Why did we build a web based BizTalk Admin Console?

Why did we build a web based BizTalk Admin Console?

web based BizTalk Admin Console

Back in 2010, the original idea of BizTalk360 was very simple — to create a web based version of the BizTalk Admin Console (BAC). However, over the years, the product has evolved into a full blown Operations, Monitoring and Analytics solution for Microsoft BizTalk Server; thanks to constant customer and community feedback.

This blog is a part of the series of blog articles we are publishing on the topic “Why we built XYZ feature in BizTalk360”. Read the main article here.

History of BizTalk Server and Admin tools

If you look at the history of BizTalk Server, the first version was released in 2000 and then an updated version was released in 2002. Both these initial versions were very preliminary. They used Visio as the Orchestration designer, had the concept of channels, worker queues etc., and the standard MMC snap (like any other Microsoft Product).

In 2004, Microsoft released BizTalk Server 2004 — one of the major step forward in the history of BizTalk Server. The product was developed from scratch using .NET technologies since the previous two versions (BizTalk Server 2000 and BizTalk Server 2002) were built on top of COM/COM+ technology (most of the young generations now probably won’t know much about it).

BizTalk Server 2004 came with the integrated Orchestration and Map designer within Visual Studio and also introduced some major new concepts like Business Activity Monitoring, Enterprise Single Sign on, Business Activity Services, Business Rules Engine so on.  It also came with a management tool called “Health and Activity Tracker (HAT)”. HAT was the only tool available for BizTalk Administrators/Support people to run the day-to-day operations of your BizTalk Environment.

Health and Activity Tracker in BizTalk Server 2004

In BizTalk Server 2004, there was no concept of BizTalk Applications (to group/segregate things together).  You simply deploy your solutions containing schemas, maps, orchestrations etc., to the environment and soon the environment became too complex.

Two years later, Microsoft released BizTalk Server 2006. One of the major update to this edition of BizTalk Server was the new architecture when compared to BizTalk 2004. Microsoft addressed some of the shortcomings in the previous version of the product. One of the major functionality of BizTalk Server 2006 was the introduction of “BizTalk Admin Console” and the concept of Applications where you can group related artifacts like Schemas, Maps, Orchestrations, .NET dlls, batch files, Rules Policies etc., together. This version also introduced the ability to package applications into MSI’s for easy deployment.

BizTalk-Server-Admin-Console

Why did we build a web based BizTalk Admin Console?

After 2006, Microsoft constantly released new versions of BizTalk Server pretty much every 2 years once. BizTalk Server 2006 R2, BizTalk Server 2009 and BizTalk Server 2010. However, there was no major improvement that was made on the BizTalk Admin Console.

Being active in the BizTalk community, we constantly started to hear people’s frustration of both not modernizing the BizTalk Admin Console to a web based console and a lot of missing capabilities when it comes to Enterprise requirements like enhanced security, auditing, governance etc.

This is when we realized there is a clear need for an Enterprise Grade Web Based BizTalk Admin console to help and support the thousands of BizTalk Server Enterprise customers out there.

Having worked with Microsoft for nearly 2 decades, we pretty much knew how the company operates. We understood that Microsoft will not invest their valuable time in creating a web based management solution. Microsoft is always focused on creating a scalable/robust platform and it always embraces the partner ecosystem to build tooling around it. If you look at other popular products in Microsoft stack like SQL Server, IIS, Active Directory Manager, Windows Event Log etc, the default tooling will be pretty basic, none of them have a web based solution.

Birth of BizTalk360

In 2010, for all the above mentioned reasons, we took the big bet on building a complete web based BizTalk Admin console i.e the birth of BizTalk360. The below screen shot shows how BizTalk360 is simply a web based BizTalk Admin Console.

biztalk360-8-dashboard_thumb

Like any software product, BizTalk360 has evolved and matured in the past 6 years. Even though the original idea was to build just a web based BizTalk Admin Console, over the years, more and more features were added to the product and today BizTalk360 has become a single operations, monitoring and analytics solution for Microsoft BizTalk Server.

As a mid sized company (around 50 people), it’s super important for us to carefully select the features we wanted to build. We cannot afford to build features that no-one wants. In the series of blog articles over the new few weeks, we’ll reveal similar stories of why we built specific features and what’s the reasoning behind each one of them.

As you can see, if you are still using only the standard BizTalk Admin Console for your day-to-day operations, then you are at least 10 years behind in terms of tooling.

Download and Try BizTalk360 Free for 30 days today!

Download and try BizTalk360 on your own environments free for 30 days. Installation will not take more than 5-10 minutes.

BizTalk360-Free-Trial

Author: Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

Why did we build certain features in BizTalk360?

Why did we build certain features in BizTalk360?

Blog series - Why we built XYZ feature in BizTalk360?

BizTalk360 is pretty much a matured product now from its inception back in May 2011. Every year, we consistently released between 5 to 10 releases. In each release, we target anywhere from 3-5 good (useful) features and constant improvements, bug fixes, and usability enhancements. Over the last 6 years, we made 2 major/complete user interface revamp to give the product a face-lift in terms of user experience. First, when we moved the platform from Microsoft SilverLight to HTML5 (version 7.0) and the second when we revamped the complete user interface (version 8.0) to categorize the UI clearly into BizTalk Server Operations, Monitoring and Analytics sections.

