Azure AD Set Passwords to Not Expire

This blog post is more of a reminder for myself as much as anything. I had a need to mark some service accounts in Azure AD so that their passwords dont expire.

The aim was that we had a few service accounts used in a couple of places and we wanted to have a controlled process to change their passwords.

To do this we did the following:

  • Create a group to store associate all of the service accounts for our project for easy management
  • Add all of the service accounts to that group
  • Run a script which will check every member of the group and to change the password policy so the password doesnt expire

I had a look online and couldnt really find a resource showing how to do this which didnt use the old Office 365 mso powershell functionality so I thought id share this for anyone else who might find it useful.

Below is the script I used and usually run each time we might need a new service account where we want more granular control of the changing of passwords for service accounts.

Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

install-module azuread
get-module azuread


function ProcessUsers([string] $groupName)
{
    Write-Host 'Processing Users Function strted'
     
    $ServiceAccountsGroup = Get-AzureADGroup -SearchString $groupName -All $true
    Write-Host 'Group Found' $ServiceAccountsGroup.DisplayName
    Write-Host 'Group Found' $ServiceAccountsGroup.ObjectId


    $groupMembers = Get-AzureADGroupMember -ObjectId $ServiceAccountsGroup.ObjectId -All $true

    Foreach ($member in $groupMembers)
    {
        Write-Host $member.DisplayName

        $user = Get-AzureADUser -ObjectId $member.ObjectId
        
        Write-Host 'Pre-update Password Policy: ' $user.PasswordPolicies
        Set-AzureADUser -ObjectId $user.ObjectId -PasswordPolicies DisablePasswordExpiration

        $user = Get-AzureADUser -ObjectId $member.ObjectId
        Write-Host 'Post-update Password Policy: ' $user.PasswordPolicies
        Write-Host 'AccountEnabled: ' $user.AccountEnabled

        Write-Host ''
        Write-Host ''
    }

    Write-Host 'Processing Users Function Ended' 
}


$cred = Get-Credential
Connect-AzureAD -Credential $cred
ProcessUsers -groupName '<Group name goes here>'
Write-Host 'All Done'

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: Jan 14, 2019

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: Jan 14, 2019

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 reach out to me with your feedback and questions.

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BizTalk360 Implementation Best Practices

BizTalk360 Implementation Best Practices

So, you have installed BizTalk360 and you are eager to start using it! But, BizTalk360 is such a feature-rich product, that you might find it hard to get started and implement BizTalk360 in a proper way.
In this blog post, we will give you some tips and guidelines, which will be of help when you are setting up BizTalk360. You can also use the article if you have already set up some of the features in BizTalk360 and want to make sure that you did not miss anything important.

Note: BizTalk360 has a To Do list which contains a number of tasks, you could do to make full use of the product. You will find this To Do list under Settings => To Do List. See also, this article.

This blog post is separated in the following sections:

  • Optimizing the BizTalk360 environment
  • Benefit from automated monitoring

Optimizing the BizTalk360 environment

Once you have installed the product, there are a few things you must do, before you are able to use the product. Furthermore, you can also perform some tasks to optimize the environment. Let’s have a look at these tasks:

  • Activate the license (required)
  • Adding BizTalk environments to BizTalk360 (required)
  • Remove unused BizTalk features from the BizTalk360 UI
  • Create User Access Policies
  • Create efficient dashboards

We will have a somewhat more detailed look at these tasks.

Activate the license

After finishing the installation of BizTalk360, the installer starts the product in your default browser. Once started, BizTalk360 will ask you to provide the license. If you have purchased a license, you now can provide the details of this license. Depending if the server on which BizTalk360 has been installed has internet connectivity, the process of applying the license will be a bit different.

