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BizTalk is a key component of Microsoft's .net strategy for Web services. The company is promoting this latest version as "a point release" and a stepping-stone to .net Web services.
New features include management links to the Microsoft Operations Manager and "seed" technology designed to facilitate B2B data exchanges.
Explaining the concept of seed technology, Mark Buckley, server solutions marketing manager at Microsoft said that in the past users had to establish B2B connections at both ends of the relationship to transfer data. The seed works like a pre-packaged description of the data that one partner in the business relationship can send to the other.
BizTalk ties Microsoft's XML strategy to its messaging and transaction server middleware.
A number of users have deployed systems built on it. Recently Lloyds TSB began using BizTalk for online credit reference checking.
Under the new system clients enter a credit query online. The request is then delivered via Internet data standard XML to the Biztalk server, which passes the query on to a SQL server. BizTalk is also the underlying architecture inside the Government Gateway.