BizTalk and CS2006: Great Plains Interoperability & Pipeline Replacement

Some interesting questions came in regarding BizTalk interoperability. Caesar Samsi from my team was kind enough to provide the following…

Q. I understand that with BizTalk 2006 and the adapters for the Profiles, Catalog, Inventory, and Orders subsystems you will be able to integrate into ERP systems such as SAP. Will this be true with the Dynamics ERP products such as Great Plains aside from adaptation via eConnect?

A. While we have not explicitly tested integration with Great Plains using eConnect, a key aspect is that eCOnnect provides a BizTalk adapter. In conjunction with Commerce Server 2006 BizTalk adapter, an integration path via BizTalk Server exists.

Notes:

1. Commerce Server 2006 BizTalk adapters require the use of BizTalk Server 2006.

2. Given backwards compatibility in the adapter area, Great Plains eConnect BizTalk adapter may run on BizTalk Server 2006 as well, but we have not explicitly tested that scenario.

 

Q. Could BizTalk 2006 be utilized as a substitute for the pipelines provided by CS2006 for things such as order processing? For example, creating an orchestration that utilized the CS2006 subsystem adapters to manage the order processes from creation to fullfilment?

A. You could certainly submit the Order XML to BizTalk Server 2006 to participate in an orchestration. This would provide you with the flexibility of branching logic that Commerce Server 2006 pipelines do not have.

I recommend using a custom pipeline to submit the Order XML to BizTalk Server 2006 via the synchronous submit API. You would then retain the benefit of the pipeline infrastructure that is provided by 3rd party ISVs (e.g. tax, shipping, etc.) for the business logic that isn’t provided by the orchestration. You would also need to store the Order as part of the Commerce Server order database to allow shoppers a view of their order history.

You would have to address latency, scale, and capacity considerations when using BizTalk Server 2006 in this manner.

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Some More Deployment Questions

Some more questions have come in that I figured I would answer:

Q. Can you upgrade from Beta to RTM?

A. Yes, there will be a tool to do this. Changes should be relatively minimal.

 

Q. What should I use in lieu of Application Center?

A. I answered this before, but will answer it again. We provide Commerce Server Staging, which is an effective replacement (and potentially then some depending on your requirements) for the Web farm staging features in Application Center. It is not a replacement for NLB, CLB, or the Health Monitoring aspects of Application Center.

 

Q. Can you use CS2006 Data Warehouse and Analytics against an older Commerce Server deployment?

A. No, this is not supported.

 

Q. When will there be an updated Starter Site?

A. At release candidate for our TAP customers. At RTM for everyone else.

Answers to Some Interesting Deployment Qs

I was recently e-mailed several interesting deployment questions so thought I would answer them here….

Q. With the DB Server separate from the CS Servers, can we run CS2002 and SQL2005?

A. No, you can’t do that. We have not tested CS2002 to run on SQL2005. You may be able to get them to coexist on the same hardware, but not use SQL2005 as the DB for running Commerce 2002.

 

Q. Are there pitfalls to avoid with CS2002 and Application Center 2000 SP2?

A. No, we built AppCenter support into CS2002 FP1 and the two were meant to be used together.

 

Q. How does the clustering feature work in CS2006 and does it replace Application Center?

A. We don’t have a “clustering” feature per se. We provide Commerce Server Staging, which is an effective replacement (and potentially then some depending on your requirements) for the Web farm staging features in Application Center. It is not a replacement for NLB, CLB, or the Health Monitoring aspects of Application Center.

 

Q. Can CS2006 be installed beside CS2002 or would we need separate servers for that migration?

A. CS2002 and CS2006 cannot live on the same Web or database servers (since MSCS_Admin name is fixed).

Commerce Server Newsgroups

A few folks have asked if we could post a consolidated listing of our newsgroups. So, here goes:

Happy newsreading!

CS2002 & 64-bit, .NET 2.0, and SQL2005

A frequently asked question that has come up quite a bit lately is what is Microsoft’s policy going to be on supporting .NET 2.0, SQL2005, and 64-bit Windows with CS2002. I figured this was worthy of a blog post…

The short answer is that there are currently no plans to support any of these. If you want to use these platforms, you will need to use CS2006.

The longer answer is that there are A LOT of collective changes in these three platforms. CS2002 is an old product rapidly approaching its fourth birthday. It took the team several months worth of work to get through it all and at times it was not an easy task. All of this work is done and in CS2006. Right now, I honestly don’t see us back-propagating these to CS2002 given the other things that still wouldn’t be there (like integration between our Profiles and ASP.NET 2.0, etc.).

However, you can still run .NET 2.0 on a box with CS2002 in a .NET side-by-side configuration (.NET 1.1 is installed and the CS-specific applications are using 1.1).

(Belated) Commerce Server on Channel 9

http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=150551#150551

I figured I should probably finally post a link to my team’s interview with Channel 9. I don’t think we should give up our day jobs to go into showbusiness anytime soon, though the content is probably of interest to anyone following CS2006.

In other news, “Hell Month” as I referred to January 2006 is over. Two tradeshows and two weeks of customer events – on top of doing the regular everyday job. That should hopefully allow some time to allow me to surface some other new and interesting content on CS2006 in the coming weeks as a lot is transpiring as we begin the countdown to RTM.