BizTalk360 – Ready to function

BizTalk360 – Ready to function

BizTalk360 is one-stop monitoring tool for monitoring your BizTalk environment. The BizTalk360 installation is a very quick process and does not take much time when all the prerequisites are met. For any software product, there would be some basic requirements that should be satisfied for its successful installation. BizTalk360 also has its own hardware and software requirements. In addition to these requirements, there are also some permissions and rules that need to be provided.

We have different documents that contain this information. But I thought it would be even more helpful for our customers if we have all this information in a single place. In this blog article, I would like to give a consolidation of all the requirements that one should make sure of before installing BizTalk360.

There are many considerations that need to be taken care of before installing BizTalk360, like where do you want to install BizTalk360, the service account permissions, the database creation, etc. Let’s look at each of them.

Installing guide for BizTalk360

BizTalk360, being a separate integration tool, always arises a query from the customers as to where we must install it. What is the best practice to install BizTalk360? It can be either installed on the same server where BizTalk is installed or in a standalone server.

The recommendation would be to install BizTalk360 on a separate server, rather than in the BizTalk server.

This will be useful in the performance perspective. The BizTalk server performance would not be hindered and BizTalk360 will notify the users when the BizTalk server is down. The important prerequisite for installing in a standalone server is that the BizTalk Admin Components must be installed beforehand in the standalone server.

BizTalk-Server-Installation

If these components are not installed, then the BizTalk360 installer will fail with the following error.

BizTalk360-Prerequisite-Check

The role of the service account in BizTalk360

One of the most important prerequisites for BizTalk360 is to configure a separate service account. The service account will be one that is used for the IIS App pool that will be created during the installation and also for running the BizTalk360 Monitor and Analytics service.

The recommendation is to create a dedicated service account, the reason being there are some permissions that need to be provided for this account.

The permissions would be:

  • Local administrator permission in the BizTalk360 server for starting the Monitor and Analytics service
  • Local administrator in the BizTalk and SQL server(s) for collecting the event log data and for disk and system resource monitoring
  • Sysadmin permission to the SQL Server for creating and updating the BizTalk360 database
  • Sysadmin permission for the BizTalk databases for monitoring and autocorrecting the SQL jobs. In case if you do not prefer to provide Sysadmin permission, you can provide SQLAgentOperator role for the service account for monitoring the SQL jobs and performing the autocorrect functionality
  • Member of all the BizTalk groups

Once you have created the service account, you will have to log in to the BizTalk360 server with this service account to install BizTalk360. Logging in with other users may result in other permissions related to the database as other users may not have the expected permissions as the service account.

Firewall ports and protocols to be checked

When you plan to install BizTalk360 in a separate standalone server, there are some configurations that need to be taken care in the security perspective. For example, there may be firewall rules that may restrict access to the server. For BizTalk 360 to be able to contact BizTalk Server, the MSDTC connection needs to be enabled in all the servers. BizTalk360 should be enabled with certain ports/protocols for communicating with the external servers.

Service-Feature

Next, make sure the below services are running in the server:

RPC

Also, make sure if custom ports are utilized for any service, unblock them as well from the firewall for the seamless working.

Ready to install BizTalk360

Once all the prerequisites are in place, you are now ready to install BizTalk360. The installation is a seamless process which would roughly take about 10-15 minutes when all permissions are in place.

You will have to make sure that you have logged into the server with the BizTalk360 service account. The reason for this is that when BizTalk360 is installed, the logged-in user will be created as a Super User in BizTalk360.

This Super User permission is required for the service account to perform certain automated processes like terminating/resuming service instances through Data Monitoring alarms and also for Analytics operations.

If for some reason, the installation fails, the first thing to be looked for the error, would be the installation logs.

Important configurations for BizTalk360

For BizTalk360 to be up and running, there are some configurations that need to be done. For example, the SMTP setting would be required for triggering the alert emails. You will need to create different users for accessing BizTalk360.

You can refer to the implementation of best practices here.

Best practices on a performance perspective

For any software product, the performance would be the foremost priority. Some of the performance measures that can be taken up for enhancing BizTalk360 would be:

  • Configuring only the required sources in the Advanced Event Viewer so that the database growth is controlled
  • Maintaining the appropriate purge duration to remove the historical data based on the business needs
  • Enabling only the relevant performance counters for Analytics performance data collection

Upgrade and Migration Scenarios

  • What happens when you upgrade BizTalk360 to a new version?
  • What happens when you migrate your BizTalk server?
  • Let’s have a look!

Upgrading BizTalk360

A new version of BizTalk360 is released every quarter with new features and enhancements picked up based on customer feedback. The release would also include certain bug fixes as well.

It is important that customers upgrade their BizTalk360 to the latest version to be in line with the release and enjoy the new features.

Things to be taken care while upgrading BizTalk360:

  • You should log in with the BizTalk360 service account to the BizTalk360 server
  • The license needs to be deactivated
  • The database should be backed up so that in case of any errors, the old database can be restored
  • Once after the successful upgrade, it is important to clear the browser cache and then launch BizTalk360

In a scenario where there might be some problems during the upgrade, the customer could have uninstalled and reinstalled BizTalk360. In this case, they would have restored the old database and the following error would occur.

restore-database-error

Here, we can see that the application has been upgraded but not the database since the old version of the database has been restored. The suggestion here would be to run the SQL scripts from the next version seen in the error from C:Program Files (x86)Kovai LtdBizTalk360ServiceSQL folder. Please note, if there is more than one script that needs to be executed, then they should be run in the same sequence.

Upgrading BizTalk Server

Customers might migrate from a lower version of BizTalk Server to a higher version, say for example from BizTalk Server 2013 to BizTalk Server 2016. There are some configuration changes that need to be done at the BizTalk360 side as well to point to the new BizTalk environment. The below steps need to be followed in the BizTalk360 box when you migrate the BizTalk server.

  1. Deactivate the license in BizTalk360 first before migration
  2. Install the new version of BizTalk admin components in BizTalk360 server
  3. After migration, update the environment details to point to the SQL instance which contains the BizTalk databases
  4. The below tables need to have the BizTalk version changed appropriately and the MS_BizTalk_install_location should be updated

b360_admin_BizTalkEnvironment -> BizTalk Version

b360_admin_GlobalProperties -> MS_BIZTALK_VERSION & MS_BIZTALK_INSTALL_LOCATION

You can export the alarms from the old BizTalk360 environment and import them to the new environment. The mappings will also get imported to the new environment. If you are using BizTalk360 v8.8 or later, then you can export the user settings as well.

  1. Modify the alarm mapping to point to the artifacts in the new environment

Migrating BizTalk360 database and application

When the BizTalk360 database is moved to a new server, the connection string needs to be modified in the following config files:

  • Web.config
  • BizTalk360.Monitor.exe.config
  • BizTalk360.Analytics.exe.config

For more details, refer to the article.

