The latest full version of BizTalk was released yesterday to MSDN. Here is the official announcement: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/biztalk_server_team_blog/archive/2013/03/21/biztalk-server-2013-is-now-rtm.aspx. General availability is coming up soon.
I downloaded the Standard edition from MSDN yesterday but the Developer edition has not made it to MSDN yet.
There are many new and improved features but the ones I am most excited about are the improved ones. The new features are primarily around updates to the platform for working with the cloud and working with the latest versions of the underlying technologies and tool versions.
A comprehensive list of the updates is available at: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/nitinme/archive/2012/11/15/biztalk-server-2013-beta-what-s-new.aspx. Microsoft has done a good job of continuing to release updates for BizTalk through the cumulative updates. But there are often things about the product that you wish could change. In the 2013 release there are many updates that fix some of these architectural annoyances.
For example, dynamic send ports have always run under the default host for the adapter which led to unusual errors and problems when different hosts have separate accounts. I once worked for a customer that wanted to reduce the attack surface of his BizTalk hosts by running each one under a separate account. Unfortunately the customer used dynamic send ports extensively and these all executed under the same account across all of the BizTalk applications. This behavior was a problem because we had to set NTFS permissions on the paths the dynamic send port used but kept using the wrong account to set this. This problem has been overcome in the 2013 release.
Another improvement in the new product is the ESB toolkit is now part of the main product and there are much fewer steps to deploying the ESB Toolkit. In BizTalk 2010 the ESB Toolkit setup often took a full day to a couple days to setup properly unless you scripted it yourself. Having the toolkit baked into the main product is a real time saver and will make it easier to deploy BizTalk solutions.
It is great to see the new version of BizTalk because it is a reminder of Microsoft’s long-term commitment to BizTalk customers.