Every feature we add to the product is carefully selected. We have clear objectives for each one of them. Before starting to work on a new feature, we ask the following questions like why are we building a particular feature, what problem we are trying to solve, and whether we can make BizTalk Server operations more streamlined/productive/secure.

In this new blog series “Why did we build XYZ feature in BizTalk360”, I wanted to explain clearly the reasoning behind each one of the core feature in the product, why we built it, what business problem it solves when it comes to running your BizTalk environment smoothly.

Here is the list of topics we are going to cover in this series. You can book mark this article, we will add links to each article as and when we publish the blog.

Operations

  • Why did we build a web-based BizTalk Admin Console?
  • Why did we build User Access Policy?
  • Why did we build Auditing & Governance?
  • Why did we build Advanced Event Viewer?
  • Why did we build Custom SQL Queries?
  • Why did we build Team Knowledgebase?
  • Why did we build Operations Dashboard?
  • Why did we build Search and Action on BizTalk Artifacts?
  • Why did we build Advanced Tracking Manager?
  • Why did we build Business Rules Composer?
  • Why did we build ESB Management Portal?
  • Why did we build EDI Dashboard?
  • Why did we build Message Box Queries (MBV)/ BizTalk Health Monitor (BHM) Integration?
  • Why did we build Graphical Message Flow viewer?
  • Why did we build dedicated dashboard pages for BizTalk and SQL Servers?
  • Why did we expose all of our internal REST API’s?

General BizTalk Server Monitoring

  • Why did we build FTP/SFTP Monitoring?
  • Why did we build MSMQ, IBM MQ, Azure Service Bus Queue Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Web Endpoints Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Database SQL Queries Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Message Box Queries (MBV)/ BizTalk Health Monitor (BHM) Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Azure Logic Apps Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Azure API Apps Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Receive Locations, Send Ports and Orchestrations Monitoring?
  • Why did we build CPU, Memory and Disk Monitoring on BizTalk and SQL Servers?
  • Why did we build BizTalk Host Instances Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Auto Healing capability in Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Windows Event Log Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Window NT Service Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Export and Import capability for Monitoring Configuration?
  • Why did we build SQL Jobs Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Notification History capability for BizTalk Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Custom Notification Channels in Monitoring?
  • Why did we build Webhook Channel out of the box?
  • Why did we build ServiceNow Integration out of the box?
  • Why did we build Slack Integration out of the box?

Data/Transaction Monitoring in BizTalk Server

  • Why did we build Data Monitoring for Receive Locations and Send Ports?
  • Why did we build Data Monitoring for BizTalk Message Box Data?
  • Why did we build Data Monitoring for BizTalk Tracking Data?
  • Why did we build Data Monitoring for BizTalk EDI Data?
  • Why did we build Data Monitoring for BizTalk Business Activity Monitoring Data?
  • Why did we build Data Monitoring for Azure Logic Apps Data?
  • Why did we build a dedicated Transaction/Process Monitoring Dashboard?

Analytics

  • Why did we build Analytics Dashboard?
  • Why did we build Messaging Patterns Visualizer?
  • Why did we build Throttling Analyser?
  • Why did we build New Relic Integration?
Author: Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: Jan 15, 2018

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: Jan 15, 2018

Do you feel difficult to keep up to date on all the frequent updates and announcements in the Microsoft Integration platform?

Integration weekly update can be your solution. It’s a weekly update on the topics related to Integration – enterprise integration, robust & scalable messaging capabilities and Citizen Integration capabilities empowered by Microsoft platform to deliver value to the business.

If you want to receive these updates weekly, then don’t forget to Subscribe!

Feedback

Hope this would be helpful. Please feel free to let me know your feedback on the Integration weekly series.

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Inbound / outbound maps in Logic Apps

Inbound / outbound maps in Logic Apps

When migrating parts of BizTalk solutions to Azure Logic Apps, it’s really handy to reuse this pattern. This blog post explains how you can do this.

Configure the Integration Account

In this step, we will prepare the prerequisites to build this functionality.

  • Create an integration account.
  • Upload the required XSLT maps

  • Link your Logic App to the Integration Account, via the Workflow Settings:

Create the Logic App

It’s time to create a Logic App that uses this functionality. In this blog, I’ve opted for a request/response pattern, which allows easy testing through Postman.

 

  • The first action initializes an Array variable. The variable contains a list of all expected message types and their corresponding transformation that must be executed.

 

  • The second action filter the array. It selects the object that matches the message type of the incoming message. The message type is determined through the following expression: xpath(xml(body(‘Transform_XML’)), ‘concat(namespace-uri(/*), ”#”, local-name(/*))’)

 

  • The last action executes the mapping, of which the name is determined at runtime via this expression:body(‘Select_inbound_map’)[0].Transform

Test the Logic App

Let’s use Postman to test the Logic App and verify that the correct mapping is executed in a dynamic way.

