BizTalk360 a monitoring and support tool for BizTalk Server environments (Part 5)

Posted: December 29, 2012  |  Categories: Administration BizTalk Tools

Complexity abstraction of certain tasks

Due to several reasons, either for not having enough work to keep resources busy, thereby justifying not having a dedicated team or simply for financial reasons, few companies have a dedicated BizTalk administration team. This way organizations tend to group these administration tasks in a team with extended functionalities to various systems or platforms, such as system administrators, DBAs or even BizTalk.

One of the aims of BizTalk360 is to abstract the complexity of some of the main concepts, functionalities or operations we need to perform in BizTalk Server environments, thereby making it possible and easy to managed and supported BizTalk Server environments by people with a basic knowledge of BizTalk, but without necessarily having to be an expert.

Throttling Analyser

Another interesting feature of this tool is Throttling Analyser. With this feature, BizTalk360 abstracts us from the complexity that is analyzing these platform behaviors, allowing in an easy way and almost in real-time, monitor environmental conditions, analyzing where are happening constraints and optimizing these settings without having a thorough knowledge about BizTalk Throttling, planning thereby its capabilities and SLA’s. By default, throttling data for the last 7 days are kept in history.

BizTalk360 Throttling Analyser

Integration with Message Box Viewer (MVB)

Message Box Viewer or MBV is a major support tool from Microsoft to analyze your BizTalk Server environment (If you raise a call with Microsoft for any BizTalk environment issues, the first thing they’ll ask you to do is run MBV and act upon the report’s critical and non-critical errors). MBV retrieves information from a BizTalk System and identifies many possible issues, which could be critical or need attention, and presents them in a user-friendly format. This tool is like the BizTalk Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) which is a health check tool that generates reports of a BizTalk System.

None of the others monitoring solutions like SCOM, HP Openview or even BizTalk360’s monitoring solutions will catch some of the scenarios raised by MBV, but instead of duplicating the efforts of Message Box Viewer in BizTalk360, MBV is deeply integrated with BizTalk360 and enhanced the benefits by offering the following things:

  • Ability to schedule MBV execution for BizTalk Environments
  • Reports readily available in the UI (as shown in the above picture)
  • Importantly! You can schedule alerts based on a report. Ex: If critical errors more than 4, send a notification.
BizTalk360 MVB
BizTalk360 MVB

Tracking manager

One of the important aspect of a middleware platform it’s the ability to track information flowing through the system, and being BizTalk Server a middleware, he includes tracking functionalities for the several BizTalk artifacts. However, tracking comes with a performance cost and it’s important we choose the best tracking strategy. BizTalk360 help us visualize these tracking settings at the applications level from a single location.

BizTalk360 tracking manager gives us and helps us visualize a representation of our tracking configuration at the application level from a single location, this will help administrators team to have a better insight because, instead of having to go to several places to see or configure these features, they can now visualize the tracking configuration easily.

BizTalk360 Tracking manager

Dynamic topology diagram of your environment

Most BizTalk Server environments are composed of multi-servers, typically the minimum recommendation is to have two BizTalk Server and two SQL Server to support “high availability”. It is extremely important that administration teams know the topology of their platform and have easy access to changes that occur, typically the BizTalk environment topology diagram is drawn in Visio and stored somewhere internally in a document a repository like SharePoint. And again, depending on organization to organization or in the size of the organization, there will be various environments like Production, Staging, Performance and so on, and it will be a time-consuming task to keep the diagrams up to date… and also we need to ensure to give access to all team members and that all team elements are aware of where these documents.

BizTalk360 solves this problem by intelligently generating the topology diagram on the fly from your environment. This solves a few issues

  • You don’t need to spend time generating topology diagrams in Visio.
  • Your diagram is always in Sync with the real environment, since it’s generated based on the current configuration.
  • The diagram is readily available on the tool you use to support, so you don’t need to hunt for them in your document repository.
  • Diagram got inbuilt zoom-in/zoom-out capability if your environment is complex (ex: 6 BizTalk server, 4 SQL Servers)
BizTalk360 BizTalk Dynamic topology diagram
Author: Sandro Pereira

Sandro Pereira lives in Portugal and works as a consultant at DevScope. In the past years, he has been working on implementing Integration scenarios both on-premises and cloud for various clients, each with different scenarios from a technical point of view, size, and criticality, using Microsoft Azure, Microsoft BizTalk Server and different technologies like AS2, EDI, RosettaNet, SAP, TIBCO etc. He is a regular blogger, international speaker, and technical reviewer of several BizTalk books all focused on Integration. He is also the author of the book “BizTalk Mapping Patterns & Best Practices”. He has been awarded MVP since 2011 for his contributions to the integration community.

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