I get alot of questions about this - for those of you who have been mentally scarred with early editions of BizTalk (haven't we come along way since then there was a BizTalk Partner Edition (lower priced for hub/spoke type implementations) which was limited in some way with the number of Orchestrations/Tradining Partners etc etc. (like 10 Orchs, 2 partners from memory).
With BizTalk 2006 R2 we have the Branch Edition which retails for approx USD$1500 and it gives you........
- BizTalk Business Rules Engine (alot of people are wanting to use the BRE as a centralised rule store in a cost effective manner, until now it was BizTalk Standard at least that you needed to get, as the BRE is not available separately)
- BizTalk RFID (what can I say here!!!)
A perfect application of the Branch Edition is to drop this in on your trading partner's site typically meaning less time to get up and running (for the price, if consultants are spending more than 1.5 days trying to establish communications with the other end, then you should be considering the Branch Edition as it understands all the classic forms of comms with BizTalk 'proper'. By no means is it limited to just BTS)
I thought I'd also give you the more formal description of what the Branch Edition has/has not under the hood:
BizTalk 2006 R2 Branch Edition
BizTalk Branch Edition is a specialty version of BizTalk Server designed for hub and spoke deployment scenarios including RFID.
1. Hub-Spoke Deployment. In this scenario the Branch edition is located in the regional / or point of sale locations and communicate with the hub (BizTalk Enterprise Edition).
2. RFID Deployment. In this scenario the BizTalk Edition applies rules and business process to the raw data and communicates with the hub (BizTalk Enterprise Edition) to send aggregated business data.
3. Standalone Deployment. In this scenario the Branch Edition is used to execute a business process, execute rules on the business data but not communicate with any central or hub.
1. General Transport Adapters like FILE, HTTP, HTTPS, MSMQ, FTP, SMTP, POP3 are available
2. RFID Manager and RFID Adapter
3. Host Integration Adapter
4. Remote or local SQL Server database is supported. SQL Server Databases may be installed on a failover Windows Cluster providing high availability of the BizTalk Databases.
5. BizTalk base capabilities like Messaging, Orchestration, BRE, BAM, Management & Operations and Development Tools are available
1. No Line of Business Adapters are available.
2. No Accelerators are available.
3. Only one BizTalk Application can be deployed.
4. BizTalk Server Group supports only one BizTalk Server. This means there is no fault tolerance, no scale-out, and no failover clustering
5. A maximum of 2 – Processors are supported
6. No Virtual Processor is supported. This means the dual core is not leveraged in dual core processors
7. Two or more Branch Editions separately deployed in different locations cannot communicate with each other