 

Conclusion

If you combine the right Logic App actions, you can quite easily give your workflows some dynamic behaviour. In case you would like to externalize the configuration, that links message types and transforms, you could leverage for example Azure Blob Storage.

Will Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning help BizTalk Server Monitoring?

Will Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning help BizTalk Server Monitoring?

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, and BlockChain are some of the buzz words we hear more and more in recent times.

As a technology enthusiast, I’m personally fascinated by some of the technology advances that are happening in these areas and it’s mind-blowing to see the pace at which they are advancing. At the same time, it becomes almost a commodity these days and is available for everyone to take advantage of it with a fraction of the cost — thanks to all the public cloud providers like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and IBM.

Can AI & ML be used for BizTalk Server Monitoring?

These days customers expect every software product to have some level of AI & ML. In this article, let’s take a closer look at whether AI & ML can be used for BizTalk Server Monitoring and what are the practical challenges.

About a year ago, we looked into what AI & ML can do for BizTalk Server Monitoring in BizTalk360. I was not completely convinced that we can magically solve the BizTalk Server Monitoring problems using machine learning alone at that stage. Here are some of the scenarios that strike me and the answer to these challenges are not straightforward.

I don’t want to sound too negative about using AI and ML for the monitoring solution. There are certain use cases where AI and ML based solution will be far superior to manual solutions (check out the last section of this article). However, I just wanted to highlight some real-world challenges from my 15+ years of experience working with BizTalk Server.

What is Machine Learning?

Let’s first understand the basics. Machine learning is a class of algorithms that can learn from and make predictions on data. Generally speaking, the more data you have, the better the outcome for machine learning techniques. Machine learning doesn’t require users to set explicit rules like “if this, then that.” It will make that determination on its own, based on the data and algorithms. There are three things here, the data, compute power and types of algorithms (models) which helps you to predict the outcome.

Data is the King

The quality of data you have determines the quality of judgment in machine learning. So typically, you’ll start collecting all the available data metrics over a period of time to plot a predictive graph. You will start having a baseline (higher and lower bound for a period) as acceptable values for each measurable metric.

If there is any drastic change in the underlying conditions, then the whole algorithm needs to relearn.

Is time factor vs. message volume a business reality?

Let’s start with an example. In BizTalk (or Middleware world), the volume of messages passing through the system is crucial and one of the important things to monitor. We encounter the following scenario quite often. If you are using an AI based system, the period marked in red (in the below image) will be triggered as a violation and you’ll get alerted since it’s deviating from the baseline significantly.

The system basically works on the intelligence of the data it collected over the past weeks/months and blindly assumes that the volume of messages is getting deviated from the baseline volume.

In theory, this looks fantastic. However, in reality, this could be a big problem in a middleware solution. Situations like this where the volume of messages are either higher than normal or lower than normal are common on a middleware platform and we call this a “floodgate or drain scenario“.

We can probably keep training the system saying this is a known volume, but how often can you do it. So, you’ll get the false alert first, the admin person needs to teach the system that it is the expected volume, the system understands it next time. However, what happens if the floodgate happens in another time instance, again the system admin needs to correct it.

In case your business has unpredictable burst scenarios frequently, the AI system will struggle to cope.  It’s one of those things, like a demo scenario where everything runs smoothly, the system performs fantastic, but the real world is far from the demo scenario.

How about changes in hardware configuration?

I mentioned in the beginning “data is the king” in an AI based system. It’s like teaching a child — the child keeps learning every day based on what they see, what they hear, what they experience and so on. In a similar way, the AI system (if implemented well) will keep learning all the new patterns that emerge in the system, keep learning and tune itself. But, there is a challenge when the underlying platform changes dramatically then all the old learning might be completely invalid.

Let’s take an example! The production BizTalk Environment was set up and tuned for six months or so, there were a lot of manual override corrections for AI learning and everything is working fine. Suddenly, there is a business requirement saying they are expecting a huge increase in the volume of transactions and they wanted to increase the hardware capacity. This could simply be adding more servers to the BizTalk group (BizTalk or SQL Servers), increasing the processor capacity like higher performing CPU’s, more memory on BizTalk or SQL servers, changing the SAN disks and so on.

Now all the learning and tuning you have done for the last 6 months is completely wasted and the system has to be re-trained for a period of another 6 months to get to the same level with all human intensive manual tuning.

No one can simply judge what level of performance the new system configuration is going to provide; it can only be learned gradually.

How about BizTalk Server upgrade scenarios?

Another common and unavoidable scenario is the BizTalk Server upgrade. Example: Moving from BizTalk Server 2013 or 2013 R2 to BizTalk Server 2016. In fact, this is something that will be forced on you, since the mainstream support for every version will elapse after 5 years (10 years extended support).

Let’s say you are using BizTalk Server 2013 and depending on an AI powered monitoring solution. You are using the platform for 4 years and then decided to migrate to BizTalk Server 2016. In most of the cases, you will not just migrate your BizTalk Server; you’ll also migrate the OS and database from Windows Server from 2012 to 2016, SQL Server from 2012 to 2016.

This will change the complete underlying platform and make all of your AI learning so far for 4+ years completely invalid and you need to start from scratch. Can you afford it? By the time the team who had put together and tuned the solution in the first place might have left the company.

