(EDI) Features in Biztalk Server 2006 R2

Another common ask is a summary of the EDI features supported in R2.


Instead of writing it out, I thought it would be more interesting to the audience to read about it via a review. So here is a link to the review, in form of a blog. This person compiled this review based of my session at TechEd in Boston in June 2006 and has done a great job in crisply presenting an overview of the product!








Comments (8)
  1. vibe_lover says:

    The features in R2 sound very close to what Covast claims they bring to the table with their EDI Accelerator.  Do these features eliminate the need for Covast, or are there still gaps with what they offer vs. what BizTalk will provide?  I have been looking at the Covast solution, and his list is very close to the list of why to buy Covast.  Maybe "written from scratch" meant, bought the Covast EDI developers.

  2. EdiBlog says:

    Hello Vibe:

    Covast are and continue to be a Microsoft partner; however the EDI solution in BizTalk 2006 R2 development is TOTALLY independent of Covast.

    We do believe that the R2 EDI Solution does provide ‘comprehensive’ support for X12 and EDIFACT interchange processing.



  3. vibe_lover says:


    Thanks for the reply.  Covast’s stand is that the R2 release will still be low level EDI compared to what they bring to the table.  My dilemma is whether or not to go with the Covast solution, or wait until Sept (date Covast uses) to see how comprehensive the R2 solution is.  

    My apologies for bothering you on this blog, but the EDI enhancements with R2 make it hard for us to justify the purchase of the Covast solution.  Especially since someone like yourself working with R2 truly believes that the EDI solution in R2 will actually be comprehensive enough for a major EDI implementation.

    Still torn,


  4. EdiBlog says:

    Hello again Vibe:

    I totally empathize with your dilemma.

    Here is how i can help: on this blog – you list out the top ‘n’ feature asks of your project and I will confirm R2 support on them.

    At get go, please remember that R2 supports a set of encoding/standards listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/biztalkb2b/archive/2006/10/14/edi-support-in-biztalk-server-2006-r2.aspx and if you require support for other standards (e.g., TRADACOM) you would need to consider other solutions. Something else to consider is that the R2 EDI solution is included in the BizTalk Server licensing – meaning you don’t have to pay additional for this R2 EDI and AS2 technology!



  5. vibe_lover says:


    I appreciate your responses, and I will do my best to detail what we are looking for.  I have been waiting for Covast to get me a list of what they think they will still do for BizTalk once R2 is released, but I doubt they even know at this point.  Especially not knowing if R2 will deliver all that is promised.

    Here are a few things that I think would be required for a complete EDI solution:

    1. Trading Partner Management.  With 50-100 TP, ease of setup and maint is crucial to a large EDI implementation .  Most people I talk to say this is probably the biggest strike against going with a BT solution for EDI since TP setup and management is not very easy.  Also, the ability to modify header values during setup is very valuable.

    2. Easy to use and setup AS1, AS2, FTP transports.  I work with many partners using EAI/B2B software and their AS2 setups seem to be very difficult.  Others using Templar or Cyclone go very smoothly.

    3. EDI schema modification and reuse.  As anyone who uses EDI will know, EDI is far from standard.  Many schemas will have to be tweaked, and used specifically for that TP.

    4. Reporting.  Either in HAT or in BT Admin console.

        a. 997 validation reports.  i.e. Not Acknowledged reports and EDI error reports

        b. Document tracking using ISA info, or detail info.  Searchable by TP, Doc type, or date/time

    5. Batching is important since many TPs do not want a bunch of individual transactions or increased VAN charges.  Along this line is an EDIFACT TAXCON, which for invoice files is a summary of the tax info for the batch.  I would be curious to know if anyone is working on a way to handle this since in EMEA this is quite important.

    6. Reprocessing an EDI document.  If the error is on our side the TP would hope that we could fix our issue, and reprocess the inbound documents.  

    7.  Access to the original raw EDI data.  This may be more of a general BizTalk question than specific EDI question, but many times we have to go back to the raw data to see why a doc will not translate, fix something, and reprocess.

    I understand that several of these points were covered in your linked doc, but I am hoping you can elaborate on the extent of support for them.  

    Thanks again for your time,


  6. EdiBlog says:

    Hello Mike:

    I believe we support the features you list above. I shall be happy to work with you on a 1 on 1 basis with demos, product access etc.

    Please use the email link on this blog to establish contact. For the larger blog audience i will respond in detail via this blog.



  7. roger.linker says:


    We are new to BizTalk and have a few questions.

    • Do we need a VAN to send and receive EDI to Trading Partners that are using a VAN?

    • Do we need Covast EDI Accelerator to send and receive EDI to and from a VAN?

    • We noticed support for only 5 applications under the standard version.  What would be considered an application? Will connections to more applications be availible in R2?



  8. EdiBlog says:

    Hello Roger,

    This is Tony Bernard. Suren has moved on to other opportunities within Microsoft and I am filling in for him.

    Regarding your questions:

    If your trading partners want all of their EDI traffic to flow through their VAN then you would need to establish a mailbox (i.e. an account) with that VAN or another VAN that has an interconnect. However, many companies use a VAN for certain categories of traffic and are open to direct connects with other partners so you should explore this possibility with your trading partner.

    You will be able to send traffic to VAN using BizTalk 2006 R2 and therefore will not need the Covast EDI Accelerator for that purpose. R2 has built in support for AS/2 or you can use the FTP adapter which is probably the most common protocol that VANS use.

    An application is just a logical grouping of BizTalk artifacts (ports, orchestrations, maps, schemas, etc.) used in a solution. They are useful to organize commonly used artifacts and for facilitating deployment. Regarding the max number, this is more general BizTalk 2006 R2 question so you might want to confirm through other channels, but as far as I know we haven’t changed the Standard Edition limits for R2.

    I hope that helps.



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