BizTalk Almighty

I ran across this post today and wanted to (briefly) drop my two cents.  I worked with BizTalk 2000 way back in the day (circa 2001) and immediately fell in love with the product (enough to run out and get certified (663335/NotANumber) on it).  There was a small problem though:  No one had jumped on the BizTalk bandwagon yet, so my experiences were limited to outside consulting for companies that were looking to implement some sort of EDI solution without the hassle of...well...writing one themselves.  I would go in, pitch it, give a demo, and that was that.  When BizTalk came out, it was one of the few turnkey EDI solutions out there, and IIRC it was the first “.Net” enabled server in that it used web services (and lots of XML) to expose the EDI functionality (.Net hadn't been officially released at this point though).  One major hiccup for BizTalk (then and now) is that it's expensive (surpassing even SQL Server in licensing price), and good BizTalk admins/devs are hard to find...which is why I wanted to get into the market (early market capitalization) as I had a feeling that some day BizTalk would really take off in the business world.  Unfortunately, this venture bore no fruit for me as there was simply no work to be had.  Which brings us to now...

BizTalk is finally a mature product, which is why (apparently) businesses are snatching it up in droves.  It's also a completely different animal than it's BizTalk predecessors.  I installed it a while back, and it's virtually nothing like it's older counterparts, which is actually pretty exciting as I love to learn new stuff, plus the old stuff really did have some shortcomings.  Oh, and it's completely .Net enabled now (you will get a handful of BizTalk project templates in the VS.NET IDE after an install of the client tools).  For anyone who hasn't at least given BizTalk a cursory glance, I _highly_ recommend having a peek at it.  It's quite an amazing product, and I can't think of any other product out there that does what it does.  If I have my career my way (not having much luck lately), I would steer back to my BizTalk roots in a clock cycle.