Adding BizTalk environments to BizTalk360

After applying the license, you will be able to access the BizTalk environment, for which you purchased the license.
In case you have purchased BizTalk360 licenses for multiple BizTalk environments, there are two options on how to access these BizTalk environments from BizTalk360:

  • A separate installation of BizTalk360 for each BizTalk environment
  • Using one BizTalk360 instance for multiple BizTalk environments

It is totally up to you how you want to access your BizTalk environments from BizTalk360, although the two mentioned approaches both have their pros and cons. To sum up a few:

  • it is handy to have multiple BizTalk environments in the same instance of BizTalk360. But, there is the risk that you think that you are stopping artefacts in your Test environment, while you were actually doing it in the Production environment
  • with separate BizTalk360 instances for your BizTalk environments, it is less likely that you stop artefacts or terminate instances in the wrong environment. But, it might be hard to memorize the URL’s of the different BizTalk360 installations

If you plan to have multiple BizTalk environments in the same instance of BizTalk360, it is good to know that, to prevent confusion, you can achieve the following:

  • give each environment a friendly name
  • colour code each environment
Read this article in our Documentation portal on how to maintain environments in BizTalk360. The article mentions, amongst others, how to provide a friendly name and a colour code.

Remove unused BizTalk features from the BizTalk360 UI

One of the primary design goals of BizTalk360 is to consolidate all the tools and portals you might need to operate your BizTalk environment. Just to mention a few of such portals, the product contains features to access BAM views, the ESB Exception Framework, the Business Rules Composer, EDI, etc.
However, within your organization, you might not use all these BizTalk features. Still, they show up in the BizTalk360 user interface.
Of course, you can use User Access Policies to prevent these features to show up, but then the Super User (for which no fine-grained user access policy needs to be set up) will still view these unused features.
To prevent these unused features from showing up, you can simply disable them for the environment. This way, the BizTalk360 user interface is more focused on your BizTalk environment.

Check this article in our Documentation portal and under Allowed Features turn on/off the appropriate features.

Create User Access Policies

After the installation of the product, an User Access Policy has been created for the user who installed the product. However, it is likely that more people will use the product. To provide each user, which the access to BizTalk360 they need, it is best to create User Access Policies for each user.
You can start with giving your fellow BizTalk administrators access to BizTalk360. But when you feel confident, you can also give people outside the BizTalk Admin team access to the product.

With the fine-grained capabilities of the User Access policies, you can, for example, can give your:

  • Support Engineers read-only access to BizTalk360
  • Business users access to portals like BAM, EDI, ESB, BRE, etc.
Access is always in a secure and audited way. In this blog post we describe how you can approach setting up access with BizTalk360.

Create efficient dashboards

The Operations Dashboard is the entry point of BizTalk360. This Dashboard can contain a different kind of widgets of which the goal is to immediately show useful information about the well-being of your BizTalk environment.
The widgets on the Operations Dashboard are fully customizable in terms of:

  • number of widgets
  • size of the widgets
  • location of the widgets
  • refresh interval of the widgets

In case the default collection of widgets does not completely fulfil your requirements, you can create Custom Widgets, enabling you for example to show the output of (BizTalk360) API calls or SQL queries.

The Documentation portal contains more information on how to set up and use the Operations Dashboards. It also contains articles about creating Custom Widgets.

Benefit from automated monitoring

The main reason you purchased BizTalk360 might very well be the monitoring capabilities of the product, so you are probably interested in setting this up as soon as possible.
Setting up monitoring in BizTalk360, consists of two steps, which are:

  • create Alarms – to configure HOW you want to monitor
  • manage Mappings – to configure WHAT you want to monitor

Create Alarms to configure HOW you want to monitor

The first step is to create an alarm. With BizTalk360, alarms come in a few different flavours:

  • Threshold alarms – for monitoring whether artefacts are in the expected state
  • Health alarms – for receiving Daily check reports at configurable days/times
  • Data Monitoring alarms – for monitoring the processing of messages through BizTalk
  • Consolidated alarms – any combination of the 3 above mentioned alarm types

Besides stuff like giving an alarm a name and configuring how you want to be notified, depending on the alarm type, you can configure multiple other settings. So, again, with configuring these properties you are only configuring how you want to monitor.


Read the Understanding Alarms article in the Documentation portal for more information about the different alarm types and on how to create an alarm.
Note: you probably want to receive notifications via email. For BizTalk360, to be able to send email notifications, you need to configure an SMTP server. Read this article on how to set this up.

