Year End Recap – A lot can change in a year!

Year End Recap – A lot can change in a year!

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to gather your thoughts and think about all you’ve done, and every step – no matter how big or small, got you to where you are today.

Our parent company, Kovai Ltd., made huge strides this year and we have 4 active products in the market. We now have the complete package of tools to support hybrid integration scenarios .

A One Platform solution for your Operational, Monitoring and Analytic needs for your BizTalk environment

Empower functional support teams and Business users by providing end to end visibility into Azure integration Services with rich business context

The comprehensive way to operate, manage and monitor Azure Serverless Services related to Enterprise Integration

The Knowledge Base Software that scales with your Product

Customer Happiness Team

Managing all our customers and providing top-notch customer service is at the topmost of our priorities. Customer Service is all about serving and helping at the right time. It isn’t about selling or wanting something from your customers – But guiding and helping our customers to achieve the best from our products.

Being part of the technical support & Customer Relationship team has given us a good base to have well-meaning conversations with our customers and understand the crux of their issues and suggest suitable alternatives, workarounds or provide helpful information. Our clients really appreciate the time spent with them to help resolve their issues.

Customers don’t connect with automated bots,

 Customers connect with real people.

This year the Technical support team pushed the boundaries of their skills and became part of the new DevOps teams.

DevOps is the practice of operations and development engineers participating together in the entire service lifecycle, from design through the development process to production support.

Everyone on the team provided their contribution in the form of developing a new feature, enhancing an existing feature, testing, documenting, writing blogs and so on. All the product support engineers underwent product training with the help of the respective developers who developed the product features and with the QA who tested, and they evolved from support engineers to QA cum Product Support engineer.

Document360 Team

This year is again special for us at Kovai as we started a non-integration product that is mainly aimed at customers who are struggling like us to find a dedicated self-service knowledge base platform that meet our needs.

At Kovai Limited, we needed this platform for providing customer support for our products. In fact, the whole thought process of Document360 was driven by the pain points we have seen using the Helpdesk software for documentation.

We attended multiple events around London & Dublin, spreading the word of our Knowledge Base solution – Document360

INTEGRATE 2018

Our annual event – INTEGRATE 2018 – had (420+) attendees, speakers, sponsors this year and was a grand success. The event was held at ETC. Venues in the city center of London.

We had a lot of interesting speakers from Microsoft as well from across the integration landscape all over the world. We had speakers from as close as the UK, but also as far away as New Zealand and Australia! All our sponsor booths had heavy footfall as well. It was great to meet old friends and make new friends by meeting people in the real world, who we normally only meet via email and conference calls!

Each year, we try to bring some entertainment to the event. Last year we had a magician, while a new interesting concept this year was that BizTalk360 hired Visual Scribing to come and draw a mural of all the presentations, capturing the key messages throughout the conference.

We also hired some entertainers whose skills the attendees thoroughly enjoyed. A Caricaturist who captured all the attendees true likeness and a skilled saxophone player who blew everyone’s socks off!

Integrate 2018

It was a testament to the hard work carried out by the entire team to successfully pull off an event of this scale.

We are surely going to run the INTEGRATE event in 2019 as well! In fact, there will be an event in London and one in Redmond at the Microsoft Campus.

Feel free to join us in 2019 as the registrations are already open now with Early Bird offering:

Xmas in Kovai UK

Team Kovai UK had a memorable Christmas lunch complete with Santa hats at the Rose & Crown, Orpington. As the usual tradition, we also celebrated Secret Santa in the office and had a few laughs and decorated our gorgeous Christmas Tree.

The year had indeed come to an end, and we look forward to the coming year as new challenges and opportunities come our way and with each step, we become better and build our strength and character.

So, another year has gone by, we are older and wiser and can look forward to the new year of things yet to unfold

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

Rochelle Saldanha is currently working in the Customer Support & Client Relationship Teams at BizTalk360. She loves travelling and watching movies.

Getting BizTalk360 to run a BHM Monitoring profile

Getting BizTalk360 to run a BHM Monitoring profile

Continuing in our series of blogs, Customer feedback getting Answered, where we will be trying to address and answer some of the issues, where a workaround is possible, rather than awaiting a new feature release.

Today we will address an issue relating to BizTalk Health Monitor (BHM) integration in BizTalk360.

Issue at hand

One of our existing customers posted the following feedback request: http://feedback.biztalk360.com/forums/331695-biztalk360-operations/suggestions/20567692-bhm-bt360-profile-use-monitoring-profile
He wanted to specify or change the BHM Monitoring Profile that BizTalk360 should use.