BizTalk360 additional details

The integrated Troubleshooter in the BizTalk360 UI will provide you with the complete details of BizTalk360 like the connection string, installation location, and the database.

biztalk360-components

biztalk360-component

Conclusion

Once all the setup and configurations are in place, it is a quick and seamless task to install/upgrade BizTalk360. The customer suggestion and feedback are always heard and addressed, which helps us to improve the product and provide better service.

Happy monitoring with BizTalk360! 😊

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User Access Policy – Switch user types

User Access Policy – Switch user types

It’s almost time to upgrade your BizTalk360 application! We have our new release coming up, BizTalk360 v9.0 with exciting new features and enhancements, as always. For any product to be successful, it is important that the customer feedback is well addressed and acted upon. The product grows based on the customer suggestions to cater their business requirements.

We always make sure the product features meet the customer expectations.

In this blog, I would like to explain about one such enhancement which was requested by many customers.

In the new version BizTalk360 v9.0, you can switch between the user types. Let’s get into the complete details.

Current challenge with User Access policies

Consider a scenario where you have created few normal users and super users in your organization to access BizTalk360. What happens if the person configured as the super user leaves the organization? There would be a situation where a Normal user needs to be given rights as a Super user. In such case, there was no option to convert the user and we will have to delete the user and recreate it again with the necessary permissions. This would be a time-consuming process.

Switch User types

We very well understood the difficulty of the customer and hence decided to enhance this feature in our upcoming release to provide an option to switch between the user types.

Let’s look at this feature in detail.

Normal user to super user

There might arise a situation wherein a normal, user with limited access to BizTalk360, must be made as the Super user for various reasons. In this scenario, deleting the normal user and creating it again would be cumbersome task. To ease this task and make BizTalk360 more user friendly, we have now added the capability to convert the Normal user to a Super user. In the User Interface, by editing the custom user, it can be converted to a Super user, simply by enabling the ‘Is Super User’ toggle button. A confirmation message would appear to confirm the action of conversion.

After the conversion happened, the user will now be a Super User and have access to all the environments.

Super user to normal user

Now what if you need to convert a Super user to a Normal user. In that scenario, you have to decide on the permissions for the normal user. This has been taken care of during the conversion. Once the user confirms on the conversion to the normal user, the capability to add permissions will be displayed and the user can select the access permissions.

 

As the conversion happens in a single step, this will definitely ease the work for the user. By editing the user, the user type can be switched. Now there is no need to worry if there is role change happening for the people in the organisation, or if someone is leaving/joining the company. You can switch between the user types in just a single click.

Edit/Delete option disabled for logged in user

There might arise a question as to what happens if a user who is logged in to BizTalk360 tries to edit /delete himself. It might not be required for a user to be able to edit/delete his own permissions. This might not be a valid scenario. The environment details would be mapped with the logged in user to access the BizTalk artifacts. When that user tries to edit/delete his permissions, an exception would be thrown in this case, as the environment details would not be available for that user. To avoid this exception, the edit/delete option is disabled by default for the logged in users. This information is shown in the UI as per the below screenshot. The logged in user would be able to edit and delete the other users.

Conclusion

At BizTalk360, we always introduce the features that make the product more user friendly and that results in customer satisfaction.  There are lot more features and enhancements coming up in BizTalk360 v9.0. What are you waiting for? Once the new version is released, upgrade to the latest version and enjoy the new features. We are happy to hear your suggestions and feedback which you put in our feedback portal. Happy monitoring with BizTalk360!

 

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BizTalk360 Technical Support – A look back in 2018

BizTalk360 Technical Support – A look back in 2018

As the BizTalk360 technical support team, we receive support tickets from our customers through various channels. 2018 was, of course, a great year for the support team. We were not only involved in resolving the support tickets, but we were also involved in the Customer Relationship calls, Best Practice Installation and Configuration sessions and even some of the demos to the customers.

This makes us understand the customers’ expectations better and help in improving the product to cater to the needs of the customer. As the saying goes, ‘Every ending has a new beginning’, the end of 2018 has brought us new lessons and experiences with various customers and new processes. Every support case has a lesson in it, be it the customer scenario, their infrastructure settings or our way of troubleshooting the case, our responses. We make sure that we improve our support, thereby making our customers happy and working more efficiently.

We are happy to share the stats of the support cases handled by us in 2018. This is the result of our continuous hard work and dedication which has resulted in some really positive numbers in BizTalk360 Customer Support. Here are some statistics that we are happy to share. These statistics are taken from data provided by our customer support platform – Freshdesk.

  • 14.626 customer queries addressed in 2018
  • Tickets ranging across technical support, licensing and sales enquiries
  • The busiest month for the team was the month of October 2018. We received about 2132 support tickets.

  • We managed to respond to 97% of the tickets and resolve 87% of the tickets within the SLA
  • We resolved 76% of the tickets with just one response to the customer
  • We received support tickets on
    • Email
    • Support Portal
    • Feedback Portal

We make sure customer satisfaction is achieved and this can clearly be seen in the numbers for the SLA. Below are the rating and appreciation given by the customers.

Knowledge Sharing

Of course, in the software industry, it is all about teamwork and knowledge sharing. Yes, teamwork is involved in solving each and every support case. One member might analyse the case, the other may test it if required. In 2018, we have started the ‘Support Deliberation’ meetings for knowledge sharing. As an engineering team, not all the members will be involved in product support. Hence it is important that the support team members share their knowledge of the handled support cases, to the team. This will give insight to the team about the various customer scenarios that need to be known so that we can check for the same in our development and testing phases.

Introduction to DevOps practice

This is one of the major changes that happened during 2018. We involved ourselves in the development activities too, the next step in improvising the product to cater to the needs of the customers. The complete process is explained here. From the task planning to post-release validation, we follow all different steps in the process.

Best Practice Installation and Configuration sessions

This is a new initiative taken by the Client Relationship team to help our customers with the installation of BizTalk360 and provide them help in the basic configuration steps that are required for BizTalk360 to start monitoring your BizTalk environment.

This is a two-hour session where BizTalk360 is installed, important configurations are done and an overview of some of the important features of BizTalk360 is given. We also explain to them about some of the best practices that need to be followed in the alarm configuration, Advanced Event viewer setup, Data purging which may, in turn, affect the performance of the application. The knowledge our customers will obtain during this session will help them to get the most out of the product so that they can monitor their BizTalk environment efficiently.

In 2019

We have shifted from Agile to Kanban to record all our activities. We continuously strive to improve ourselves for providing better support thereby trying to resolve customer’s queries on time.

