Adapters in BizTalk Server


One of the primary design goals of BizTalk Server is to facilitate the exchange of business documents between trading partners. To help meet this goal, BizTalk Server includes several adapters that provide connectivity between BizTalk Server and trading partners using commonly recognized data protocols and document formats. This topic discusses what an adapter is and why you use an adapter.

An adapter is a software component that enables you to easily send messages out of or receive messages into BizTalk Server with a delivery mechanism that conforms to a commonly recognized standard, such as SMTP, POP3, FTP, or Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ). As Microsoft BizTalk Server has evolved, the need for adapters that quickly enable connectivity with commonly used applications and technologies has increased.

BizTalk Server includes the following adapters, which are referred to as the "native" or "integrated" adapters: FILE, FTP, HTTP, MQSeries, MSMQ, POP3, SMTP, SOAP, Windows Sharepoint Services, and the seven WCF adapters (WCF-WSHttp, WCF-BasicHttp, WCF-NetTcp, WCF-NetMsmq, WCF-NetNamedPipe, WCF-Custom, and WCF-CustomIsolated). Native adapters are installed with BizTalk Server. You can also create custom adapters for your specific solutions by using the BizTalk Adapter Framework.

Each of the native adapters is associated with a receive location designed to listen for messages from a certain transport at a certain address. After the message is received by the receive location, it is passed to the adapter. The adapter attaches the data stream to the message (typically in the body part of the message), adds any metadata pertaining to the endpoint that the data was received from, and then submits that message into the BizTalk Messaging Engine.

By default, when you run the BizTalk Configuration Wizard, the wizard installs the native adapters and creates an adapter handler with a default configuration for each one.

Using the BizTalk Server Administration console, you can modify the default configuration for the adapter handlers as well as add, remove, and modify send ports and receive locations for the adapters. For more information about these processes, see the appropriate topics in See Also.

Using adapters greatly simplifies the transfer of messages into or out of BizTalk Server. If your existing infrastructure uses any of the transports for which there is a corresponding BizTalk adapter, then the process of sending messages to or receiving messages from BizTalk Server is as simple as configuring the appropriate adapter to send or receive messages with the corresponding transport mechanism.

The following table lists the primary benefit of each native adapter and whether the adapter provides the following features:

  • Transaction support. The ability to send and receive documents under the context of a distributed transaction coordinator (DTC) transaction. This functionality is required for maintaining ordered message delivery and to guarantee that documents are not duplicated or lost.

  • Two-way communication support (Request/Response or Solicit/Response). The ability to send a document and process a response message from the destination or to receive a document and send a response message to the source.

  • In-order receive support. The ability to publish received documents to the BizTalk MessageBox database in the exact order that the documents were received.

  • SSO enabled. The ability to use SSO authentication when sending or receiving documents with the adapter.

  • Hosting process The process in which the adapter executes. BizTalk IP executes within the BTSNTSvc.exe process, while IIS OOP run outside the BizTalk Server process in the Internet Information Server (IIS) process.

AdapterPrimary benefitTransaction supportTwo-way communication supportIn-order receive supportSSO enabledHosting process
FileEasy to use.NoNoNoNoBizTalk IP
FTPIs widely used for business-to-business communications.NoNoNoYesBizTalk IP
HTTP(s)Is widely used for business-to-business communications.NoRequest/Response and Solicit/ResponseNoYesIIS OOP
SOAPSupports the use of Web services.NoRequest/Response and Solicit/ResponseNoYesIIS OOP
MSMQSupports guaranteed once-only delivery of messages between BizTalk Server and Microsoft Message Queuing.YesNoYesNoBizTalk IP
MQ SeriesSupports guaranteed once-only delivery of messages between BizTalk Server and IBM WebSphere MQ for Windows platforms.YesNoYesYesBizTalk IP
Windows SharePoint ServicesEnables the exchange of XML and binary messages between BizTalk Server and SharePoint document libraries.NoNoNoNoBizTalk IP
POP3Supports receiving documents through e-mail.NoNoNoNoBizTalk IP
SMTPSupports sending documents through e-mail.NoNoNoNoBizTalk IP
CustomSupports your system.Yes, requires custom code.Yes, requires custom code.Yes, requires custom code.Yes, requires custom code.BizTalk IP
WCF-WSHttpSupports WS-* standards over the HTTP transport.Yes, transactions are supported on WsHTTP (only WS-Transactions)Request/Response and Solicit/ResponseNoYesIIS OOP
WCF-BasicHttpCommunicates with ASMX-based Web services and clients and other services that conform to the WS-I Basic Profile 1.1 using HTTP or HTTPS.NoRequest/Response and Solicit/ResponseNoYesIIS OOP
WCF-NetTcpSupports WS-* standards over the TCP transport.YesRequest/Response and Solicit/ResponseNoYesBizTalk IP
WCF-NetMsmqSupports queuing by leveraging Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ) as a transport.YesNoYesYesBizTalk IP
WCF-NetNamedPipeProvides a fast transport for cross-process communication on the same machine ( only for WCF apps).YesRequest/Response and Solicit/ResponseNoYesBizTalk IP
WCF-CustomEnables the use of WCF extensibility features.Yes.Yes.Yes, as long as the binding supports it.Yes.BizTalk IP
WCF-CustomIsolatedEnables the use of WCF extensibility features over the HTTP transport.Yes.Yes.No.Yes.IIS OOP

Following is a list of the Line of Business (LOB) adapters provided by Microsoft.

AdapterDescriptionSupported Versions
PeopleSoft EnterpriseEnables exchange of Component Interface (CI) messages between BizTalk Server and a PeopleSoft system.Supported Line-of-Business (LOB) and Enterprise systems
JD Edwards OneWorld XEEnables exchange of Business Function messages between BizTalk Server and a JD Edwards OneWorld system.Supported Line-of-Business (LOB) and Enterprise systems
JD Edwards EnterpriseOneEnables exchange of Business Function messages between BizTalk Server and a JD Edwards EnterpriseOne system.Supported Line-of-Business (LOB) and Enterprise systems
TIBCO RendezvousEnables exchange of XML and binary data format messages between BizTalk Server and TIBCO Rendezvous.Supported Line-of-Business (LOB) and Enterprise systems
TIBCO Enterprise Message ServiceEnables exchange of XML and binary data format messages between BizTalk Server and a TIBCO EMS server providing a tightly integrated and reliable application infrastructure.Supported Line-of-Business (LOB) and Enterprise systems

You can also use the adapters that are shipped with BizTalk Adapter Pack to connect to various line-of-business systems. For more information about BizTalk Adapter Pack, see

Best Practices for Securing Adapters
Creating and Deleting Adapter Handlers
Implementing Enterprise Single Sign-On

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