Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Microsoft is readying two new releases of its BizTalk integration server in the pipeline, the first of which is expected to ship this year.

Microsoft is working on BizTalk Server 2006 (code-named “Pathfinder”) and the Longhorn Server wave BizTalk release (known as Beyond BizTalk Server 2006), according to company insiders.

Microsoft shipped its most recent BizTalk release, BizTalk 2004, in April 2004. Until last spring, Microsoft was planning to make future versions of BizTalk part of an integrated e-business server bundle.

But based on customer and partner feedback, according to company officials, Microsoft nixed plans to bundle BizTalk, Content Management Server, Commerce Server and Host Integration Server, and opted instead to continue to release them as standalone, but interrelated, products.

The BizTalk team’s first order of business this year is to roll out BizTalk Server 2004 SP1 (Service Pack 1). SP1 is currently expected in late January, as a few last-minute glitches scotched a late December release, according to various Microsoft Web log postings.

Next up will be BizTalk Server 2006, aka Pathfinder, which Microsoft is hoping to ship in 2005, according to Windows Server chief Bob Muglia.

The Pathfinder release will support 64-bit Windows Server releases and will integrate tightly with SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and Virtual Server 2005.

Read the full story on Microsoft Watch: Looking Ahead to BizTalk 2006 and Beyond