The most awaited event in the Microsoft Integration space, Integrate2019 is on the way. We have this event in two locations this year. The dates and venues are finalized, and the early bird offer ends by March 31st, 2019. You can check for the details here.

Conclusion

>>Which feature would you like to see coming in BizTalk360 in upcoming releases? <<

We would like to request you, our customers, so please take the time to fill this questionnaire. This helps us to prioritize the next upcoming feature tasks and will let us know what your main pain points are. In case of any queries, you can always write to support@biztalk360.com, so that we can immediately get your queries answered and resolve the issues. Happy monitoring with BizTalk360!

 

 

 

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User Access Profiles can now be customized

User Access Profiles can now be customized

A few more days to go for the release of our new version, BizTalk360 v8.9.5. Release by release, we aim at improving the user experience by adding new features and enhancing the existing features as per the suggestions and feedback received from our customers. The feedback can be posted in our User Voice portal http://feedback.biztalk360.com. There, customers can vote for the posted suggestions if they feel that the ideas also fit into their business requirements. These suggestions will be taken up for development based on the priority of voting.

There have been quite a few features and enhancements added in this release. Let’s look at one of the features which got the attention of many customers and that we thought it would ease the users in their business operations while using BizTalk360. So come on, lets jump in!

User Access Policies

After the installation of BizTalk360 and activation of the license, the next thing the user would do is to create the users, groups and provide access to the BizTalk360 features in the User Access Policy section. This is available only for providing access to the features in BizTalk360 and not for BizTalk level access. The importance of this feature can be known from the article User Access Policy.

In our previous version, BizTalk360 v8.9, this feature was enhanced to configure different rules for providing access to the existing as well as newly created BizTalk applications for the users. Get to know about the different rules here “User Access Policy – The New Look for Application Access”.

As part of this enhancement, we have introduced the concept of the Application groups for grouping the applications of similar category and provide users the access to the Application groups. So, any new application created, when added to such an Application Group will be automatically given access to the users.

Now there is an additional feature of managing custom User Access templates, which is described in the later part of this article.

As part of this enhancement, the user management, application groups and the custom templates must be managed in different sections. This has been done to avoid confusion to the users. Hence, the existing look of the User Access Policy section has been modified as below.

Manage Application groups

The application groups can now be managed in a separate section. Here, the application groups can be created, modified or deleted. Now it would be easy for customers to create application groups and manage them from a single section rather than moving between the screens.

Manage Users

This section remains the same as in previous versions, where the users and NT groups can be created, modified or deleted. Modification has been done in the Add permissions section for the normal users to include the custom profile templates newly created.

The Profile Templates

Keeping in mind the level of security needed for accessing the features and performing the operations with the BizTalk environment, we have the fine-grained authorization within BizTalk360. When a new user is created, the permissions to the BizTalk360 features can be selected from the list of features under each section and saved to the user profile. When the new user logs in to BizTalk360, he can only use the features which are added to his profile.

In the earlier versions, the features were selected from the list available or from the predefined templates available. These predefined templates come as part of the installation. There are three predefined templates available:

  • View only modules – Choosing this template will provide read-only access to few features in BizTalk360. This will be helpful for the Level 1 support team
  • Limited operation access – This provides access for the users to operate on Host Instance, applications and service instances
  • Full access to all modules – As the name implies, the user will have access to all the features when this template is chosen

As per the feedback received from the customer, we have added the new capability to create custom templates and select them for providing access to the users.

How do the custom templates help?

Consider a scenario, where the customer would need to provide similar permissions to multiple users. This can be done by creating a group and applying the profile to the group account. But what if we need to make some minor changes to some of the users. It would be very difficult to make changes for some users within the group.

With the help of a custom profile template, this can be made in a single click. You can create a custom template with the desired features selected and choose the template while creating the users. Won’t this be an easy and quick way of configuring permissions to the users? Yes, of course!

The creation of custom templates is also done very quickly. The custom template can be created by providing a name to the template and selecting the features to be added to the template. With this feature, for each custom template, you can select permissions and store them as a custom template.

This would be similar to the Add permissions section in the user creation, but the only difference being the selected features can be saved to a template and used later in creating different users. The predefined templates would be suffixed with System Predefined in the name.

With the custom profile templates, the user creation is made much easier. The customer need not scroll through the entire list of features while creating users.

Conclusion

We always monitor the feedback portal and take up the suggestions and feedback. Now we would like to request you, our customers, to please take the time to fill this questionnaire to help us prioritize the next upcoming feature tasks, to let us know what are your main pain points and help us to further improve the product.

Why not give BizTalk360 a try! It takes about 10 minutes to install on your BizTalk environments and you can witness and check the security and productivity of your own BizTalk Environments. Get started with the free 30 days trial. Happy monitoring with BizTalk360!

Author: Praveena Jayanarayanan

I am working as Senior Support Engineer at BizTalk360. I always believe in team work leading to success because “We all cannot do everything or solve every issue. ‘It’s impossible’. However, if we each simply do our part, make our own contribution, regardless of how small we may think it is…. together it adds up and great things get accomplished.”

Analytics Widgets – What more can be done

Analytics Widgets – What more can be done

Introduction

In a data-driven business setup, there will be scenarios where critical executive decisions are made based on the performance reports of various components of the listed servers in their environment. BizTalk360 aims to offer an out of the box tool with similar capabilities as the Performance Monitor tool in Windows servers.

BizTalk360 Analytics offers visual display of the most important performance counters that are consolidated and arranged on a single screen, so that the information can be monitored in a glance. Custom reports can be built in minutes with the metrics that really count for your business, and they’re easy to share with other users in the system. In addition, dashboards can give you a summary of many reports on a single page, using drag-and-drop widgets for fast, easy customization.

The Analytics feature is available only to the Platinum licensed BizTalk360 environments. By default, the Analytics service is installed with BizTalk360 and in non-Platinum environments, users can only view sample analytics data.

The Analytics Widgets

It is with the Dashboard widgets that all the performance related information can be seen in a nice graphical display. In the Analytics section, there is also the reporting capability added, where the reports can be sent as attachment in emails.

In this blog I am going to explain a few scenarios where the Analytics widgets are more helpful. Let’s move on.

Customer Scenarios

The Analytics Dashboard contains lot of widgets that provide you detailed information of the performance of your BizTalk environment.

For example, the BizTalk Host Performance widget will help you to get the information of the top performing hosts in the BizTalk environment. The BizTalk messaging performance gives you the picture of the message count and average execution time of the total messages transferred during the configured datetime range.

Date Range – Select the date range for chart. The options are Last 24 hrs, Last 7 days, Last 30 days and Custom:

  • Last 24 Hrs – Displays the data from last 24 hours
  • Last 7 days – Displays the data from last 7 days
  • Last 30 days – Displays the data from last 30 days
  • Custom – To add a specific number of days, use the scroller to select the day

Based on the selected date range, the performance data gets collected from the BizTalk servers.

