BizTalk360 a monitoring and support tool for BizTalk Server environments (Part 6)

Posted: December 30, 2012  |  Categories: Administration BizTalk Tools

Productivity Tools

Integrated Knowledge Base Repository

Once the problems, failures or incident are solved, usually two things may happen:

  1. The administration team documents the problem in an internal repository (Wiki, SharePoint) of the organization, or in a worst-case scenario in their personal notebooks;
  2. The Administration team after the incident has been solved don’t make any kind of documentation;

Many of you will be familiar with step 2 … The problem with these two approaches is that the information, or does not exist or is not quickly available to users when these incidents occur again. Sometimes the existing documentation is worthless or with difficult access which leads to people quickly stop using these internal repositories systems, sometimes new team elements are unaware of these repositories and they are quickly outdated and unfortunately, there are still some who simply hate doing documentation and avoid them as much as possible.

BizTalk360 Knowledge Base Repository

BizTalk360 addresses this issue by providing an integrated Knowledge Base repository, which enables users to add the different events (add KB associated to the ids of the Event Viewer events or error codes of suspended service instances), information about the necessary processes to correct the problems. The next time the same error occurs, the BizTalk360 will inform you that there is a knowledge base available to this specific problem, and by that consequently will speed up the resolution of the issue, failure or incident.

For example, consider the below screenshot of Advanced Event Viewer. If there is a knowledge base article previously attached to an event, a “?” icon will be displayed on the grid, giving visual clue to the support person telling there is additional KB information present for the event and when the user double click and open the detail window, he/she can see all the information as shown below:

BizTalk360 Knowledge Base Repository

And like others repositories you may also configure Knowledgebase edit permission by either granting or revoking “Edit Knowledgebase article” permission on the user access policy screen in “Settings”.

Advanced Event Viewer

One of the common problems that administration teams face when are trying to monitor or diagnose problems in BizTalk Server platform, especially on platforms with high availability (multi-server), is that errors or failures occur on different servers which force us this way to go to all of them in order to find or to check if there is a problem. Besides this task can be time-consuming it also brings security risks, since we must allow team members to access, most of the time with high permissions and with full access to the servers (which is not always allowed in most of the companies).

BizTalk360 addresses this issue by providing the functionality of a centralized Event Viewer, aggregating information from all different event logs and presents it in a unique place.

BizTalk360 Advanced Event Viewer

Graphical Message Flow viewer

For people in charge of diagnosing incidents with limited knowledge about BizTalk normally support teams, one of the biggest challenges is to understand the way that messages travel within the platform. BizTalk is a powerful publish-subscribe engine, a message sent to the system will be subscribed by one or more ports or orchestrations and can travel internally through several phases. Typically to carry out this type of diagnostic at this level, the support team should have a thorough knowledge about BizTalk and how to use the message flow tools available with the product.

Once again the BizTalk360 removes the complexity of this problem by providing a graphical view of the message flow based on BizTalk tracking information (BizTalk tracking data). It will greatly reduce the time taken to diagnose issues and helps to get a better understanding of how your application is designed and therefore enabling support teams with basic BizTalk knowledge to support and diagnose problems in a simple and easy way, freeing specialized resources for critical and advanced tasks.

BizTalk360 Message Flow Viewer
BizTalk360 Message Flow Viewer
BizTalk360 Message Flow Viewer
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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