How about Christmas and Black Friday?

Pretty much every business has a special seasonal period in a year where things go upside down. In retail industries, it’s Black Friday and Christmas period and in Financial services industries, it’s typically month-end or year-end closing dates. Typically, most of these high-end businesses will have a system frozen/lock-down period where no changes are allowed.

When I used to work for a financial services client, the whole of March is locked down for 5th April, the year-end deadline in the UK. Almost 50-60% of the personal investments will be made during this period since everyone wants to take advantage of their personal tax allowances and customers typically leave it until the last minute.

How will an AI based monitoring system work under these circumstances? I can see there are only 2 choices — one, you educate the system saying it’s a special period, for this, it must have seen the scenarios earlier i.e at least one or two years period. In the first year it would have raised a false alarm all over the place, someone might have tuned it saying this is the expected behavior and in the second year, it will validate the condition and finally you might have a system that understands this unusual period and load provided nothing changed (like our hardware change) during this period.

The second option is simple — you simply turn off the monitoring for this period to avoid getting flooded with alarms.

How about manual intervention and performance tuning?

A platform like BizTalk Environment is never a “set once and run it forever” platform. It will require regular manual interventions either for performance tuning or for operational reasons. Example: for performance reasons, you may be re-configuring the SQL Server database Auto-growth parameter, SAN configuration, purging and archiving settings for tracking and BAM databases and so on.

In a similar way, for operations reasons you may be periodically turning on and off certain things like BizTalk Send Ports, Receive Locations, Orchestrations, BizTalk Host instances etc for various reasons. A more concrete example, let’s say one of your external partners’ FTP server is down for maintenance. You will turn off the FTP/SFTP Send Port or Receive Location to that partner for time until the problem gets resolved.

In situations like these, what will happen to the AI based monitoring system? As I mentioned before “data is the king”, any changes to the system will have an impact on the AI interpretation of past data and it will start sensing wrong thresholds. The AI system needs to forget the past learning and relearn the new configuration (for few weeks/months), or someone needs to manually overwrite.

How about fine control on monitoring metrics?

In a platform like BizTalk Server, monitoring just the high-level metrics like CPU%, Memory, Message Volume, Event Log error counts etc may not be sufficient. Let’s take an example scenario. You are integrating a bunch of external REST/HTTP or SOAP based web services with your BizTalk Orchestration. It’s important for you to keep an eye on the health of those external web endpoints like return status codes, response times, looking for specific value in the response JSON/XML content, you might need to verify multiple conditions in the response, you may need to wait for x-seconds/minutes before marking the system as down and so on.

Let’s take one more example. You may want to watch the growth of certain tables in SQL Server. Example: “select count(*) from spool” in the BizTalk MessageBox database. This is very specific and only a human BizTalk admin will know the importance of such custom metric.

This level of fine control on certain systems/metric will be challenging to achieve using an AI based monitoring system, since AI systems work on the volume of data and predictability. It might predict that the external system is down and responding slower, but it cannot have the granularity of control required as explained here.

Where is your data?

Now comes the million-dollar question — where is my data going to reside? As I mentioned repeatedly, “data is the king” in any AI based system to deliver the promises. It needs to understand various patterns that emerge out of historical data to apply its intelligent algorithms. So where is the BizTalk Server metrics data going to reside, is it on-premise or in the cloud?

Even though it’s technically possible to collect and keep the data on-premise and use the AI system on-premise, most of the AI based systems are well suited for the cloud. Mainly because of the three important factors, requires huge data store, requires scalable compute power and finally, the algorithms will require constant tweaking and tuning.

If the data is hosted on-premise, then maintaining such a system with constantly updating algorithms become even challenging.

If the data is hosted in the cloud, it introduces regulatory challenges in industries like Healthcare, Financial Services etc. even though the AI based providers can claim only metadata information gets transmitted, how confident the customers will be.

Why Microsoft does not have an AI powered Monitoring offering?

It is surprising to see a company like Microsoft who are market leaders in machine learning and artificial intelligence not having any AI powered monitoring solutions. None of their monitoring products like Azure OMS (Operations Management Suite), Azure Log Analytics, Azure Application Insight, SCOM (System Center Operations Manager) etc., claim they can automatically detect and fix the problem using AI.

I highlighted Microsoft here, however, it’s true for other big players like Google, Amazon, and IBM (Watson) as well. They have an AI platform, but none of them focus on AI powered monitoring solution.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before these platforms get matured and we will see AI powered offering (there are already few bits and pieces), but it’s not going to be 100% fully automated replacement anytime soon. Still, you need that product and business knowledge to have a solid monitoring solution.

Is it all negative with AI and BizTalk Server Monitoring?

No, not at all. It’s important to embrace new technologies and move things forward. However, it’s also important to understand the limitations of such systems from a practical business point of view. There are some scenarios well suited for AI based predictive analysis and notification like identifying security vulnerabilities, unusual threat analysis like DOS attack, face & voice recognition, some element of monitoring which are static like general message volume, response times and so on.

