There was lot of discussion about BizTalk Server being on soon-to-be-dead back in 2011. Rumours continued to spread after that and lots of good and bad future estimations were made.
Microsoft has clearly stated in BizTalk Summit 2012, TechReady 16, TechEd 2012 and TechEd 2013 that “there is not a limit to future versions of BizTalk Server, that there will be more releases, that our release cadence will be roughly every 2 years as it has been for the past 13 years“.
Whats the situation today? Microsoft has released BizTalk Server 2013 on and Azure IaaS virtual versions. BizTalk 2013 has only few new features other than cloud connectivity like support for SFTP and few updated adapters. Those and support for latest MS SQL Server seem to be only palliative care for on-premises server.
As IaaS version is only about changing current hosting party to Azure, the future lies with recently released Windows Azure BizTalk Services (WABS). As this is written BizTalk Services are still at preview stage so on-premises BizTalk Server 2013 was needed – to keep their promises about release cadence of roughly every 2 years and to prepare for hybrid-phase in cloud adoption.
Microsoft has also announced that they are “all-in for the cloud”. It seems that Microsoft is right now transferring it’s integration platform to cloud service via probably quite long-term hybrid integration phase. During this hybrid phase we’ll hopefully see new functional features as well as modern user interfaces for Biztalk Services released to cloud version.
BizTalk Server remains to be the on-premises client to cloud services. I wouldn’t be surprized to see 2016 version of on-premises version – update might be needed again to at least support latest MS SQL server and Visual Studio. As the hybrid-phase could take long, there might also be plan for migrating BizTalk Server features to Windows Server platform itself. This way Microsoft could enforce the use of cloud by limiting the on-premises part to cloud connectivity and client features. This is just a hunch though.