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3 Reasons to Upgrade BizTalk Server Now

In the modern integration world, many companies use Microsoft BizTalk to connect business applications, which allows them to communicate with partners, vendors and customers. Microsoft BizTalk Server is a proven integration server, but it is critical to make sure the version you are running is not out of date.

Missing critical business applications

BizTalk Server as a product is running mission critical business applications across multiple verticals for over 10 years and has been continuously updated over the years, yet retaining the core with backward compatibility.   BizTalk server is widely adapted in some of the most demanding industries such as Healthcare, Banking, Insurance, Oil & Gas, and Supply Chain.  Every industry has its own set of standards that act as guiding/governing principles. For example,

  1. Supply chain and retail must follow EDI, standing for electronic data interchange. This standard permits multiple companies — possibly in different countries — to exchange documents electronically.
  2. The Healthcare industry must follow HIPPA standards, protecting the confidentiality and security of healthcare information.

With every release of BizTalk Server, updated industry standards are supported.  For instance, BizTalk Server 2013 & 2013 R2 supports :

  • X12 EDI Updates for 5040, 5050, 6020, 6030
  • EDIFACT support for D06A, D06B, D07A, D07B, D08A, D08B, D09A, D09B, D10A, D10B
  • HL7 – 2.51 message support added
  • SWIFT – 2012 Message Pack

Outside of supporting the updated industry standards, BizTalk Server also releases the performance improvements around those standards implementations.   In previous BizTalk versions with scenarios where ordered delivery uses multiple endpoints, performance improvements impacted HL7 solutions. The newer BizTalk Server MLLP adapter is updated for performance improvements along with 64-bit support for hosting HL7 adapter.

Lifecycle for BizTalk, OS and SQL Server

From the on-premises perspective, Microsoft support lifecycle policy provides guidelines throughout the product’s life. During the mainstream support phase, Microsoft will provide updates to the product (both security and non-security) as well as changing the product design and feature set. When the product goes into Extended support phase, product features and non-security updates (except hotfix via premier support) are not available.  Certainly when the product goes towards end of life, due to it being primarily non-supported it becomes more critical to ensure that the business applications running on the BizTalk Server are planned for mitigating the risk and hence the need to upgrade your BizTalk Server.

 The table below defines the End of Support and End of Life-cycle for BizTalk, SQL and OS.

BTS End of SupportBTS End of LifeOS End of SupportOS End of LifeSQL End of Support SQL End of Life
BTS 2013 R2July 2018July 2023Windows 2012 R2 – Jan 2018Windows 2012 R2 – Jan 2023SQL 2014 – July 2019SQL 2014 – July 2024
BTS 2013July 2018July 2023Windows 2012 R2 – Jan 2018Windows 2012 R2 – Jan 2023SQL 2012 – July 2017SQL 2012 July – 2022
BTS 2010Jan 2016Jan 2021Windows 2008 R2 – Jan 2015Windows 2008 R2 – Jan 2020SQL 2008 R2 – July 2014SQL 2008 R2 – July 2019
BTS 2009July 2014July 2019Windows 2008 – Jan 2015Windows 2018 – Jan 2020SQL 2008 – July 2014SQL 2008 – July 2019
BTS 2006 and 2006 R2July 2011July 2016Windows 2003 – July 2010Windows 2003 – July 2015SQL 2005 – April 2011SQL 2005 – April 2016


The Microsoft support page also provides detailed information for a specific BizTalk Server.   Below is the information specific to BizTalk Server 2006 R2

ProductLifecycle Start DateMainstream Support End DateExtended Support End DateService Pack Support End Date
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Branch Edition6/23/20067/12/20117/12/20164/12/2011
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Branch Edition6/23/20067/12/20117/12/20164/12/2011
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Developer Edition6/23/20067/12/20117/12/20164/12/2011
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Enterprise Edition6/23/20067/12/20117/12/20164/12/2011
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Service Pack 14/27/2010Review NoteReview Note
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Standard Edition6/23/20067/12/20117/12/20164/12/2011


Technology and Features/Capabilities updates 

It is quite possible that your Integration solutions are connecting to your on-premises or SAAS systems.    Enterprise business applications (ERP, CRM, Sales and Accounting) for instance are typically integrated using the BizTalk middle-ware solutions.   There’s going to be a day when your antiquated BizTalk environment will no longer be able to support these technologies.  Each version of BizTalk includes upgrades that are crucial for integration with these important enterprise systems.

With every release of BizTalk Server, outside of the core latest platform support (Operating System, Databases), it includes support for your enterprise business applications as well as technological updates to support those modern systems. For instance BizTalk Server 2013 & 2013 R2 supports:

  • On-premises ERP updates – SAP 7.2 & 7.3, Oracle DB 11.2, Oracle EBS 12.1, Siebel 8.1
  • Connectivity to Cloud
    • Support for connecting to Azure Infrastructure (Service bus, Storage)
    • REST integration for SAAS connectivity (Salesforce)
    • JSON Support

So, in conclusion, if you want to save yourself and your business a headache, consider upgrading your BizTalk server – especially if it is at risk of “end of life”.