The other basic widgets include the Message volume and the Transmission failure rate widgets.

Lot more to do with Custom widgets

Don’t just stop with the basic widgets in the Analytics section; there is lot more to do with the Custom widgets.

Once the Analytics components, for which the data needs to be collected, are enabled, the different artifacts for the Custom widgets will get enabled. With the Custom widgets you can chose different metrics for which you want to view the data.

Let’s take a few scenarios to understand what we can achieve with the Custom widgets.

Comparing two BizTalk servers’ performances

There is a scenario where you would like to compare the performance of two BizTalk servers and see which one consumes more memory and CPU. This can be done by selecting the servers in the artifact section and corresponding metrics.

Get the message count for specific port

Of course, the count of messages passing through the port can be determined through process monitoring. But it will be checked with specific time intervals either in hours or minutes. But, what if you want to see the count instantly within the specific datetime range. Here comes the Custom widget, with which you can get the count of specific ports.

But to get these data, Tracking needs to be enabled for the ports. Based on the enabled tracking data collection counters, the data gets collected by the BizTalk360 Analytics service using the performance counters.

Failure rate of a port

Also, the failure rate of a particular port, running a specific host instance, can be determined with the help of a Custom widget. This would include the failure rate for the port and the number of instances running for that particular host. With the combination of these two metrics, the failure rate of a port can be determined and displayed in a nice graphical view.

Checking the MessageBoxDb

There are also counters for checking the MessageBoxDB. The key performance indicators of the message box database which includes the spool size and the status of the pending jobs, can be visualised with the widgets.

BizTalk Host Details

We do have certain metrics like Host Queue Length, number of instances and suspended instances for the particular hosts, which can be obtained from the custom widgets.

Above mentioned are the very few scenarios that can be achieved using the widgets. With the different combinations of the metrics, all performance related information can be obtained through the Analytics widgets.

Conclusion

Do you wish to see more information on the widgets or from the product itself, please put in your suggestions and feedback in our user voice portal https://feedback.biztalk360.com/. The existing ideas can also be voted for. We at BizTalk360 aim at providing the features that fulfill the customer requirements. It is from this feedback portal that the features get picked up for every release.

For more information about how these widgets work, check our Documentation portal.

Happy monitoring with BizTalk360 😊

Author: Praveena Jayanarayanan

I am working as Senior Support Engineer at BizTalk360. I always believe in team work leading to success because “We all cannot do everything or solve every issue. ‘It’s impossible’. However, if we each simply do our part, make our own contribution, regardless of how small we may think it is…. together it adds up and great things get accomplished.”

It’s time to upgrade – Here is BizTalk360 v8.9

It’s time to upgrade – Here is BizTalk360 v8.9

Hi there! It’s time to upgrade your BizTalk360 installation! We are here with our next release of BizTalk360, v8.9. As promised, this release also comes up with a bunch of exciting new features, enhancements and of course some bug fixes.

The series of blogs, explaining the different features coming up in v8.9, have already been released. But, to make it easy for our customers, we thought it would be nice to give a brief description of all these features in a single place. This way it would be easy to get the real big picture of this new release.

As per the below quotes,

The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them- preferably in unexpected and helpful ways

                                                                                                                  – Richard Branson

The features are added to the product based on the customer feedback and suggestions. We understand the customer needs and add them to the product to make the product as suitable as possible for the user. 

Come on, let’s jump in to get the list!

User Access Policy enhancements

In the User Access Policy section, the Application access section has new capabilities. Initially, it was a list of applications which needed to be checked for providing access to the Normal Users/Groups. But then, what about the newly deployed applications? Every time when a new application was deployed, the Admin would need to scroll down the entire list to check for the new applications and then provide access. This was very time-consuming.
Now, to ease the process, we have provided different rules for configuring the access. But then, only one rule can be applied at a time. The different rules include:

  • Grant Access by Applications
  • Grant Access to All Applications
  • Wildcard Search
  • Grant Access to Application groups

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. The user will automatically be granted access to all the newly deployed applications.

Wildcard Search

This enables users to select the options from the wildcard operator drop down. Once this rule is configured, the user will have access to all the applications matching this wildcard. 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 the applications to that group. Once the user is given access to the Application group, he/she can access all the applications which are mapped to that group.

Grant Access by Applications

For persisting the existing configuration data, we have another rule available: ‘Grant Access by Application’.  Once the upgrade is completed, this will be the default rule which is selected for existing users. The only difference between this configuration and the other new rules, is that when Grant Access by Applications is configured, newly applications created will not automatically be given access as in the other rules.

Stop Alerts for Maintenance during business holidays

If a user sets up multiple maintenance windows, they need to configure the business holidays individually. It will take much of your time, to configure them for every single environment in BizTalk360. To reduce the time and ease the maintenance configuration for the users, the capability to add business holiday calendars has been introduced.

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”.

In the Stop Alerts for Maintenance settings page, a new section is introduced to configure the business holiday calendars. All the configured calendars with Status enabled will be displayed in the “Select Business Holiday Calendar” drop down list. A user can select the desired calendar and use it for a maintenance window. During the business holiday, a maintenance window will be active.

The users can also exclude certain alarms during the maintenance. This means, that, except the selected alarms, other alarms will undergo maintenance. This capability is very useful in situations where administrators don’t want to receive alerts during the weekends except for few specific alarms.

Web Endpoint monitoring improvements

From 8.9 version on, BizTalk360 Web Endpoint authentication is extended to support:

Let’s have a look at the improvements in these areas.

Basic Access Authentication

This is a method for an HTTP user agent to provide a user name and password when making a request. To unauthenticated requests, the server should return a response whose header contains a HTTP 401 Unauthorized status and a WWW-Authenticate field. In the BizTalk Admin Console, an HTTP endpoint can provision Basic authentication with a username and password

Certificate Authentication

In BizTalk360, the authentication type of Basic or Windows, along with the client certificate thumbprint, is configured in the Authorization section of Web Endpoint monitoring.  

Azure Services Authentication

To be able to use Azure Services Authentication, a Service Principal must be configured in Azure. A Service Principal is an application within Azure Active Directory whose authentication tokens can be used as the client Id, client secret, and tenant fields (the subscription can be independently recovered from your Azure account details).

Additional content types

BizTalk360 8.9 extends the support to additional content types in request and response objects:

  1. SOAP (1.2) Content Type – “application/soap+XML” is a SOAP 1.2 content type which is added to the list. With this additional content type, SOAP V1.2 protocol is supported in web endpoint monitoring. The user can configure the XPath conditions to monitor the SOAP 1.2 endpoints, based on the results of the execution.
  2. Custom Content Type – When Endpoint Request/Response content types are not supported by BizTalk360, the Web Endpoint throws a HTTP 415 Unsupported Media Type. To prevent this from happening, you can configure Custom Content types. 

