” licensing model. Meaning that you are paying for your BizTalk license via the Azure consumption licensing model, not hybrid nor BOL license model.
- You have an MSDN license, and you install it for non-production purposes.
What about cumulative updates?
As you might have noticed, once you install the Feature Pack Update, you need to stick to it. You can’t install a cumulative update on top of a Feature Pack Update. Feature pack updates are released with the latest available cumulative update incorporated in them at the time of release, however you will notice that the cumulative update released with the feature update is one version lower than the latest available cumulative update, that’s because that was the latest version available when they were testing the release.
Feature Pack Update Installation process
Installing a Feature Pack Update is not as simple as installing a cumulative update. This is because in many cases new adapters are installed, which requires connecting to the BizTalk databases, and verifying the compatibility of objects, artifacts, assemblies or components.
So far, we’ve ran into many issues installing feature pack updates, and have seen many of our clients complaining about the installation process for Feature Pack Updates.
For this reason, in most cases we simply don’t recommend the Feature Pack Update unless we see a feature that it urgently needed as part of that particular feature pack.
List of Features released thus far with Feature Pack Updates
|Feature Pack 1||Send tracking data to Application Insights||Send tracking data to Azure Application Insights to use its features, such as analytics, machine learning, diagnostics, and more.|
|Configure the operational data feed using Power BI||Send tracking data to Power BI using oData. For example, get a visual representation of your tracking data from your ports and orchestrations.|
|Connect to the management REST APIs in BizTalk||Use REST APIs to remotely manage your BizTalk artifacts, including agreements, suspended instances, unenlisted orchestrations, and more.|
|Configure advanced scheduling||Enable advanced scheduling in your receive locations. For example, set the timezone, or set a recurrence service window for a specific day on a specific month.|
|Configure automatic deployments with VSTS||Use Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) to automatically deploy your solutions, or update existing applications. VSTS communicates with an agent installed on the BizTalk Server.|
|Connect to SQL Server Always Encrypted columns with BizTalk Server||Use the WCF-SQL adapter to query encrypted columns from an Always Encrypted database in SQL Server.|
|Integrate with API Management||Within your Azure API management service, you can create and expose an API as WSDL, and use the URI to a BizTalk SOAP endpoint.|
|Feature Pack 2||Expose SOAP endpoints with API Management||Expanding on the API management integration made with Feature Pack 1, you can now expose a WCF-BasicHTTP receive location as a SOAP endpoint using the BizTalk Server Administration console.|
|Use the Event Hub adapter||Send messages from BizTalk to Azure Event Hubs, and receive messages from Azure Event Hubs to BizTalk Server. When you configure the transport properties, you can easily sign in to your Azure account, and automatically select your Azure Event Hubs namespace, and Event Hub.|
|Backup to Azure blob account||The Backup BizTalk Server job backs up the BizTalk databases and log files. When you configure this SQL Agent job, you can enter an Azure blob storage account within the job properties. This gives you another option to backup your data, instead of using a local physical disk.|
|Multi-machine deployment using VSTS||Using deployment groups, you can deploy your applications to multiple BizTalk Servers. You can also set the application name within the application project, and install your application by entering your management server.|
|Use Service Bus Premium||The Service Bus adapter supports Service Bus Premium, including sending messages to partitioned queues and topics. Service Bus Premium and Standard messaging tiers details more about Service Bus Premium.|
|Use named instances with Application Insights||You can use SQL default instances, and SQL named instances.|
|TLS 1.2 support||TLS 1.2 is fully supported in BizTalk Server, including all the adapters and all the accelerators. You can disable SSL, TLS 1.0, and TLS 1.1 on the BizTalk Server.|
|Use latest Newtonsoft JSON||Newtonsoft is a JSON framework for .NET. In this feature pack, support for version 10.0.3 is included. Download v. 10.0.3 directly from NuGet.|
|Feature Pack 3||Office 365 Mail adapter||Using the BizTalk Adapter for Office 365 Mail, you can read, mark as read or delete Outlook e-mail messages through one-way BizTalk Server receive locations. Using this adapter, you can write e-mail message, including setting message priority, through one-way static or dynamic BizTalk Server send ports.|
Download your BizTalk 2016 Feature Pack Updates here
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