BizTalk open source: a win win?

Yesterday, Microsoft announced that its on-premises integration middleware product BizTalk Server will become partly open source. First step is that all the 10K+ schemas (mostly B2B, EDI) have been released and are now available on Github.

Next step will be to make it possible for the community to contribute to the adapters, pipelines and tools.

My take on all this, is that it has the potential to become a win win for both Microsoft, partners and customers, provided that a number of things are executed well. Let me try to explain how:

  1. Microsoft BizTalk Server is rapidly turning into the on-premises LOB proxy (or gateway) that makes it possible to bridge legacy on-premises applications to the Azure iPaaS (mainly Logic Apps and API Management, plus Service Bus, Event Grid, etc.). This is how Microsoft IT has positioned it during Integrate 2017 in London. Bottom line in this (great!) architecture: BizTalk = legacy gateway and iPaaS = all the logic and modern integrations.
  2. Becoming (partly) open source, means that the community can contribute to the quality and number of schemas, adapters, pipelines and tools. This makes the role of BizTalk as an on-prem LOB proxy even more relevant, enabling even more legacy applications to bridge the gap to the public cloud. BizTalk basically has the potential to become an even greater on-ramp to the public Azure cloud.
  3.  Microsoft will remain focused on making sure the core BizTalk engine remains relevant and can run on the latest versions of their own platform (Windows, SQL Server, Visual Studio, .Net) and provides a terrific bridge to the public Azure cloud. This includes the non-functionals like end-to-end hybrid monitoring and management.
  4. The community has to be supported and made enthusiastic about contributing to the, what we can basically call “on-premises LOB adapters”. This is going to be the hard part of this open source endeavor, in my opinion. But, as we have seen in the past with ISVs leveraging the popularity of BizTalk to position and sell their adapters and basically “using” BizTalk to become more successful themselves, open sourcing the adapters will potentially have the same impact. But this time it’s not about leveraging BizTalk, but leveraging the hybrid integration stack. Time will tell. In the meantime, Microsoft can stay focused on the core and the bridge to the public cloud and in the meantime probably can transfer a couple of engineers to the iPaaS teams.

My $.02 only.

Cheers, Gijs