Extended Import/Export Configuration

In version 8.9, we added support for import and export of the following sections:

  1. Knowledge Base
    • Service Instances
    • ESB Exceptions
    • Event Logs
    • Throttling Data
  2. BizTalk Reports
  3.  Dashboards
    • Operation (Default & Custom Dashboards)
    • Analytics (Default & Custom Dashboards)
    • EDI Dashboards
    • ESB Dashboards
  4. Custom Widgets

The details of this feature can be found here.

Additional columns filter capability

Grid columns in BizTalk360 are getting a fresh look. You can customize the column headers which are most important to your business scenario.

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

BizTalk360 allows saving as many patterns as the user wants. To search the messages based on different scenarios, admins prefer different filter conditions to validate. In those situations, BizTalk360 allows to save different query filters and keeps them for future use. You can also download the customized column data using the Export to Excel capability.

Centralized Advanced Event Log viewer performance improvement

In our previous versions, up to v8.8, Event Log collection logic is not segregated based per server. To enable the Event Log collection, it is bound to the BizTalk environment and not on an individual server level. However, the user has control on configuring the sources based on the need.

In the new version of BizTalk360, users can control the Event Log collection according to individual servers. As an administrator, you know the value of each source which needs most considerations. So, there is an option as well in BizTalk360 to configure the BizTalk & SQL server sources separately.

Using these settings, you can customize and narrow down your Event Log search.



PowerShell Notification Channel

In our earlier versions, the users were already able to send notifications to specific notification channels (E.g.: Slack, ServiceNow, Webhook, Teams). Now the user can configure PowerShell scripts in the Notification Channel while configuring an alarm.

More Enhancements in BizTalk360 v8.9

Besides the above mentioned features, we have also brought a number of enhancements to existing features.

Monitor queues for message age – We have enhanced the option to monitor the queues with message ages (time of message till it exists in the queue) for IBM MQ and Service Bus Queues.

Notifications grouped by Error Description – Previously, Service instances were grouped by Error Code in the alert emails. Now, there is a new setting “Enable Group by Description” introduced to group the service instances based on the Error Description to get full insight about your errored service instances.

New filter option in ESB Exception portal – There is a new filter option “Service Name” introduced in the ESB Exception Data query builder. This will enable users to perform extensive search and get the desired results.

Restore XSLT templates – Whenever we make any improvements to the default email template there is no option for the users to restore the changes from the GUI. This makes them to manually copy/paste the XSLT from the database to utilize the new changes. To avoid the manual intervention, a new option has been provided “Restore System XSLT” to restore the changes from GUI.

PDF download available in more areas – PDF download capability is not new in BizTalk360. We have provided this option in few other areas of the application, to download the reports, dashboards and message flows from the GUI. This option is provided in Operation, Monitoring & Analytics Dashboards, Graphical Flow (Tracking) and Messaging Patterns.

Group your Logic Apps by and monitor on Resource Groups – In the earlier versions, Logic Apps are not grouped by Resource Group name. There was an issue to display the Logic Apps which are created in different Resource Groups with the same name. With the introduction of “Resource Group” column, Logic Apps are grouped by Resource Group in every single configured Azure subscription.

Multiple installer improvements – We have enhanced the BizTalk360 installer in v8.9 in few areas:

  • Single credentials during upgrade – Only one set of credentials (User Name, Password) will be asked during the upgrade process, in case the same credentials have been used for all the installed components
  • SQL Authentication – BizTalk360 will now support SQL Authentication for upgrade

Finally, of course, they are a number of bug fixes as well. Kindly refer the Release Notes for the complete details.

Conclusion

We always monitor the feedback portal and take up the suggestions and feedback. Now we would like to request you, our customers, to please take the time to fill this questionnaire to help us prioritize the next upcoming feature tasks, to let us know what are your main pain points and help us to further improve the product.

Why not give BizTalk360 a try! It takes about 10 minutes to install on your BizTalk environments and you can witness and check the security and productivity of your own BizTalk Environments. Get started with the free 30 days trial. Happy monitoring with BizTalk360!

Author: Praveena Jayanarayanan

I am working as Senior Support Engineer at BizTalk360. I always believe in team work leading to success because “We all cannot do everything or solve every issue. ‘It’s impossible’. However, if we each simply do our part, make our own contribution, regardless of how small we may think it is…. together it adds up and great things get accomplished.”

User Access Policy – The New Look for Application Access

User Access Policy – The New Look for Application Access

We are super excited to welcome our new release version of BizTalk360, v8.9. There has already been a series of blogs explaining the features coming up in the release. Here is another such blog which explains the enhancements done in the User Access Policy section in v8.9.

User Access Policy is one important feature in BizTalk360, where you can provide access to certain applications in your BizTalk environment to Normal Users and NT groups. This is not available at the BizTalk server level. The importance of this feature can be read here “Why did we build User Access Policy to Manage BizTalk Server Security?

Customer Feedback getting answered

In BizTalk360, we aim at improving the product and adding new features based on the customer feedback and business scenarios. The Feedback portal is one such platform for the customers to provide their suggestions on which can be voted by other customers, if they feel that these ideas fit in their business requirements as well. It’s based on the priority of voting the features and enhancements before getting picked up for development. One such feedback was the access to newly created BizTalk applications.

Hence, in the new release we thought of giving a fresh coat of paint to this feature, based on the feedback we received.

What’s New in User Access Policy

BizTalk360 supports management of multiple BizTalk Server environment from a single console. So, you can set up security and access rights from a single place. You can either configure security for individuals or as team (ex: Create an NT Group called “BizTalk Production Support”).

Now here comes the twist on the Application access. For your information, the rest all remains the same.

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 slightly 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
  • Grant Access to all Applications
  • Wildcard Search
  • Grant Access to Application Groups

Only one rule can be applied at a time. This holds for both users and groups. We shall have a detailed look at each one of them.

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 applications.

Note: The user will automatically be granted access to all the newly created applications. The user doesn’t need to scroll down the complete list, to select the newly created application and provide access. The extra burden to check for the new applications is now reduced.

Wildcard Search

This is the new capability introduced in this release. It enables users to select the options from the wildcard operator drop down.

With the four options that are available in the Wildcard search, the user can select the required option and provide the search value. Once this rule is configured, the user will have access to all the applications matching this wildcard.  The user will automatically be given access to the newly created applications that match the wildcard.

This will save a lot of time because in a business scenario, the applications will be named based on specific activity and it would be easy for the admins to select the appropriate wildcard option and provide access. This would be quite interesting and easy option for configuring access to these applications.