Manage Mappings to configure WHAT you want to monitor

After creating an alarm, you will add mappings to it, to start monitoring the required artefacts. With BizTalk360, there is a huge set of artefacts you can monitor. Think of for example (this is not the full list):

  • BizTalk Applications – Send Ports, Receive Locations, Orchestrations, Service instances
  • Host instances – in/out process, clustered
  • Host Instance Throttling – generic or detailed
  • BizTalk Servers/SQL Servers – Disks, Event Logs, NT Services, CPU, Memory
  • BizTalk Server Availability – via Ping or Telnet
  • SQL Server Instances – SQL Server Agent Jobs, SQL Queries
  • HTTP Endpoints – REST, SOAP
  • FILE Endpoints – FILE, FTP, SFTP, FTPS
  • Queues – MSMQ, IBM MQ, Azure ServiceBus Queues
  • BizTalk Health Monitor – Critical and Non-critical Errors and Warnings

Depending on the type of the artefact, you can monitor for its state (like Stopped/Started/etc.) or Warning/Error thresholds.

Although you are completely free in how you set up monitoring, we normally recommend making a distinction between monitoring the BizTalk platform and the BizTalk applications.

  • Platform alarms – these contain mappings to stuff like the Host Instances, the SQL Server Agent jobs, Host Throttling, Server resources etc.
  • BizTalk Application alarms – these alarms contain mappings to BizTalk application artefacts (Receive/Send Ports, Orchestrations and Service Instances) and relevant endpoints (HTTP/HTTPS, FILE, FTP/SFTP/FTPS, etc.)

Note: Did you know that BizTalk360 has a feature which is called Auto-Correct? This feature enables you to automatically (try) to bring artefacts back to the expected state, after entering the wrong state. This feature, which can be a real time-saver, works for the following components:

  • BizTalk Applications – Receive Locations, Orchestrations and Send Ports
  • BizTalk Platform – Host Instances
  • Windows Server – Windows NT Services
  • SQL Server – SQL Server Jobs
  • Microsoft Azure – Logic Apps

Read more about this feature in the Documentation portal.

Data Monitoring

Besides artefact monitoring, BizTalk360 also allows you to monitor the processing which is taking place through BizTalk. The concept of Data Monitoring allows you to monitor activity around sources like the MessageBox, Tracking data, BAM data, EDI data, ESB data, Logic Apps and Even Log entries. Data Monitoring comes with the Data Monitoring Dashboard. This calendar-like dashboard shows the historic runs of all the configured Data Monitors. This dashboard will make it easy to address questions about whether certain processing did take place.

Without going in too much detail, with Data Monitoring you can cover scenarios like:

  • monitoring whether batches you expect at a particular time, really arrive in BizTalk and become processed
  • you may want to automatically terminate service instances, like Routing Failures, which you frequently receive
  • you may want to automatically resume service instances because the messages could not be transmitted due to a temporary network failure
These are only a few of the scenarios you can think of. If you want to read more about the concept of Data Monitoring, consult the Documentation portal.

Implementing BizTalk360 can be a multi-step process

You must have noticed that, once you have purchased and installed BizTalk360, there is a lot to go for. In this blog post, we only mentioned a number of features which are considered the most important to implement after installing the product.
However, there are way too many features in the product to cover in a single blog post. Given the number of features in the product, it makes sense to make implementation of BizTalk360 a multi-step process. This way, your BizTalk360 implementation can grow with your requirements and the requirements of your organization.

If you need help with implementing BizTalk360 or want to receive some more tips, feel free to contact us at support@biztalk360.com.

We love to hear from you and we want you to take the full benefit of your purchase!

Happy administering!

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.

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: January 7, 2019

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: January 7, 2019

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 reach out to me with your feedback and questions.

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2018 in Review: Reading and Writing Highlights

2018 in Review: Reading and Writing Highlights

Well, that was quite a year. Maybe for you too. I ended up speaking at a half-dozen events, delivered 2+ new Pluralsight courses, helped organize a conference, kept writing news and such for InfoQ.com, blogged a bit, was granted the Microsoft MVP award again, and wrote a book. At work, I played a small part in helping Pivotal become a public company, and somehow got promoted to Vice President.

For the 11th year in a row, I thought it’d be fun to list out what I enjoyed writing and reading this year.

Things I Wrote

I kept up a decent pace of writing this year across InfoQ, my personal blog, and the Pivotal blog. Here are a few things I enjoyed writing.

[Book] Modernizing .NET Applications. I’ve told anyone that would listen that I’d never write another book. Clearly, I’m a filthy liar. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity this year, and it gave me a chance to write down some things bouncing around in my head.