Another area where I can see a real use case of an AI based solution is when it’s working on top of your business data. Example: volume of purchase orders you receive from various vendors over various periods. The AI system can learn about the volume and are not impacted by underlying platform changes (and keep re-learning).

In case of BizTalk Server Monitoring, I don’t see a clear answer to the challenges I highlighted above. If your platform is stable, nothing changes (like no hardware changes, no tuning, no new deployments, no burst scenarios), then AI will have a good chance of base lining your platform and detect and notify variations from baseline. But again, this is not practical for a live BizTalk Server Environment.

How does BizTalk360 solve these problems?

Being a market leader for the past 7 years in BizTalk Server Monitoring space, we consistently improve the product and add value to our customers. We invested heavily in a lot of areas which are practical and usable for enterprise BizTalk customers TODAY. We focused primarily on customer feedback (check out our BizTalk360 feedback portal) and most of our feature offering were customer driven.

I’ve written an article explaining how BizTalk360 addresses the challenges highlighted in this article to provide a robust monitoring solution for your BizTalk Server environments. You can download it here.

BizTalk360 Whitepaper

Author: Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

BizTalk Assessment: How to check what BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Packs are installed on your Servers with PowerShell

BizTalk Assessment: How to check what BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Packs are installed on your Servers with PowerShell

We cannot rely on documentation if they exist, to be accurate, especially regarding the status of the machines present in the environment that tell us what is installed on the machine or not. This script follows the sequence of scripts that I release in the past to check what Cumulative Updates where installed in the machines.

However, Microsoft introduces a new concept within BizTalk Server 2016, it calls Feature Packs.

BizTalk Server 2016 will use Feature Pack (FP) approach to providing new functionalities to the product at a faster pace. Now new features (or at least non-breaking features) will be delivered when they’re ready we no longer need to wait 2 years for the next major release of the product to have new features!

BizTalk Server uses the feature pack to provide improvements, features, and closer integration with Azure. Feature Pack 1 extends functionality in key areas, such as deployment, analytics, and runtime. – https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt800834.aspx

Feature Pack’s will be available for Software Assurance customers running BizTalk Server 2016 Developer and Enterprise editions or customers running BizTalk Server 2016 in Azure under an Enterprise Agreement

With this, people in charge of monitoring and maintaining BizTalk Server environments will have to not only check if all the Cumulative Updates (nevertheless, this is the most critical operation) but if their organization decide to install FP, they also need to check if and what feature packs are installed in which machine.

Although it seems simple, this operation is just or more painful to perform as the cumulative updates.

Of course, there are some ways to check that, for example:

  • you can do it manually by checking “Control PanelProgramsPrograms and Features” and then view the “View Installed Updates”, however, this can be a very annoying task and sometimes time-consuming.

Programs-and-features-List-BizTalk-Server-2016-feature-packs

  • you can use Windows Registry but still if you only want to check what FPs that are installed this will be an annoying and time-consuming task.

Probably there are other ways, nevertheless, I just want a quick and very easy way, because this is a basic and very simple task, to know what are the BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Packs installed like:

Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1 is installed  
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 2 is installed

How to check what BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Packs

So how can we easily automate tasks? and reuse them whenever necessary and at the same time saving significant time for other tasks?

Using PowerShell is a good option. Windows PowerShell is a Windows command-line shell designed especially for system administrators and can be used by BizTalk administrators to help them in automating repetitive tasks or tasks that are time-consuming to perform manually.

This is a simple script that allows you to configure the template name of the feature packs, that will may change from version to version (FP1, FP2, …), and will give you the list of all Feature Packs installed in your machine:

$keys = Get-ChildItem -Path Registry::'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWOW6432NodeMicrosoftE-Business Servers Updates'

#...

foreach ($key in $keys) 
{
    if($findF1 -eq $true)
    {
        break
    }

    foreach ($Property in $key.Property) 
    {
        if ($Property -like '*Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1*') 
        { 
            $findF1 = 1
            Write-Host 'Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1 is installed'
            break
        }
    }
}

#...

     foreach ($Property in $key.Property) 
    {
        if ($Property -like '*Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Update 2*') 
        { 
            $findF2 = 1
            Write-Host 'Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 2 is installed'
            break
        }
    }

#...

if(($findF1 -eq $false) -And ($findF2 -eq $false)) 
{
    Write-Host 'Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack is not installed'
}

PowerShell-List-BizTalk-Server-2016-feature-packs

THIS SQL SCRIPT IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

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.

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: Jan 8, 2018

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: Jan 8, 2018

Do you feel difficult to keep up to date on all the frequent updates and announcements in the Microsoft Integration platform?

Integration weekly update can be your solution. It’s a weekly update on the topics related to Integration – enterprise integration, robust & scalable messaging capabilities and Citizen Integration capabilities empowered by Microsoft platform to deliver value to the business.

If you want to receive these updates weekly, then don’t forget to Subscribe!

Feedback

Hope this would be helpful. Please feel free to let me know your feedback on the Integration weekly series.

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What happened in Microsoft Integration space in 2017?

What happened in Microsoft Integration space in 2017?