Grant Access to Application Groups

We know about the BizTalk Group. But what is this Application Group? Sounds new, isn’t it? Yes, it is new to BizTalk360. With this new capability, you can create Application Groups and map the applications to that group. Once the user is given access to the Application group, he can access all the applications mapped to that group.

The Concept of Application Groups

The Application Group is something new to BizTalk360. We always aim at providing a user interface that must ease the work of the customer, with minimal configuration. You can create a group and map the related applications to that group.

Now, providing access to this application group will automatically enable the users to access the applications which are mapped to that Application Group. This Application Group is only related to BizTalk360 and not to BizTalk itself. When the corresponding Normal User logs in to BizTalk360, his access will be limited to these applications. Only Super Users can view and edit the Application Groups.

The Normal Users/Groups will have access to other modules in BizTalk360, based on the applications only. The concept of Application Groups was created to ease the work of the admins.

It is also possible to view the list of Application Groups created for an environment; editing or deletion them is done by the Super users.

Scenario

Do you know what happens if you try to delete an Application Group that is already given access to a Normal user? It is not possible to delete that Application Group. The exception message would be captured and displayed in the UI.

This way, it would be easy to identify the association between the user and the Application Group.

Would it not be interesting to try this out?

What would happen to existing user configuration?

Now that we know what the different available options are for associating the applications to new users/groups. At this point of time, there must be a question coming up on what would happen to the existing users created when we upgrade from an older version to the new version of BizTalk360.

  • Will all that information be lost?
  • Do I need to create all the users once again and configure the rules?
  • Will the user data not get migrated during the upgrade?

Lot more questions would come up during the upgrade, as this is a critical area of security and there would be different users and groups which are already created and provided access to the applications.

Please don’t panic. As promised, we always take care of your data and configuration and migrate them successfully to the new version. There will not be any data loss.

Yes, your data and configuration are safe and will be migrated successfully during the upgrade. Now, said that the data will be safe, what will happen to the User configuration data after the upgrade? There was no concept of Wildcard or Application group in the previous versions. The only which was available, was to select the applications from the grid and save them.

For persisting the existing configuration data, we have another rule available: ‘Grant Access by Application’. You will probably be happy to hear that!

Once the upgrade is completed, this will be the default rule which is selected for existing users. Once the Super users edits the details for a Normal User, this rule is selected. They can now change the rule configuration as per the requirement.

The only difference between this configuration and the other new rules is that when Grant Access by Applications is configured, newly applications created will not automatically be given access as in the other rules.

Viewing the permitted applications

Once the rule is configured, there is a view option for the admin to verify who have been provided access to which applications. Here is the option that we have given:

A view option has been provided in the User settings screen, which will list all the permitted applications for the users.

By viewing the permitted applications, the Super User can verify if the access to the applications have properly been provided to the Normal users/groups.

Conclusion

With the new look for application access, we are convinced that we brought a great new feature 😊. It will save time for the admins to provide access to users and groups. It will now be easy for users to take care of the newly created applications as well. Once the rule is configured, it is all set and no need to worry about new applications.

Happy monitoring with BizTalk360!

Author: Praveena Jayanarayanan

I am working as Senior Support Engineer at BizTalk360. I always believe in team work leading to success because “We all cannot do everything or solve every issue. ‘It’s impossible’. However, if we each simply do our part, make our own contribution, regardless of how small we may think it is…. together it adds up and great things get accomplished.”

TLS Support in BizTalk360

TLS Support in BizTalk360

BizTalk360 is the One platform monitoring solution for BizTalk server. It only takes about 15 minutes to install the product and have it ready for use. The installation is very smooth and straightforward. During the installation, the web application, Monitoring and Analytics services and the database will be installed as per the selection of choice by the users.
One of the main advantage of the BizTalk360 installer is that you have the option to view the installer logs in case if there are any errors during the process. The installation log would contain the complete details of the installation steps, the service account details, the database connection string details etc. and of course the error details, if any.
Our BizTalk360 support team receive tickets from customers seeking assistance during the installation. In this blog, I would like to share an interesting case from a customer related to BizTalk360 installation.

The customer scenario

When the customer tried to install BizTalk360, they got below error in the creation of the BizTalk360 database step.

Here are the investigation steps

When the installer fails, our first step of investigation would be to check for the installation logs. In the logs, there was the following error message: Error 0x80004005: ‘failed to check if database exists’.
The next option would be to check for the permissions for the BizTalk360 service account in the SQL server hosting the BizTalk360 database. As a prerequisite for smooth installation of BizTalk360, the service account must be provided the db_owner permission for the BizTalk360 database. At the customer end, all the permissions were intact but still the error persisted. After a thorough analysis, we found the root cause to be with the TLS version installed in the servers.

Standards for securing communication

As database driven applications are increasing their hold on the systems market, the security of the retained information is also increasing. One way of mitigating a potential attack during a user’s session, would be to use a secure communication protocol to encrypt data in transit between the user and the server on which the sensitive information resides. Two of these communication protocols used are: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS).
SSL was first introduced by Netscape back in 1993-1994. The growth of the Internet was rising and so was the need for transport security. Today SSL/TLS is used in almost every conceivable online service. TLS is the protocol that allows digital devices (such as computers and phones) to communicate over the internet securely, without the transmission being vulnerable to an outside audience. The latest version of TLS is TLS1.2.

How did TLS hinder the installation of BizTalk360?

As per any organization’s security policy, they would be installing TLS protocol for more security. But do you think that this protocol would make the BizTalk360 installer to fail? How is that related to BizTalk360? Let’s move on to find the answer.
Let us consider the following setup for BizTalk360. Having a single BizTalk Server & standalone BizTalk360 environment, the setup will look like below.

The BizTalk360 database may be hosted on a separate SQL Server as well. In that scenario, all the servers will have the TLS installed and they communicate with each other through the protocol. In some of the customers’ cases, where they disabled TLS 1.0 and enabled TLS 1.2, they had the difficulty in installing BizTalk360 as the database was not getting created. However, once TLS 1.0 was enabled and TLS1.2 disabled, the installation was successful with the database creation.

The different scenario of the customer

In another customer scenario, they were using the SQL Express Edition for hosting the BizTalk360 database. This is first time we have come across such a case with the SQL Server edition. At first, we suggested them to enable TLS1.0 and disable TLS1.2. But when TLS1.2 was disabled, they faced the error in connecting to the SQL Server as shown below.

We tried different options for enabling the TLS versions, but this did not solve the error at all. Let’s move ahead to know the real cause of the error and how we resolved it.