[InfoQ] Recap of AWS re:Invent 2018 Announcements. re:Invent is such an industry-defining event each year. It was a lot of work to read through the announcements and synthesize it all into one piece. I think it turned out ok.

[InfoQ] The InfoQ eMag: Testing Your Distributed (Cloud) Systems. I need to do more of these, but here’s a collection of articles I commissioned and curated into a single downloadable asset.

[Blog] 10 Characteristics of a Successful Internal IT Champion. Being a champion for change can be a challenging experience. Especially in IT departments. Here’s some advice for you.

[Blog] Wait, THAT runs on Pivotal Cloud Foundry? This was a series of five blog posts in five days that looked an unexpected workloads that run on Pivotal’s flagship platform. I look for any excuse to keep up my coding chops!

[Blog] Creating a continuous integration pipeline in Concourse for a test-infused ASP.NET Core app. Whoever gets good code to production fastest, wins! Here, it was fun to play with one of my favorite continuous integration tools (Concourse) and my favorite programming framework (.NET).

[Blog] How to use the Kafka interface of Azure Event Hubs with Spring Cloud Stream. Microsoft’s been sticking standard facades in front of their proprietary services, so I thought it’d be useful to try one out.

[Pivotal Blog] You Deserve a Continuously Integrated Platform. Here’s Why It Matters. Build it, or buy it? It’s an age-old debate. In this post, I explained why certain things (like app platforms) should be bought from those who have expertise at building them.

[Pivotal Blog] You’re Investing In .NET, and so Are We. Pivotal Is Now a Corporate Sponsor of The .NET Foundation. I was happy to see Pivotal take a bigger step to help .NET developers. This post looks at what we’re doing about it, besides just throwing money at the .NET Foundation.

Things I Read

Over the course of 2018, I read 35 books on a variety of topics. Here’s a subset of the ones that stood out to me the most.

Grant, by Ron Chernow. This book is a monster in size, but maybe the best thing I read in 2018. Meticulously research but entirely readable, the book walks through U.S. Grant’s incredible life. Unbelievable highs, crushing lows.

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. Safe to say this was the most impactful business-y book that I read in 2018. While attention was paid to effectively giving feedback, the bulk of the book was about receiving feedback. I’ve read very little about that, and this book completely changed my thinking on the topic.

Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations, by Nichole Forsgren (@nicolefv), Jez Humble (@jezhumble), and Gene Kim (@RealGeneKim). Clearly put, this book explains the findings and methods behind a long-standing DevOps survey. Besides laying out their methods, Forsgren and team thoroughly explain the key capabilities that separate the best from the worst. If you’ve been lacking the ammunition to initiate a software revolution at your company, it’s time to purchase and devour this book.

Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, by David Garrow. I was historically ignorant about this time period, and needed to correct that. What a powerful book about a complex, flawed, courageous individual who carried an unparalleled burden while under constant scrutiny. Well-written, eye-opening book.

Discrimination and Disparities, by Thomas Sowell. I followed up the previous book with this one. Wanted to hear more on this topic. Sowell is an insightful economist, and explores the role that discrimination does, and doesn’t, play in disparities we see around us. He attempts to escape emotional appeals and find rational answers.

Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems, by Martin Kleppmann (@martinkl). This should be foundational reading for anyone designing or building distributed systems. It’s wonderfully written, comprehensive, and extremely useful. Buy this book.

Streaming Systems: The What, Where, When, and How of Large-Scale Data Processing, by Tyler Akidau (@takidau), Slava Chernyak, Reuven Lax (@reuvenlax). This book has some complex ideas, but it’s a must-read for those shifting their mindset from static data to data in motion. The authors have an approachable writing style, that makes even the most dense topics relatable.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Question for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown (@DJamesBrown). I think this was my favorite book of 2018. The author made me care deeply about the characters, and the writing was legitimately thrilling during the races. It was also insightful to read about a Seattle that was barely in the public consciousness at the time.

Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror, by Steve Alten (@meg82159). I admittedly didn’t know about this book series until the movie came out in 2018, but who doesn’t love giant sharks? The book wasn’t the same as the movie; it was better. Fun read.

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Parts of Any Bold Venture, by Scott Belsky (@scottbelsky). Good book. Really, a series of short, advice-filled chapters. Belsky deftly uses his own experiences as an entrepreneur and investor to help the reader recognize the leader’s role during the highs and lows of a company/project/initiative.

Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World, by Eric Metaxas (@ericmetaxas). I read a book about a freakin’ prehistoric shark, yet this book about a 16th century monk had some of the most thrilling moments I read this year. My knowledge of Martin Luther was limited to “something something Reformation” and “something something 95 theses”, but this book helped me recognize his massive contribution to the world. We owe many of the freedoms we have today to Luther’s courageous stand.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou (@JohnCarreyrou). Wow, what a book. I was peripherally aware of this company (Theranos) and storyline already, but this book is an eye-opening account of what really happened. I’m not even sure there’s a “good intentions” angle here, as it just seems like bad people doing bad things.

Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great, by Carmine Gallo (@carminegallo). If you’re wondering why your career is stagnant, there’s a chance it’s because you’re a subpar communicator. Gallo makes the case that moving others to action is the quintessential skill of this century. His book uses tons of anecdotes to drive the point home, and he sprinkles in plenty of actionable advice.

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change, by Camille Fournier (@skamille). This is a book aimed at new managers of technical teams. There’s some general advice in here that’s useful for managers of any type of team, but it’s most helpful if you lead (or want to empathize with) a tech team. Fournier’s experience shines through, in this easy-to-read book.

How Christianity Changed the World, by Alvin J. Schmidt. Good book that outlined the massive impact of Christianity on Western society. Regardless of what you believe (or don’t!), it’s impressive to recognize that Christianity elevated the value of human life (by bringing an end to infanticide, child abandonment, gladiator battles) and women’s rights, introduced orphanages, old-age homes, and hospitals, erected the first universities, colleges, and public school systems, and ushered in a new era of art, science, and government. Wild stuff.

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel H. Pink (@DanielPink). Most of us are selling something, whether we recognize it or not. Pink lays out the reality, and why our ability to move others is key to success. And importantly, he offers some legitimately useful ways to make that happen.

The F*It List: Lessons fro a Human Crash Test Dummy, by Eric Byrnes (@byrnes22). I knew Byrnes, the colorful professional baseball player. I did not know Eric Byrnes, the uber-athlete and ultra-marathoner. He’s got a refreshing approach to life, and wrote a compelling autobiography. Thanks to @wearsy for the recommendation.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown (@GregoryMcKeown). This book stands to have the biggest impact on my life in 2019. It’s about constantly stopping and evaluating whether we’re working on the right things. On purpose. I’m giving myself permission to be more selective in 2019, and will be more mindful about where I can make the biggest impact.

The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission, by Jim Bell (@Jim_Bell). Thanks to this book and the movie “The Farthest”, I became obsessed with the Voyager missions. I even did a couple talks about it to tech audiences this year. Bell’s book is detailed, exciting, and inspirational.

The Industrial Revolutionaries: The Making of the Modern World, 1776-1914, by Gavin Weightman. I read about how artificial intelligence will upend the world and economy as we know it, so I thought it’d be smart to look at the last world-changing revolution. This was a fascinating book and I learned a lot. It still blows me away that many comforts of our current life are fairly recent inventions.

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin. The authors call out five questions at the heart of the business strategy: what’s your winning aspiration, where to play, how to win, what capabilities must be in place, and what management systems are required. I found the book engaging, relevant, and motivational.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz). This book stressed me out, but in a good way. Horowitz doesn’t tiptoe around the tension of building and sustaining something. The book is absolutely full of useful advice that really landed for me.

High Output Management, by Andy Grove. Best business book that I read all year. It’s also one that Horowitz refers to a lot in his book (above). Every manager should read this. Grove focuses on value and outcomes, and lays out what good management looks like.

The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity, by Mark Clark (@markaclark). Mark’s a mesmerizing speaker that I’ve heard in-person a few times. Here, he makes a well-rounded, logical, compelling case for Christian faith.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel H Pink (@DanielPink). Sheesh, two Pink books in the same year? The man writes a good tome, what can I say? This is a book about timing. What time of day we should perform certain activities. When and how to “start” things, when to end. And how to synchronize teams. As always, an engaging read that made me rethink my approaches.

