How should I design my environment? What OS version? SQL Edition? BizTalk license? Etc. Etc. I get these questions frequently.

The only one true answer to this question is the architects favorite – “it depends”. And once you know the requirements – some of the things on which it depends – it will still be closely followed by its companion: “We need to test to know”.

Still, I think everyone has their favorite configuration – that they then add or deduct from based on the requirements. I do. This is how it goes.


Four. Two SQL, Two BizTalk.
Why? High availability for SQL and BizTalk. Load balancing on BizTalk machines.


Windows Server 2008 (R2) Enterprise, on all machines.
Why? Clustering. Plain and simple.

SQL Edition

SQL Server 2008 (R2) Standard, on the SQL boxes.
Why? Off the BizTalk environments I have worked with they have only very seldom gone beyond two machines which is the only real limitation with Standard that I care about. I know of limitations to RTA in BAM and of performance gains with Enterprise, and sometimes that may be required – but not as a baseline.

SQL Instances

Four SQL Server Instances: BizTalkMgmt, DTA, BAM, MsgBox.
Why? Prepare for and maximize scale-out possibility. Simplify IO division. Help with memory reservation.


Three disks per instance: Data, Log and TempDb. Baseline is 40, 20, 15 GB. Varies with requirements.
SAN if available.
Why? Disks are un-expensive. IO is core to SQL. SQL is core to BizTalk.

BizTalk Edition

BizTalk Server 2009/2010 Enterprise
Why? Number one reason – you want to be able to go beyond a single server: Because you want load balancing and high availability.


Not in my baseline.
Why? Could be a requirement with certain customers and it certainly works, but I would recommend physical machines because I think it gives more bang for the buck. BizTalk can many times be a processor, memory and IO intensive application.


Quad cores for sure, Hexa or Octo if availability permits. One proc per server is enough with this amount of cores as a baseline. Requirements like high throughput messaging and processing may cause it to rise.
Why? Same as above. Higher ROI with multi-core.


4 GB minimum for a 64-bit OS, preferably 8GB or more total memory on BizTalk Servers.
At least 16GB on the SQL machines.
Why? Memory is a cheap commodity right now. Not the right place to be cheap.


The above is in no way thorough. It wasn’t meant to be. There is no “One Truth”. I stress that I call it a Baseline. It was meant to be a brief overview. It’s based on the most common questions and the most common requirements for my customers. Consider your own requirements. Mine might not match yours. “It depends”


What’s your baseline? Where does it differ? Where have you drawn the same conclusions?