Microsoft BizTalk Server is a platform that allows companies to integrate different systems, different applications and heterogeneous data in order to create solutions for processes such as order processing and payments between different applications, supply chain management, business-to-business electronic data exchange, decision making real-time and reporting, etc.
BizTalk is an implementation of Microsoft's cutting-edge technologies, used to enable business application integration, business process automation, B2B communication, messaging and business activity tracking. This platform offers a wide range of adapters that are designed to communicate with specific software systems used in organizations.
What BizTalk offers
In the era of e-business, complex business processes often involve multiple partner organizations to execute (customers, suppliers, payment providers, banks, stock exchanges, sponsors, SMS providers, e-mail providers, etc.). This is exactly the environment where BizTalk Server comes into the focus.
BizTalk allows companies to integrate and manage automated business processes through the exchange of business files, such as purchase orders and invoices, between different applications, within or outside the organization itself.
BizTalk Server is a platform for larger organizations. If you run a small online shop, custom software will probably be enough to serve it. But if your business involves processing thousands or millions of transactions on a daily basis, with strict SLAs, with electronic communication with various business partners and companies, then your company needs a reliable platform that can support the current needs of your business, but also has potential to scale along with the growth in the volume of your business.
Advantages of BizTalk Server
If your business involves processing a large amount of requests or documents, in an environment that includes different business partners and their systems, it is necessary to have a reliable platform that takes into account each of these requests, in every situation. BizTalk Server can provide transaction processing with “zero lost messages”, which is crucial in critical systems and applications, such as financial transactions.
If your system requires high-availability 24/7 data processing, BizTalk Server is here to support it.
Once a message has entered the system, you can monitor its life cycle at any time, even in situations where some of the partner systems become unavailable or in the case of a system failure.
In case your business involves B2B integration with various applications or legacy systems of the older generation, BizTalk offers a wide range of adapters that make it easier to communicate with these systems.
If you are developing an enterprise information system from scratch, BizTalk Server is a robust, reliable long-term partner. In Gartner’s magic quadrant for integration platforms, he has been a leader for the past decade.
And if you already have an information system, built over the years, using different technologies, and consisting of various stand-alone subsystems and applications, BizTalk allows your company to integrate business processes into a single enterprise-level information system, which as such easily integrates with external systems, in a reliable and transparent way.
BizTalk Server provides technological support for the implementation of the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). It ensures the development of your information system in a standardized way, using industry-defined protocols such as EDI, XML, XSLT, SOAP, HTTP, FTP, JSON, POP3, SFTP, SMTP, etc.
A wide range of adapters allows integration with many well-known line-of-business applications such as SAP, Oracle, IBM DB2, IBM mainframe, IBM WebSphere MQ, Siebel, Tibco, Java EE, but also integration with other Microsoft products such as Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, etc.
It has built-in electronic data interchange (EDI) functionalities according to X12 and EDIFACT standards, as well as optional accelerators for standards such as SWIFT, HL7, HIPAA, etc.
One of the components of the BizTalk server is the powerful Business Rule Engine, which allows a dynamic change of business rules or business process flow, during system operation – without interruption. Business rules can be very complex, and regardless of the complexity, their execution will still be high performance, thanks to the implemented Rete algorithm.
The Business Activity Monitor allows your processes to be visible via the dashboard. At any time, you can see which messages are being processed, the business services that are currently running, and what their current status is.
Vertical and horizontal scaling can be achieved by simply adding additional resources.
Central management tool
BizTalk Server offers a unique central management tool, which allows administrative operators to manage, monitor and fine-tune the system, through an intuitive graphical interface. This tool is designed to support changes to the system during operation, without interruption or any other impact on system performance. This includes operations such as:
• Redirecting process execution to other suppliers or service providers;
• Starting, pausing or terminating the execution of the process;
• Addition / removal of additional recipients of requests, who are interested in the same process;
• Prioritizing and optimizing processes and their consumption of system resources;
• Installing and running a new version of the application in parallel with previous versions, etc.
The key functions of the BizTalk Server are:
• Better support for setting up, monitoring and managing applications
• Significantly easier installation
• Improved Business Activity Monitoring BAM
Development for BizTalk Server is done through Microsoft Visual Studio. A programmer can create transformation maps by transforming one type of message into another. Messages within BizTalk are implemented through XML documents and defined with XML schemas in the XSD standard. The maps are implemented with the XSLT standard. The orchestrations were realized with the xLANG process language compatible with WS-BPEL. Schemes, maps, pipelines, and orchestrations are created visually using graphical tools in Microsoft Visual Studio. Additional functionality can be provided by .NET assemblies that can be called from existing modules – including, for example, orchestrations, maps, pipelines, business rules.
BizTalk Server provides a set of visual tools and guides for:
• Presentation of business services as a web service through IIS (Internet Information Services);
• Defining a formal definition of business process flow;
• Visual monitoring of the orchestration of the process;
• Visually defining the structure of your electronic documents (XML or text formats) and how they are transformed into other forms of documents;
• Secure storage of sensitive parameters such as passwords and credentials;
• Defining the service catalog and its presentation via UDDI to your clients, etc.