Yes folks, as announced by Microsoft this morning at the Gartner conference,the betas are now available for both BizTalk Server 2009 and ESB Guidance 2.0.

I originally blogged about what’s new in BizTalk Server 2009 here.

Not much has been said publicly about ESB Guidance 2.0, so I will focus on that in this post. Version 2.0 is a solid advance and major new release, building on the prior successful foundation.

One of the most exciting changes is the enhanced flexibility around itinerary assignment. In version 1.0 and the CTP before it, there was a strong focus on Web services as the on-ramp, and the responsibility for setting itinerary headers properly was pushed out to the clients calling the on-ramp. In some cases, this wasn’t realistic, and a more centralized approach was required. I built an itinerary repository for this reason on a project, and I know from my travels that I was not the only one to do this. Now, with ESB Guidance 2.0, you get a repository, and you can specify or resolve itineraries at the on-ramp level.

Another exciting feature is the visual design surface for itineraries. That’s right, Notepad is no longer the official itinerary editing tool 🙂 For now this is a design-time tool hosted in Visual Studio, but an obvious path here is to re-host that in some other tool that would be available at runtime. I submitted that to the team as one of my wish list items, but no promises were made. If this is something you also think would be a good addition, please make your voice heard.

Lastly, another big improvement is around the installation process. Many people had issues installing ESB Guidance 1.0, and the team put a lot of effort into streamlining the process. I heard from one team member that they had actually clocked an install at under 5 minutes, which is a stark contrast to how long it used to take.

New core features are:

  • ESB Configuration tool
  • Centralized itinerary store
  • Itinerary resolver components
  • Itinerary forwarder pipeline component
  • Itinerary selector pipeline component
  • Itinerary designer
  • Centralized configuration uses Enterprise Library 4.0 Configuration Block
  • Centralized caching uses Enterprise Library 4.0 Caching Block
  • Multiple service invocation using both messaging and orchestrations
  • Itinerary BAM tracking
  • Improved ESB Core engine and itinerary execution

You can download the BizTalk Server 2009 is available at, and the ESB Guidance 2.0 beta is at (which is also the home of the ESB Guidance community). Note that ESB Guidance 2.0 is for BizTalk Server 2009 and beyond (only).

Microsoft wants to hear your feedback, and your feedback about the beta could potentially lead to new capabilities in a post-2009 release. So, don’t be shy, let them know what you want.


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