Showstopper!: The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft, by G Pascal Zachary. If you didn’t think a story about creating Windows NT could be compelling, THINK AGAIN. Part history lesson and part adventure tale, this book provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes featuring some characters you’ll recognize.
I probably say this every year, but sincerely, thank you all for being on this journey with me. Each day, I learn so much from the people (virtually and physically) around me. Let’s all have a 2019 where we learn a lot and make those around us better.

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Categories: Year in Review

10 best features we released in 2018 – BizTalk360 Product Update

10 best features we released in 2018 – BizTalk360 Product Update

BizTalk360 team Wishes you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

In 2018, we have released 3 major versions of BizTalk360 with various new capabilities, enhancements and bug fixes. In this blog post, we wanted to summarize the best 10 features released.

1. Import & Export

All the newly created BizTalk Server applications are being tested first in the preproduction or UAT and shadow environments to avoid business consequences. Likewise, customers would prefer to test all the functionalities of their BizTalk360 configuration in their non-production environments. Further, they populate necessary data to operate, monitor and find analytical information of their environment. Admins don’t need to recreate their BizTalk360 configuration again in their production environment as in these situations, our import and export capability plays a major role. We have enhanced the existing functionality for users to be able to export:
1. User Access Policies
2. Saved queries
3. Secure SQL queries (along with their configurations)
4. Knowledge Base articles
5. BizTalk reports
6. Dashboards and Custom Widgets (along with their configurations)
from one environment (QA/Development/UAT) and import them as is into another environment (i.e., Production). Users can also change the configurations while importing into the destination environment.

2. Advanced web endpoint monitoring

In a BizTalk environment, the health of Web Endpoints is vital to be able to process the data between multiple applications/partners. BizTalk Administrators might manually monitor the health and results of web endpoints in every execution, but this is a cumbersome process. BizTalk360 provides the capability to monitor such Web Endpoints. This monitoring capability is extended to support other different authentications.

Basic

In the context of the HTTP transaction, there might be a scenario to authenticate the web endpoint using the Basic Authentication method (User Name, Password). BizTalk360 has this capability to monitor the Web endpoints using Basic Authentication.

BasicAuthorization

Certificate Authentication

As like basic authentication, some HTTP web endpoints require a SSL certificate for the communication. To support this kind of scenarios, we have introduced a new option to provide client certificate thumbprint in the web endpoint monitoring section.

SSLClientCertificate

Azure Services Authentication

To provide extended support to monitor Azure services web endpoints, we have enabled the Azure services authentication mechanism in Web endpoint monitoring section. Once the Azure service principal is configured in Azure, information like Tenant Id, Client Id and Secret key need to be provided for monitoring.

AzureServiceAuthentication

3. Business Holiday Calendar

BizTalk360 provides this new capability to configure the business holidays in a calendar. These business holiday calendars can be mapped during maintenance window setup. This new configuration section is introduced in the Monitoring Notification settings section as “Configure Business Holidays”.
Using this intuitive UI, users can configure the business holidays in a calendar and save it for further mapping during the maintenance setup process.

Stop_Alerts_for_Maintenance_during_business_Holidays_business_holiday_calendar_configuration_section

4. User Access Policy – Multiple options for providing access to BizTalk applications

In earlier versions, it was a simple grid displaying all the available applications in a BizTalk environment, and you can select the applications to provide access to Normal Users/Groups. But now we have modified this, to provide multiple options for providing access to the applications. This would surely be more user-friendly and of course, meet the requirements. The different options include:

Grant Access by Applications

By enabling this option, the user has access to all the currently configured applications. Once this option is enabled for any profiles, that user doesn’t have access to the newly integrated applications in your BizTalk Server.

Grant Access to all Applications

As the name denotes, enabling this rule will provide access to all the available applications for the Normal Users/Groups. This will be similar to the permissions of the Super User who will have access to all currently deployed and newly added applications.

Wildcard Search

The user can select the required option and provide the search value. Once this rule has been configured, the user will have access to all the applications matching this wildcard. Also, the user will automatically be given access to the newly created applications that match the wildcard.

Grant Access to Application Groups

With this new capability, you can create Application Groups and map BizTalk applications to that group. Once the user is given access to the Application group, he/she can access all the applications mapped to that group.

