BizTalk 2006 R3

Wow. Microsoft has announced another “R” version of BizTalk 2006.
Check out that link for a rough list of the improvements coming with the
R3 release. While on one hand I love getting new developer tools, on the
other hand this will be the third BizTalk release in almost as many
years. On top of that, you have BizTalk “Oslo” waiting in the wings.
BizTalk is the most expensive of the retail products that Microsoft
sells. The Enterprise version costs $35,000 per processor, so for a
typical dual-processor server it costs $70,000 to deploy BizTalk. If
your project requires more than one BizTalk server, the costs can get
real expensive in a hurry. Each “R” release is treated as a new product,
and is sold at full price. In my opinion, the functionality introduced
in R2, and what is tentatively announced for R3 should have been
released in a service pack. In essence, these rapid-fire BizTalk
releases seem to be a ploy to force customers to purchase Software
coverage for their BizTalk licenses. For early adopters of
other Microsoft products, SA is a complete waste of money because the
coverage usually expires before a new version is released. With the
current BizTalk release cycle, you get completely hosed if you do not
purchase SA, because there is a chance that two or more releases will
happen during the SA coverage time period. I guess it is a good racket
to be in if you can get away with it.