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Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009 Improves RFID Data Collection

Devices may now reliably upload RFID data through a periodic or occasional connection to BizTalk Server, as opposed to a continuous connection.

Microsoft made BizTalk Server 2009 generally available this week with enhanced capability to obtain RFID data from mobile devices and greater support for Windows Server 2008.

BizTalk is Microsoft's integration server software or middleware used to link diverse applications and systems together and allow them to exchange data. It can provide connections into SAP applications or those from Oracle's E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel Systems. The Server has a total of 25 application adapters.

With this version, BizTalk can connect more easily to mobile devices that are frequently used to collect RFID data in the field. BizTalk recognizes Tag Data Translation, Low Level Reader Protocol, and EPC Information Services Standard, all used in formatting RFID data. Now it can collect that data off of any mobile devices powered by Windows Mobile, the edition of Windows geared for use on handheld devices. The devices may reliably upload RFID data through a periodic or occasional connection to BizTalk Server, as opposed to a continuous connection, said Darrell Cavens, director of BizTalk product management.

"We're trying to make sure we produce a broad connectivity server that matches up to what's needed for people to use," said Cavens in an interview.

BizTalk Server, with its greater integration with Windows 2008, can run under the Hyper-V hypervisor and function in a virtual machine.

It also includes enhanced business activity monitoring and can report o the data collected by a particular business process and simplify access to the data.

With this release, Microsoft said it is putting BizTalk on a predictable, two-year regular upgrade cycle. The 2009 version works with Visual Studio Team System 2008's project management, test, and deployment features, making it easier to maintain and update BizTalk applications through their life cycle. BizTalk Server is priced at $1,800 in its Branch edition, used as a feeder system to a central BizTalk Server; the edition is limited to running on one- or two-CPU servers. The Standard edition is priced at $8,499 per CPU and can run on up to two CPUs. The unlimited CPU Enterprise edition is priced at $34,999, Cavens said. There's also a $499 developer edition.

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