I attended the Microsoft SOA and BP conference this week in Redmond where they announced their plans for future of connected systems (the division responsible for BizTalk, WCF, WF, AD, and much more). You can read more about the announcement and what impacted products are on the Microsoft SOA site. What I found most interesting is that this effort is not just about the Connected Systems Division (CSD) but also includes the Developer Division with the next release of Visual Studio and the .NET Framework, as well as the System Center products. The close alliance of those product groups is something we don’t often see from Microsoft and can only be better for customers as we’ll get a better story about using those products together.
Now being a BizTalk/WCF/WF guy, I’m pretty interested in how all of those technologies get impacted by the modeling and management tools as well as how the integration of these technologies continues to improve. It’s only going to get better, but like all technology, we’ll continue to have things to learn and understand about these technologies and how they get leveraged in different environments.
Most interesting to me is that the keynote included information stating that CTPs and Betas would be available in 2008. That makes this stuff much more real for the near term than say a 5 year timeline. Microsoft obviously won’t be able to create the entire vision in a single release of each product, but the next phase is pretty exciting and being able to get your hands on the technology and see what they are doing and thinking can be critical as you plan for your future projects. It’s also a great way to give feedback and help direct the product team about what is important to you as a customer. They really do listen, even if you don’t always get exactly what you want, significant changes happen based on customer feedback.
We also had our two day pre-conference training on the new features in BizTalk R2 and .NET 3.5. In addition we had some fun talking about “Astoria” and BizTalk Services which are emerging technologies built on WCF and other CSD technologies that provide some really compelling options for messaging and data access. The class went really well and we’re thinking about making it available as a seminar course for people who want to get a good deep dive into the broad range of technologies. Let us know if you are interested in the class for your company.