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Microsoft Releases Feature Pack 1 for BizTalk Server 2016

| by Kent Weare Follow 9 Followers on Apr 26, 2017. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

On April 26th 2017, Microsoft released Feature Pack 1 for BizTalk Server 2016. This is the first time Microsoft has provided a Feature Pack for BizTalk Server and it provides customers with new capabilities in the areas of Deployment, Analytics and the BizTalk Runtime.

Feature Pack 1 is available for Software Assurance customers running BizTalk Server 2016 Developer and Enterprise editions or customers running BizTalk Server 2016 in Azure under an Enterprise Agreement.

BizTalk Server 2016 is the 10th release of the integration platform and was released last October. While Microsoft regularly issues Cumulative Updates to address bugs or defects, this release focuses on additional innovation for customers. Feature Pack 1 is ready for production workloads and is non-breaking. Within the Feature Pack, customers can expect the following features:

Deployment:

  • Deploy with VSTS – Enable Continuous Integration to automatically deploy and update applications using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS)
  • New management APIs – Manage your environment remotely using the new REST APIs with full Swagger support

Analytics:

  • Application Insights – Tap into the power of Azure for tracking valuable application performance and to better understand your workflow
  • Leverage operational data – View operational data from anywhere and with any device using Power BI

Runtime:

  • Support for Always Encrypted – Use the WCF-SQL adapter to connect to SQL Server secure Always Encrypted columns
  • Advanced Scheduling - Set up advanced schedules within Receive Locations

InfoQ had the opportunity to chat with Tord Glad Nordahl, a program manager at Microsoft, about the new Feature Pack. Here is what he had to say.

InfoQ: Feature pack includes some new analytical capabilities. How do you envision customers using these new features?

Tord Glad Nordahl: There has been pain points getting the right insight into your environment and workflow. Forcing the user to stay on one tool isn't where IT is going. Instead, leveraging the best of other tools to build the product was an overall commitment in this release. Our new analytics features allow you take advantage of the power of tools built for creating analytics and showing visuals based on data. These features will benefit all of our customers, letting them extend the capabilities around monitoring and analytics, like finding the average file size of your application or average duration of a port process.

InfoQ: Developers have often relied upon community tools to perform automated BizTalk deployments; how will the Deploy with VSTS feature improve developer productivity?

Nordahl: I have to say, the community tools are great and I've used plenty of them in the past, but as a part of the path going forward we wanted to ensure that we made strong efforts into our ALM story. This automatic deployment through Visual Studio Team Service is step 1.

InfoQ: How do you envision developers, or administrators, using the new Management REST APIs?

Nordahl: The possibilities are endless. You can build monitoring solutions, implement the new APIs into your current ALM tools, and even help you migrate or make sure your development environment is the same as production. I love to see and hear about all the scenarios our customers are going to use it for, and all the tools we'll see from the community.

InfoQ: Can customers expect to see additional Feature Packs for BizTalk Server 2016?

Nordahl: Yes they can. This is our first step- it will be fun to see and share the next step.

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