Where is BizTalk 2016 R2?
Over the past 18 years we’ve received our dose of BizTalk versions, however, suddenly it is 2018 and there is no sign of BizTalk 2016 R2! Many of our customers call us panicking and wondering if BizTalk is being discontinued or replaced by Azure’s Logic Apps. In this blog, I’ll address what Microsoft’s BizTalk product roadmap has been, and what their intent is moving forward.
First of all, it is important to remember that Microsoft has released many versions of BizTalk Server throughout the years, and each with an intent to match and support Windows, SQL, Excel and Visual Studio’s versions. Here at Art2link, we’ve watched carefully how this has evolved, and many of these decisions have affected our advice to our customers.
BizTalk Product Roadmap Evolution
For reference, here’s the list of BizTalk versions made available to support compatibility. Keep in mind that this is not a table of compatibility but a table that represents the product roadmap evolution:
|Windows||SQL Server||Excel||Visual Studio|
|BizTalk 2006||2003 R2||2005||2000||2005|
|BizTalk 2006 R2||2003 R2||2005||XP||2005|
|BizTalk 2010||2008 R2||2008 R2||2007||2010|
|BizTalk 2013 R2||2012 R2||2014||2013||2013|
Support for new production versions is not the only reason to release a new version of BizTalk, new version releases also support new features. In this article, we’re focusing only on the product roadmap, though, so if you’re looking for features support, keep googling.
Microsoft’s New Approach: Product Updates
Now, back to our original question. Where is BizTalk 2016 R2? After the release of Windows 10 Microsoft decided to follow Apple’s approach to general OS product roadmaps, and instead of every 2 years releasing a new version of Windows, to simply release product Updates. This solves a lot of problems, such as the need for new Driver development, new deployments, reimaging, etc. This approach seems to have worked for other organizations, and it seems to be so far successful for the Windows Operating System as well. Our guess is that this same approach has been applied to the BizTalk product after the release of 2016 version.
Feature Updates or Feature Packs
Then the question comes, if there is no BizTalk 2016 R2, then where can I get updates? Well, we’ve always had cumulative updates for all BizTalk versions, but now Microsoft has released a new concept called Feature Updates or Feature Packs. As of this month of August 2018, BizTalk 2016 has 3 Feature Packs available.
This, for some of our clients wasn’t proof enough that BizTalk v.Next wasn’t out of the picture. For these clients Microsoft released an official statement where they explain clearly that BizTalk is not going anywhere, disappearing or being replaced by Logic Apps, you can follow this conversation <here>.
Don’t panic just yet, and don’t call your Microsoft Sales Reps. If Microsoft decides to discontinue BizTalk, they would make an announcement, provide guidelines and tools to migrate to whatever they’re replacing it with. And keep in mind, you would still have about 7 years from the latest BizTalk release to move off it before Microsoft discontinued support.
BizTalk Server has never been stronger than now, and we, as Integration Experts and Gold Certified Partners since 2007 will make sure that you are the first to find out if and when we need to collectively change gears.
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