The WiX toolset and BizTalk360 installer

BizTalk360 installer uses the WiX toolset for the installation package and database creation. It seemed that there was no support for TLS 1.2 in the WiX toolset for the SQL Express edition. Hence it was not able to connect to the SQL Server for the database creation.
The BizTalk360 installer is so robust that each and every error will be displayed, and it won’t allow the installation to proceed in case if it encounters any problem. The installation logs are an added advantage to get the clear picture of the error message. The below picture shows the TLS settings at the customer end.

As a quick step for testing this case, we immediately provisioned a VM with the same configuration as the customer and we were able to reproduce the exact issue. After a complete analysis and research, we found the issue with the WiX toolset. Now that we had identified the issue with the WiX toolset, the update was available for it. With this updated version of the installer,  the installation was successful, and the database was also created.
This was a different experience and of course a good learning for us. We, the support people, now had acquired the background knowledge of the installer as well as the TLS protocols.

Conclusion

New experiences lead to new learnings. As TLS 1.0 has been deprecated, many of our customers who have already moved to TLS 1.2 were not sure if BizTalk360 supports the latest version. Now the installer supports the latest TLS version, which is TLS1.2. This will be updated in our upcoming release version of BizTalk360 v8.9. When the customers upgrade to v8.9, they can have TLS 1.2 enabled which was not the case previously. When they had TLS1.0 disabled, they were not able to install BizTalk360. They had to enable TLS1.0, disable TLS1.2, install BizTalk360 and then once again disable TLS 1.0, which is a cumbersome job.
Now BizTalk360 supports TLS 1.2. Happy monitoring with BizTalk360!!! 😊.

Author: Praveena Jayanarayanan

I am working as Senior Support Engineer at BizTalk360. I always believe in team work leading to success because “We all cannot do everything or solve every issue. ‘It’s impossible’. However, if we each simply do our part, make our own contribution, regardless of how small we may think it is…. together it adds up and great things get accomplished.”

Analytics Features enhancements in BizTalk360 v8.8

Analytics Features enhancements in BizTalk360 v8.8

Using BizTalk360 Analytics, you can visualize a lot of interesting facts about your BizTalk environment, like number of messages processed, failure rate at message type level, BizTalk server CPU/Memory performances, BizTalk process (host instances, SSO, rules engine, EDI etc), CPU/memory utilization and lots more.

In a data-driven business setup, there will be scenarios where critical executive decisions are made based on the performance reports of various components of the listed servers in their environment. BizTalk360 aims to offer an out of the box tool with similar capabilities as the Performance Monitor tool in Windows servers. BizTalk360 Analytics offers visual display of the most important performance counters that are consolidated and arranged on a single screen so that the information can be monitored in a glance. Custom reports can be built in minutes with the metrics that really count for your business, and they’re easy to share with other users in the system. In addition, dashboards can give you a summary of many reports on a single page using drag-and-drop widgets for fast, easy customization.

In every new release of BizTalk360, we include new features and enhancements to make the product more usable for the customers and adding value for them as per the below quotes,

Excellent organisations consistently add value for the customers by understanding, anticipating and fulfilling needs, expectations and opportunities

Let’s see what we have brought for the Analytics module in BizTalk360 v8.8:

  • Zoom In and Out option for the Message Patterns
  • Renaming option for the Message Pattern title
  • Restart option for the Analytics and Monitoring Windows services

In this article, we are having a look at all these improvements.

Zoom In and Out option for the message patterns

In a typical BizTalk environment, there will be different message flows happening. It could be a simple one-way messaging or more complex message pattern with an orchestration connecting different ports. The unique message patterns are captured and displayed in BizTalk360 with a graphical representation. With messaging patterns, you can get to know how many messages passed through a particular port and the average time of execution for the messages across a time period. 

The difficulty here lies in viewing the complex patterns within small screen resolution. For this reason, we have included the zoom in/out feature for the message patterns in the full screen mode.

Analytics features enhancements in BizTalk360 v8.8: Zoom In/Out button in Graphical Flow

This option comes into picture when the message pattern is opened in full screen mode and you can zoom in /out using either the mouse or the icons present. In the full screen mode, the properties of the ports are not displayed. To view the properties, this mode needs to be exited.

Renaming option for the Message Pattern title

Once a message pattern is recognized by BizTalk360, the message flow is saved with a GUID as its title. This would be difficult to remember and not user friendly. Hence, we had the edit option in a separate screen, enabling the user to provide a descriptive name and detailed description for the message pattern.
Based on the few requests from the customers however, there is an extra capability added to rename the message pattern title from the details screen itself. In this case, the users can directly rename the title in the details section where the message flow is seen instead of going to a separate screen.

Analytics features enhancements in BizTalk360 v8.8: Zoom In/Out in Message Patterns

Restart option for Analytics and Monitoring Windows services

Sometimes an exception occurs during monitoring or in the analytics section. Once that exception is resolved, it is recommended to restart these services to reset the errors in the corresponding sub services.

In this scenario, the user would need to login to the server where the service is installed and then restart it. If the service is installed in more than one server, then they would need to login to all the servers for restarting the services.

To make life a little bit easier, we have added the restart option in BizTalk360 application. When this option is clicked, the service installed in multiple servers will get restarted.

Analytics features enhancements in BizTalk360 v8.8: Restart BizTalk360 services

Other improvements

There are other bug fixes as well, in the Analytics section included as part of the BizTalk360 v8.8 release, which include:

  • Improving the performance by deleting the temporary tables created
    • In BizTalk360 Analytics section, for displaying the data for the messaging patterns, we directly query the MessageBox database and the Tracking database and store them in the temporary table in TempDB. Depending on the volume of data, these temporary tables may cause performance hinge in BizTalk360. Based on the auto growth settings in the SQL server, the TempDb will grow and results in SQL Exception for few widgets. The code is modified to delete the temporary tables after fetching data. Hence, data growth is controlled and there will not be any performance glitch.
  • The edit icon for the date time range in the Analytics widget has been removed as there is already a link present
    • The custom widgets in the Analytics section is designed to display the data based on the date time range, which is last 24 hours, 7 days and 30 days. You also have the option to set the custom date time range. The datetime range in the custom widget data already has the link to edit the date. There was an additional edit link present in these widgets which we thought would be unnecessary as it may not be used. Hence this link was removed to make the widgets more user friendly.
  • Displaying the data for available memory in the widget
    • Widgets in the Analytics Dashboard are designed to provide the user with a graphical data. There are three different types of widgets that can be used,
      • Default/Basic Widgets
      • Static Widgets
      • Custom Widgets
      • You can create and customize the different types of widgets only under the Operations Dashboard and Analytics Dashboard. The process to perform these operations remains the same.

Sometimes there may be inconsistent occurrence of certain issues which may be difficult to be identified. One such issue was that “When the Available memory % counter for SQL server was added to the custom widget and when the widget was refreshed, the data for memory % was not getting displayed in the graph”. The root cause for this case was identified and fixed in BizTalk360 v8.8.

