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Introducing BizTalk Server, Host Integration Server and Commerce Server
23 Apr 2007
Microsoft has introduced a range of solutions for integrated and flexible business infrastructure. The three servers that are in discussion are BizTalk Server, Commerce Server and the Host Integration Server. This article discusses these three servers, their benefits and applicability in the world of distributed, scalable, flexible computing.
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Microsoft has come up with a range of servers that are
targeted at building "an integrated and flexible business infrastructure."
This is simply an introductory article that targets at providing an overview of
BizTalk Server, Commerce Server and the Host Integration Servers and their
benefits and applicability in the world of distributed, scalable, flexible
computing. There are a lot of features and benefits provided by each of these
servers and if they are covered in their entirety, this article would run into
a huge number of pages. Keeping this in mind, I have provided a briefing on the
most important of these features so as to provide the reader a ready guide to
the concepts, features and benefits of each of these servers.
The following sections discuss the Microsoft BizTalk, Host
Integration and Commerce Servers, their applicability, features and benefits.
|Microsoft BizTalk Server|
Prior to an understanding on what actually BizTalk Server is
and how it fits in an enterprise, we should have a proper understanding of
business processes. The Workflow Management Coalition (WFMC) defines a business
process as "a set of one or more linked procedures or activities which
collectively realize a business objective or policy goal, normally within the
context of an organizational structure defining functional roles and
relationships." It is a sequence of one or more related, structured
activities that has a clearly stated objective and a deliverable or outcome. Business
Processes, Workflow and Business Process Management are related. Workflow and
Business Process Management address the need of automation of business
processes. The Workflow Management Coalition defines workflow as "the automation
of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents, information,
or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a
set of procedural rules." With BPM, you can bridge the gap between
business and technology. It is a new concept that merges, or rather, integrates
business and Information Technology. Read more on this topic at my article on
Business Process Management here.
BizTalk Server, product from Microsoft is targeted at the
medium to large enterprises and facilitates a seamless integration of business
processes within an enterprise. It allows you to exchange documents within the
enterprise and facilitates unification of business systems within an
The following are the major features in BizTalk Server.
Support for application integration through the use of messaging
Support for automation of business processes through the usage of
Business Rules Modeling Engine
Business Activity Monitoring
Support for Web Services
Seamless integration with business applications
|Microsoft Host Integration Server|
Microsoft Host Integration Server facilitates rapid and
flexible deployment, simplified integration of applications, data, and network.
You can use the Host Integration Server to enable data retrieval from a wide
range of database servers, ranging from Microsoft SQL Server to DB2 in Windows
NT, 2000, UNIX, AS400 Servers. Further, you can use the Host Integration Server
to integrate the legacy host systems with the information networks that can
either be client-server based or web based. Actually, "Host Integration
Server is a follow-up release of Microsoft’s SNA Server. It comprises a wide
range of tools and services that gives clients transparent access to data on
mainframes, AS/400, UNIX, Windows 2000, and Windows NT servers. This means you
can continue to use your back-end servers and applications but provide access
to them in new ways, including Web-based interfaces."
According to Microsoft, "Microsoft Host Integration
Server 2006 offers key enabling technologies that allow enterprise
organizations to integrate their mission-critical host applications, data
sources and security systems with new solutions developed using the Microsoft
Windows platform. Host Integration Server 2006 features and technologies,
including network integration, host access with enhanced security, data and
application integration, enable Windows developers to publish business
processes in IBM mainframe and AS/400 data and applications as XML Web
Services, which brings their Host applications and processes into a Services
The major features provided by the Host Integration Server
|Microsoft Commerce Server|
The Commerce Server, a product from software giant
Microsoft, is targeted at reducing complexity and building scalable Business to
Business (B2B) and Business to Commerce (B2C) applications. Using Commerce
Server, you can develop and deploy enterprise level e-commerce applications
efficiently and manage transactional and backend data for such applications
seamlessly. Microsoft Commerce Server is a scalable platform for developing,
deploying, monitoring and even upgrading e-commerce applications seamlessly.
MSDN states, "this extensible platform enables you to build solutions that
scale with business needs and integrate with existing systems and data."
The following are some of the basic features provided by
Microsoft Commerce Server.
Provides a scalable, extensible data warehouse and its management
and configuration tools.
Provides a scalable, flexible, dynamic profiling system.
Provides event logging, performance monitoring and single sign on
Provides a flexible, extensible content selection framework and
support for multilingualism.
Provides powerful user and catalog management systems.
You can use the Commerce Server for a "seamless
connection to internal and partner applications and systems such as Microsoft
Dynamics, SAP, JD Edwards, and others through Microsoft BizTalk Server
adapters." According to Microsoft, "Commerce Server enables you to
create full-featured Web business applications and extend your business across
networks, while allowing you to integrate e-commerce solutions within your
existing infrastructure." There is an excellent article from Microsoft
that discusses the architecture of Commerce Server in its entirety. You can
find this article at Commerce Server
This article has looked at the concepts related to Microsoft
BizTalk, Commerce and Host Integration Servers. The objective of this article was
to provide the users a brief overview of each of these servers. I would follow
this up with some articles on the deployment and implementation issues related
to these servers.
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