A new year has just began and at BizTalk360 we are excited to find out what 2018 will bring us as a company. We are delighted that we will release more versions of our flagship product BizTalk360, further evolve ServiceBus360 and bring new products like Atomic Scope and Document360.

Year in review

In this article however, we want to look back at what 2017 brought from a Microsoft Integration space perspective. Although we did not see a new version of BizTalk Server, we did see new features arrive for BizTalk Server 2016, by means of the two feature packs which have been released. Of course, we have also seen new CU’s appear for the currently supported BizTalk Server versions, which are 2013, 2013R2 and 2016.

Note however, that in case you are on BizTalk Server 2013 or 2013 R2, mainstream support will end July 10th, this year! So you should consider upgrading to BizTalk Server 2016. As migrating to another BizTalk platform is not something to take lightly, Microsoft offers the BizTalk Migration tool. Read more about this tool later in this article.

An important move Microsoft made last year, was embracing the Open Source community. Of course, also in the Logic Apps and related technologies a lot has happened. Keep on reading, when you want to read about most important developments in Microsoft Integration space.

BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Packs

The concept of Feature Packs is new to BizTalk Server. The idea of bringing Feature Packs is to bring new features once they are ready, instead of having to wait until the next major release.

For BizTalk Server, these packs can be installed on top of (only) BizTalk Server 2016 and bring new functionality, without breaking existing functionality. As far as we know, there are no plans to bring Feature Packs for other BizTalk version than 2016.

Last year Microsoft brought 2 Feature Packs for BizTalk Server 2016. Let’s have a look at both.

Feature Pack 1

This first Feature pack was released on April 26th. It could only be installed on top of the base version of BizTalk Server 2016 (3.12.774.0), so you could not install it after you have applied any CU’s for BizTalk Server 2016. This issue his been fixed on September 21st, when Microsoft released a version of FP1 which was compatible with Cumulative Update 3 (KB4039664), the most recent CU at that time.

Microsoft Integration

Feature Pack 1 added the following features to BizTalk Server 2016:

Deployment

  • Deploy with VSTS – Enable Continuous Integration to automatically deploy and update applications using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS)
  • New management APIs – Manage your environment remotely using the new REST APIs with full Swagger support

Analytics

  • Application Insights – Tap into the power of Azure for tracking valuable application performance and to better understand your workflow
  • Leverage operational data – View operational data from anywhere and with any device using Power BI

Runtime

  • Support for Always Encrypted – Use the WCF-SQL adapter to connect to SQL Server secure Always Encrypted columns
  • Advanced Scheduling – Set up advanced schedules for Receive Locations using the new capabilities with Feature Pack 1

More information on Feature Pack 1 can be found here:  https://blogs.biztalk360.com/microsoft-biztalk-server-2016-feature-pack-1/

Download Feature Pack 1 here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=55100

Feature Pack 2

This pack was released on November 21st and can be installed immediately on top of the BizTalk Server 2016 Cumulative Updates 1, 2 and 3 and Feature Pack 1.

Microsoft Integration - BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 2

In this Feature Pack, the following features were brought:

Deployment and Administration

  • Application Lifecycle Management with VSTS – Using Visual Studio Team Services, you can define multi-server deployments of BizTalk Server 2016, and then maintain those systems throughout the application lifecycle.
  • Backup to Azure Blob Storage – When deploying BizTalk Server to Azure VMs, you can backup BizTalk Server databases to Azure blob storage.

Server Runtime

  • Adapter for Service Bus v2 – When using the Service Bus Adapter, you can utilize Azure Service Bus Premium for enterprise-scale workloads.
  • Transport Layer Security 1.2 – Securely deploy BizTalk Server using industry-standard TLS 1.2 authentication and encryption.
  • API Management – Publish Orchestration endpoints using Azure API Management, enabling organizations to publish APIs to external, partner and internal developers to unlock the potential of their data and services.
  • Event Hubs – Using the new Event Hub Adapter, BizTalk Server can send and receive messages with Azure Event Hubs, where BizTalk Server can function as both an event publisher and subscriber, as part of a new Azure cloud-based event-driven application.

Analytics and Reporting

  • Event Hubs – Send BizTalk Server tracking data to Azure Event Hubs, a hyper-scale telemetry ingestion service that collects, transforms, and stores millions of events.
  • Application Insights – When preparing BizTalk Server to send tracking data to Application Insights, released in FP1, you can use the new Azure sign-in dialog to simplify configuration and named instances of SQL Server.

More information on Feature Pack 2 can be found here:  https://blogs.biztalk360.com/microsoft-biztalk-server-2016-feature-pack-2-released/

Download Feature Pack 2 here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=56262

Cumulative updates

In 2017, Microsoft also brought a number of Cumulative Updates for the different versions of BizTalk Server. See below for an overview which contains links to the download pages:

BizTalk Server 2013

NOTE: this version is going out of mainstream support July 10th, 2018

July 28th, 2017 – Cumulative Update package 6 (build 3.10.359.2) – KB4032678

BizTalk Server 2013 R2

NOTE: this version is going out of mainstream support July 10th, 2018

May 8th, 2017 – Cumulative Update package 6 (build 3.11.280.2) – KB4020020
October 12, 2017 – Cumulative Update package 7 (build 3.11.285.2) – KB4038891

BizTalk Server 2016

January 26, 2017 – Cumulative Update package 1 (build 3.12.796.2) – KB3208238
May 26, 2017 – Cumulative Update package 2 (build 3.12.807.2) – KB4021095
September 1, 2017 – Cumulative Update package 3 (build 3.12.815.2) – KB4039664

Embracing Open Source

In September Microsoft announced that BizTalk Server has joined the Open Source community. This is motivated by the increased commitment that Microsoft wants to provide a better product to their customers.

