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How the Microsoft BizTalk Server Makes Business Processes Work More Efficiently

Fundamentally speaking, the BizTalk 2006 server interconnects various IT systems and streamlines business processes… it’s essential for managers and IT staff to understand the basics of how the various systems are connected together.

In order to understand how Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 works, we must understand the basics of what is known as message flow - or how the BizTalk server processes business requests between different applications.

First step of message flow – message is received by a “receive port”

A receive port has three components, first and foremost being an adapter that knows how to communicate an incoming message in a specific way. BizTalk 2006 uses adapters, which are the fundamental building blocks that make interoperability possible…when a BizTalk server is being setup, the creator determines which adapters a particular application need to use.

Next, a receive pipeline transforms the message from its original format into what’s known as an XML structure, validating the message’s digital signature – while more and more applications have XML capabilities built in, many do not – a pipeline is constructed from a number of stages that contains one or more components…each component handles a particular part of message processing.

The third component of the receive port is data mapping which transforms the message into something useful…developers create maps tailored to their specific needs…it’s up to them to decide what the XML structure coming from the pipeline looks like, or rather specify what the XML schema will look like.

A message is then delivered into a SQL server database called the message box

Once a message goes through the receive port, it’s sent to a message box – a storage unit of sorts for different subscriptions, which a particular orchestration and send port subscribes to.

For example, one subscription in the message box may be for all messages containing the phrase “invoice”…a message from the receive port containing these properties will go to that particular subscription in the message box… where the particular orchestration processes the request to be sent to the other application.

Properties are defined by developers – tailor made to the company’s needs.

After the orchestration processes a message, it produces another message to be sent to another application…it is sent back through the message box as an XML formatted message and picked up by a send port, which is subscribed to the same properties in the message box as the orchestration is, and transfers the message to the other application.

Send port process is essentially a reversal of the receive port process

When an orchestrated message is picked up by a send port, the process is effectively a reversal of the receive process.

First, a message is mapped into a useful format…then the send pipeline transforms the message from XML format to a readable format for the other application where finally, the process ends with the send adapter sending the message to the other application.

This is the basic process Microsoft BizTalk 2006 follows to integrate different systems into one cohesive unit. Bookmark and check back soon with the ITstaffing-e knowledge center for further information on all these components that work together to maximize efficiency in an organization.


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