Today marks several milestones on the history of BizTalk, it was released originally around this time in 2000 and the latest version has gone into General Availability.
There is a long list of what is new in BizTalk Server 2016, the complete list can be found here, I will highlight the one that will be the most significant to most existing BizTalk Server customers
- SQL Server 2016 AlwaysOn Availability Groups – no more SQL log shipping for DR
- Support for Visual Studio 2015, Windows Server 2016, SQL Server 2016 and Office 2016
- Re-engineered SFTP adapter which will support more SFTP servers
- Shared Access Signature support for WCF Bindings and Service Bus Messaging Adapter
Of all these items in the What New list, the most significant is the SQL Server 2016 AlwaysOn Availability Group support, in my career with BizTalk the biggest challenge at most customers was setting up a proper DR environment and since the release of AlwaysOn Availability Group in SQL 2012, most customers DBA always asked why can’t we use AlwaysOn Availability Groups, and I had to explain that they did not support MSDTC transaction that BizTalk uses MSTDC between database (in both single and multiple SQL Servers) for transactional support. So what has change to make it supported now, heaps; there have been changes to Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 that now allow MSDTC transactions to be supported by AlwaysOn Availability Groups. There are a few very specific details that need to be follow when setting this up for BizTalk, the most notable is that BizTalk requires at least 4 SQL Instances for it’s databases, this is because the current implementation of MSDTC supported by AlwaysOn Availability Groups does not support transaction inside of the same SQL Instance, which BizTalk uses extensively.
If you are interested in talking about how the new features and changes in BizTalk Server 2016 can help your existing BizTalk Infrastructure, please contact me.