So far, Microsoft has open sourced the following:

  • all schemas which are shipped with the product. These are over 3500 files, which are divided over the following standards:
    • EANCOM
    • EDIFACT
    • HIPAA
    • HIX
    • X12
  • the BizTalk Migration tool. This tool is developed to simplify the following migrations:
    • BizTalk Server 2010 to BizTalk 2013R2
    • BizTalk Server 2013R2 to BizTalk 2016For Host Integration Server

For Host Integration Server (HIS), Microsoft has provided a PowerShell script that helps creating .hidx files, which are used by the HIS runtime to communicate with the backend systems.

The repository which contains above mentioned stuff, can be found at GitHub:

https://github.com/Microsoft/Integration/

Microsoft’s intention is to continue their open source commitment. Community contributions are more than welcome and can contain artifacts like Schemas, Samples, Adapters, pipeline components or anything else you feel the community can take advantage of.

Azure Integration updates

It is amazing to see what’s all happening on Azure Integration! The Logic Apps team regularly post their updates on YouTube. At our blog, we publish recaps of these updates. Below is a picture of the entire Microsoft Pro Integration team on a bright, sunny Friday morning at Gold Coast, Australia, during #MSAUIgnite.

Microsoft Integration - Logic Apps Live from Australia

See below, just a couple of all the developments which have taken place:

Logic App-adapter – this adapter enables you to receive or send messages from BizTalk Server 2016 to your Logic Apps, via the On-Premise Data Gateway

Numerous improvements to the Logic Apps Designer – just a few which are worth to mention: editing Azure Functions directly from Logic Apps, generating JSON schema from sample payload, Parallel creation in the designer, use of Webhooks in Foreach loops, use of variables, batch processing, advanced scheduling of Logic App execution

Cognitive Vision APIs – to be able to use the OCR capability to understand the characters and text within an image

Azure Event Grid – The newest and hottest kid in town; technical preview version was released by Microsoft on August 16th

Azure Event Grid Connectors for Logic Apps – Of course the Event Grid offering is accompanied with a connector

More than 80 new SaaS adapters – few of the added connectors are: Azure Table Storage, Cognitive Services, Outlook – webhook trigger, SQL – dynamic schema for stored procedures, Azure Container Instances , Pitney Bowes Data Validation, Log Analytics Data Collector, ServiceNow, Skype for Business, LinkedIn, Azure Security Center Trigger, MySQL (R/W)

You can follow the Logic Apps team yourself, via their YouTube channel:  http://aka.ms/logicappslive

The most recent recap of the Logic Apps update can be found here:
https://blogs.biztalk360.com/azure-logic-apps-monthly-update-november-2017/

What can we expect in 2018?

Of course Microsoft will keep on bringing new and exciting features and improvements. What we currently know is that we can expect a new feature pack for BizTalk Server 2016, being Feature Pack 3. But also on the Azure side we can expect new stuff and enhancements of existing features.

BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 3

During the first half year, we can expect the release of BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 3. What we currently know, is that we can expect multiple Office 365 adapters, with the following capabilities:

  • Send and receive messages using Office 365 e-mail
  • Set and update appointments using Office 365 schedules
  • Define people and groups using Office 365 contacts

Further, we can expect:

  • Web authentication – authenticate with Azure Active Directory and OAuth using Microsoft Enterprise Single Sign-On
  • Advanced Scheduling – Set up recurrence on BizTalk Server receive locations with greater precision using hours, minutes, second

Microsoft Integration - BizTalk Server Roadmap

Besides that, Microsoft will keep on bringing CU’s for the supported BizTalk Server versions, including the final CU’s for BizTalk 2013 and 2013R2.

Further, Microsoft is also working on BizTalk Server vNext, so we can also expect CTP’s (Community Technology Previews), which will lead to a new release of BizTalk Server and more Feature Packs. However, a timeline towards a new release of BizTalk Server is not yet made public.

Azure Integration

In Azure, we can expect of course more adapters. The Logic Apps team has already mentioned amongst others: SOAP Passthrough, Office365 Excel, K2, Kronos, Citrix ShareFile and PostgreSQL.

We’ll also see more improvements in the designer. Features like Complex Conditions within the designer, Configurable lifetime and Degrees of parallelism for split-on and request triggers have already been mentioned by the team.

All in all, we can conclude that 2017 has been an awesome year for Microsoft Integration and we can expect that 2018 will be a fantastic year as well!

INTEGRATE 2018

You can get to know more about these updates directly from the Microsoft Product Group at INTEGRATE 2018. The dates and the venue for the event has been finalized. The website will be going live by this week. Stay tuned!