AplicationRuleConfiguration

5. PowerShell Notification Channel

Besides the already available notification channel features, BizTalk360 supports integration with PowerShell scripts. This new capability enables the user to perform some tasks via a PowerShell script, each time the alarm was triggered.
It only takes a few steps to use the PowerShell Notification channel:
– Create the PowerShell script
– Configuring the PowerShell Notification Channel in BizTalk360

6. Grid Column customization

Grid columns can be dynamically removed or added based on the user preference. As per the settings in the configuration section, columns will be aligned and displayed in the grid view. These customized column settings can be saved for future reference as well. We are sure this capability will add more value when the administrator is looking for the instances/messages based on various conditions.
As an initial phase, this implementation has been done in the following areas in BizTalk360:
1. Message Box Queries
2. Graphical Flow (Tracking)
3. Electronic Data Interchange

Additional_Columns_filters_configuration_screen

7. Pagination for improved performance

We have optimized the grids by providing you the power of pagination. We have implemented pagination for each grid available in BizTalk360. It is an easy and standard practice that prevents you from having to load the entire result set all at once. The grid supports both preloaded and dynamically loaded data. By using pagination, the rows in the grid gets dynamically separated into pages. The grid will automatically display default rows in each page. The user can increase the maximum number of result rows by selecting the Max Match size in the drop down.

8. Grid Column Filtering

All the grid columns in BizTalk360 have got a new makeover. In a high-volume data store scenario, there will always be challenges to quickly filter and retrieve the desired data. To simplify the data retrieval process, we have implemented 4 types of filters in BizTalk360.

Text Filter

Text filter is the default filter. Using a text filter, you can filter the text input. The text filter is already implemented in BizTalk360 in various sections. The user should enter the text in the filter text box to retrieve the desired data set.

Checklist Filter

Using this filtering type, the grid shows a checkbox list with the set of predefined values. The user can select one or more of the values and apply the filtering. The types are status, Boolean & Date Time filter.

Status Filter

A Status filter allows filtering the different status in the column. For some filter conditions, some predefined values will be shown in the drop down for the data retrieval. The user can retrieve the data based on the available status. For example, a BizTalk application has different statuses, like Started, Stopped and Partially started.

Boolean Filter

This kind of filter is used to fetch the value based on true or false conditions. Say for example, in the Search Artifacts section we have a checkbox column to check for the receive port, if it’s a two-way port or not. Using the Boolean filter for this column, the user can filter for the two-way receive location.

9. Stop Alerts for maintenance Improvements

During a maintenance window, no notification was shown in the UI. This is enhanced now, and a notification will be shown in the Operations dashboard and Alert Maintenance section. We have added the capability to allow the users to set up multiple (future) maintenance windows. Additional to this, historical maintenance schedules are preserved for auditing purposes along with periodic purging capability.

10. Triggering alert emails to admin users

Alert Notification will be sent to the admin users in case there is some monitor error. Admin users can be configured in the system alert settings section.

Triggering alert emails to admin users

Installer Improvements

Installer Logging capability

We have enabled a logging capability in the installer. This will help the users and support engineers to identify the root cause in case of any issues during the installation process.

Installer One Password Capability

We have enhanced the BizTalk360 installer, where only one set of credentials (UserName, Password) will be asked during the upgrade process, in case the same credentials have been used for all the installed components.

Installer SQL Upgrade

There was no support for the SQL authentication upgrade. We have enhanced the installer logic to support SQL Authentication upgrade.

Persist Web.config file changes during the upgrade

To access BizTalk360 via the HTTPS protocol, few configurations need to be done in the web.config file. In earlier versions, during the upgrade process, this configuration is overridden, and the user needs to do the configuration every time. This has been enhanced, and changes which are made in the config file are persisted during the upgrade process.

Conclusion

I must say 2018 was a fantastic year for us, where we focused on improving the product with exciting new features, enhancements and fixing support cases. Along with the above new capabilities, we have provided a fix for 209 support cases and enhanced 24 existing features.
We are looking forward, 2019 would be another great successful year for us with more exciting new features added to the product.

Author: Mekala Ramesh

Lead QA & Product Support at BizTalk360 – Having around 8 years of experience in software testing & customer support field with the strong knowledge in SDLC and STLC phases. Specialized in various types of testing methodologies. Passionate tester, who always want to deliver the software product with the best quality to the end customers. Possess strong knowledge, to establish the testing process from scratch. Playing a pivotal role in BizTalk360 is making me deliver the product to every customer in a delicious way.