Microsoft announced that BizTalk Server 2006 R2 will ship in September.
In the B2B area it offers key new features like:
- EDI support (i.e. much improved)
- Availability Statement 2 (AS2) support
- Prebuilt integration with SharePoint Server
- Broader Enterprise SSO
In the area of SOA, BPM, Workflow, ESB it also includes significant new offerings like:
- ESB Guidance: prescriptive guidance and pre-built reference architectures for Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) functionality – using BizTalk Server and WCF to simplify and accelerate the development of service-oriented architectures.
- BPM & WF: through the Microsoft Business Process Alliance (BPA), Microsoft is providing support for a powerful set of end-to-end tools for automating and optimizing business processes. This includes partner solutions for BizTalk Server 2006 R2 in the areas of business process modeling and analysis, business rules management, human-centric workflow, and process simulation. See here for more info about the BPA alliance.
Going further in this area: the roadmap is that the next version of BizTalk Server will be built atop Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation. The goal is to raise the level of abstraction in creating process-centric composite applications by providing support for models and development tools.
Check here for more info about the Biztalk roadmap.