Author: Lex Hegt

Lex Hegt works in the IT sector for more than 25 years, mainly in roles as developer and administrator. He works with BizTalk since BizTalk Server 2004. Currently he is a Technical Lead at BizTalk360.

Sample Invoice Pdf

Sample Invoice Pdf

You are ready to produce the invoice to fit your specific wants, get creative with styling your bill to reflect your organization, and include any field you genuinely feel necessary. An invoice is a document which shows the number of money someone has earned over a definite period of time. An invoice is created with the support of a sample invoice form which can help you to choose the previous look of the bill. Also, an invoice contains more thorough information about the bought items when compared with a easy bill. There is no playing around with word processing applications to have the appearance which you want, you get an easy, elegant and crystal clear invoice in an issue of a moment or two. More advanced bill demands invoice generating software that’s available in the industry which gives offer improved options. It will stay unchanged and may be utilized to create unique invoices.


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You might even electronically transmit your bill, utilizing the email. Your invoice is your final statement about the caliber and value of your work. Your invoice needs to get your business name and logo, if you’ve got one, in the peak of the invoice together with your address and appropriate contact info. The invoices also cite the purchase price of the automobile. Based on your industry you’ll need to select the perfect invoice to satisfy your requirements. A specialist invoice is essential to your business’s credibility, not just so that your clients pay you immediately, but also so they call you again for future business. Although there are ready made statements provided on the current market, creating your own blank invoice templates, and using it as essential can really help save you a bit of moment.


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When you personalize your invoice it is possible to provide your site address that provides you an opportunity to publicize your site to your buyers. Invoices enable you to organize your workflow and maintain a tab on your own earnings also. It is extremely important to not forget that in case you decide to produce the invoices yourself, you’ll also have to produce a spreadsheet to track obligations. An invoice together with all of the crucial elements could be easily created using one of the convenient and free invoice templates on the internet. If you don’t have invoice with your shipment and you show this industrial invoice to customs, they won’t permit your shipment to enter in their land. You might get an invoice for providing any particular service or merchandise or simply labour.
When you download templates, you may set the parameters so the software does all the calculations that the minute you go into the customer’s name and the numbers. Templates vary dependent on the application. Locating the right template helps saving a whole lot of time and money. Instead, what you can do would be to keep a blank template, and if you’ll need to issue one, you can simply fill in the essential information in the provided spaces, and after that take out a print of it. There are different ways in which you’ll be able to create a blank template. Developing a blank invoice template on glow is extremely uncomplicated. You can additionally get invoice templates at no cost.


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Templates can be bought individually online, also. To start with, you should identify what your template requirements. Employing a template can guarantee that your institution’s branding and design elements are consistent. It’s crucial to bear in mind an excellent billing invoice template won’t only be beneficial for customers, but also help your organization achieve different objectives.
An individual may acquire absolutely free invoice forms from the web for business uses. A commercial invoice form would contain specifics of the service provided together with assorted applicable taxes in your region. Or you may call to get a handwritten invoice form your tech can finish in the region.

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Google Storage Invoice

Google Storage Invoice

An invoice is a document which shows the complete amount of money someone has earned over a definite time period. An invoice is a sort of document given by a seller to the client, which indicates the amount and cost of the merchandise rendered to a firm.


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There is no playing around with word processing applications to have the look which you want, you get an easy, elegant and quite clear statement in an issue of a moment or two. The invoices also mention the purchase price of the vehicle. It is known as the invoice. Customer invoice is a fundamental part of a business operation.


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The information needs to be provided right at the top. All the needed information needs to be mentioned at the close of the invoice. You have to ensure all information that is necessary should show up in the legal document! As stated previously, you should enter as much information as you can! You shouldn’t add an excessive quantity of info and bunch the invoice template. PSD Tuts Plus some of the utter most incredible photoshop tutorials you will ever find are on this site.
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A standard instance of such a thing can be given in the kind of carbon copy invoices. Utilizing an internet invoicing system will indicate you have all you need in 1 place. The intention of the document is to indicate the presence of a legal transaction between the 2 parties and might be used for different purposes both internal and external to the supplier. Possessing a better grasp about a proforma invoice is a excellent option for those businesses and organization. A substantial portion of the template is the fact that it tends to portray all the things that are existent in the services which you provided to the customer, plus all of the dollar figures or the real amounts which were charged.
The document consists of the invoice number that’s a numeric field. As an example, if it will be printed, it needs to be formatted to be printed on a standard size paper. You desire a simple, but an very important document which goes with all the goods sold. You also must present people with files that cause them to have the proper impression of your small company. Besides that, documents could be categorized with respect to the significance of information that they convey. The record by default comprises the account info.


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If a document was made by someone or a organization and contains private or confidential information, it could be guarded from the unauthorized access. Thus, it’s quite a detailed document that denotes the complete transaction. A person may make such documents in accordance with their wish by employing invoice printing program. You have to make sure the invoice template is as brief as you possibly can will steer clear of the prospect of any squabbles in the forseeable future. The template has provision to go into the statutory info about the party preparing the legal record. The money receipt template can be downloaded free of charge.

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