Please refer the release notes link below for the complete list of enhancements and bug fixes in v8.8:

https://docs.biztalk360.com/v1.0/docs/v8821162405

Conclusion

Why not give BizTalk360 a try! It takes about 10 minutes to install on your BizTalk environments and you can witness and check the security and productivity features of BizTalk360, within your own BizTalk Environments. Get started with the free 30 days trial. If you are already using BizTalk360 you can download the latest version directly from the product and upgrade, it to enjoy the new features.

Author: Praveena Jayanarayanan

I am working as Senior Support Engineer at BizTalk360. I always believe in team work leading to success because “We all cannot do everything or solve every issue. ‘It’s impossible’. However, if we each simply do our part, make our own contribution, regardless of how small we may think it is…. together it adds up and great things get accomplished.”

BizTalk360 v8.8 Released

BizTalk360 v8.8 Released

With BizTalk360, the one stop monitoring solution for BizTalk server, we always understand the empathy of the customers and improve the product accordingly, by developing new features and enhancing the existing ones.

“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know their expectations.” – Roy H. Williams

We receive customer suggestions/feedback through various channels like our support portal, the feedback forum, emails etc. We make sure that all these suggestions and feedback are being answered and that they are accommodated in the product. The outcome is a new version, being released with the new set of features, enhancements and of course several bug fixes.

“Success is not delivering a feature, it is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.” – Eric Ries

We understand the customer needs and add them to the product to make the product as suitable as possible for the user. We are delighted to announce the availability of BizTalk360 version 8.8 with the introduction of a new feature, most expected enhancements and bug fixes.

New Features

Import/Export of BizTalk360 configuration

This is the most wanted feature in BizTalk360 as suggested by most of the customers. In the earlier versions of BizTalk360, we had the ability to import and export the alarms. But there was a requirement to have the option to import/export the other features like user access, saved queries etc. In this new release of BizTalk360, we have the option to import/export the following between the BizTalk environments.

  1. Alarm – Already exists (Moving to the new menu in the settings side)
  2. User Access Policies
  3. Saved Queries
    1. MessageBox and Tracking queries
    2. Advanced Event Viewer queries
    3. ESB, BAM and EDI queries)
  4. Secure SQL Queries

Enhancements

The feedback portal is frequently monitored and we make sure the customers’ suggestions are heard and answered. Usually, higher vote requests are considered for the upcoming release implementation. This release of BizTalk360 includes the following enhancements, which were based on requests taken from the feedback portal.

Stop alerts for maintenance:

This feature is added to allow the user to setup multiple maintenance windows in the future, so that the alarms will be disabled during that period and no notifications will be sent. The following options are available:

  1. Can set multiple maintenance window
  2. View the historical maintenance schedules
  3. Maintenance notification will be shown in the dashboard with maintenance details like time and date

When the maintenance period is active, the user will be alerted that the maintenance period is currently going on with an informational message, both in the Operational dashboard as well as in Stop Alerts screen. Information regarding the start and end times of the maintenance window will also be provided.
Stop Alert For Maintenance
A Purging policy is also set, for managing the table size of the historical maintenance schedules.

Allow users of applications to view Policies/Rules for just their application(s)

The user can now view the business rules associated for the application in the application view under “Application support” section, irrespective of the Business Rule Composer access permission.

Grid Filter capability

In a BizTalk environment, there are various types of data flows happening through the system. BizTalk360 allows users to query all the different types of data available in the BizTalk environment from a single location and the results are displayed in grid columns.

Our grid columns got a new makeover! This new capability is specially designed to improve grid performance in high-volume environments. Filtering grid columns could result in a good end-user experience and get faster desired result.

There are four types of filters namely,

  1. Date Time Filter
  2. Status Filter
  3. Boolean Filter
  4. String Filter

Application Filter

Pagination across all the modules

Pagination ability has been implemented across the product to improve the performance and usability of each grid view. This will divide the grid dynamically into separate pages, using the system settings configuration. A user can also change the grid page size dynamically. Based on the Max Match value, which can be configured in the System settings, a user can select a value for the pagination grid.
Pagination
The user can switch the page by selecting the next/previous arrows and can also switch by selecting the page number directly at the bottom of the grid display. The selected page will get highlighted accordingly.

Export to Excel

This functionality is already available in BizTalk360. In this version, it has been enhanced for better usability purpose. Now the user can export multiple grid information either in a single sheet or in separate sheets as well. The link type Export to Excel option has been modified to a dropdown in case there are multiple exportable data sources present.
Export to Excel

Notification emails with high importance

This is a new and powerful capability, which we have included in this version. Most of the time we receive a lot of emails and important messages. BizTalk360 notification emails may be overlooked in our long list of messages. This functionality is useful for support people to determine the priority of the emails and allowing the user to take action quickly.
High Priority Settings

BAM Enhancements

There were few changes made in BAM in our earlier release version v 8.7. This is continued in this new version as well.

  • Now the user can download the message content from both the database as well as the archive folder
  • Earlier, BAM data was getting displayed in the UTC date format irrespective of the user profile. Now this has been modified to display the BAM data in the user profile time format

Miscellaneous enhancements

The remaining enhancements include the following:

  • Zoom in/out options for the modules Graphical Message flow /Message Patterns:

The zoom in/out option has been provided for viewing the message flows in the Graphical Message Flow and Message Patterns. This will help users to view the complete flow of messages involving complex orchestrations without any difficulty.

  • Restart option for the analytics and monitoring services in the UI:

The user can now restart the analytics and monitoring services from BizTalk360 UI, without logging into the server where the services are installed. When the services are installed in high availability mode, the services will get restarted in all the servers where they are installed.

  • Host Instance restart – This is a new functionality where users can restart the host instances from BizTalk360 itself
  • The user can now terminate scheduled messages from BizTalk360 -> Message Box (Queries)

Issues resolved from different areas

We have closed around 70 support tickets as part of fixing the issues in different areas. Please refer the Release notes .

Conclusion

We always monitor the feedback portal and take up the suggestions and feedback. Now we would like to request you, our customers, to please take the time to fill this questionnaire to help us prioritize the next upcoming feature tasks, to let us know what are your main pain points and help us to further improve the product.

Why not give BizTalk360 a try! It takes about 10 minutes to install on your BizTalk environments and you can witness and check the security and productivity of your own BizTalk Environments. Get started with the free 30 days trial.

Author: Praveena Jayanarayanan

I am working as Senior Support Engineer at BizTalk360. I always believe in team work leading to success because “We all cannot do everything or solve every issue. ‘It’s impossible’. However, if we each simply do our part, make our own contribution, regardless of how small we may think it is…. together it adds up and great things get accomplished.”