Monitoring Profile in BHM

The BizTalk snap-in, “BizTalk Health Monitor” (aka “BHM”), has so been created to help you easily monitor the health of your BizTalk environment. BHM is based on the same engine as MBV. This snap-in can be added to the existing BizTalk Administration Console or can be run individually in its own MMC window.

A Monitoring profile is in fact a BHM profile, but configured specifically to execute a short selection of critical BHM queries/rules and custom rules checking the state of given ports, orchestrations, host instances, queues and BizTalk databases sizes and raise critical warnings detected in a log.

Current Working of BizTalk360 integrated BHM

The BizTalk360 product integrates with BHM, but currently has the limitation that you cannot specify a profile, that is stored in BHM, which should be scheduled and run at those specific times.

Solution Workaround

If you wish for BizTalk360 to run a certain BHM profile – Follow the below workaround.

  • Save the Profile. This will automatically save a copy in the folder – C:ProgramDataMicrosoftBizTalkHealthMonitor with the name MBVSETTINGS_.xml
  • Now you need to copy this XML file and paste it in the BizTalk360 folder – C:Program Files (x86)Kovai LtdBizTalk360Service.
  • Delete the existing MBVSETTINGS.xml and rename the copied file to MBVSETTINGS.xml

Now BizTalk360 has been setup to pick that Profile to execute in it’s scheduled runs. Then, the next time you hit -> ‘Run BHM now‘, or BizTalk360 scheduled runs for BHM start, BizTalk360 will pick that profile and run the rules for it.

Hope you found this workaround helpful.

Thanks to our customer Joost for his help in the investigation.

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

Rochelle Saldanha is currently working in the Customer Support & Client Relationship Teams at BizTalk360. She loves travelling and watching movies.

Introducing the PowerShell Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Introducing the PowerShell Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Notifications are an established concept for alerting users. By default, a number of external notification channels are inbuilt into BizTalk360. The only step you need to do, is to configure these notification channels with the appropriate URL, Access Token value (for Slack) and Authentication settings (for ServiceNow and WebHook), and Teams WebHook Connector (for Microsoft Teams). What this means for you, is that if you are already using either of these channels in your organization, it becomes easier to receive alerts from BizTalk360 right into these channels.

Since previous versions of BizTalk360, the notifications from BizTalk360 can be sent through various channels like:

Besides the above mentioned channels, BizTalk360 also provides an easy to use API, to enable you to create notification channels for connecting to your own systems. Read more about creating your own custom notification channels in our Documentation portal.

Now, integration with PowerShell allows you to execute a PowerShell script, each time an alarm is triggered when the threshold is crossed.

This was one of the features most requested by customers, as a nice to have requirement, as it would enable them to perform some tasks via a PowerShell script, each time the alarm was triggered.

Steps to implement the PowerShell Notification Channel

It only takes a few steps to use the PowerShell Notification Channel:

  • Create the PowerShell script
  • Configuring the PowerShell Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Both steps are explained below.

Create the PowerShell script

  1. Create the script in the PowerShell ISE or a plain text editor such as Notepad and save it with a .PS1 file extension (for example, myscript.ps1)
  2. Run the script by entering the full path to the script (c:/scripts/myscript.ps1), or if it’s in the current directory, prefix it with a period followed by a slash ( ./myscript.ps1 )

Configuring the PowerShell Notification Channel in BizTalk360

  • You can find the Powershell Notification Channel under Settings > Monitoring and Notification > Manage Notification Channels. Select Notifier.PowerShellNotification
  • Click “Configure” to open the configuration panel

PowerShell Notification Channel: Configuring the channel

During the configuration, provide the path along with the file name where the PowerShell script is present.

  • In the Alarm section (Monitoring -> Manage Alarms), when you edit the alarm, enable the PowerShell notifications channel using the slider.

Note: Unless you wish to override the script provided in the settings page, there is no need to provide the path once again

PowerShell Notification Channel: Enable in an alarm

Whenever a violation appears for the given alarm, this will trigger the notification channel and it will hit the PowerShell script. 

Here, in the sample PowerShell script(Restart.ps1), we have included some basic code to restart the BizTalk360 Analytics service, but you can include more complex code to perform any actions via a Powershell script.

Customer Scenarios

  • Use case 1: Automatically disable a receive location, such as when suspended instances hit a certain threshold

Consider the following setup – Microsoft CRM plugins, connected to a Receive Location are failing periodically. When they are down, the customer gets flooded with suspended instances. To prevent this from happening, the user wants to Disable the Receive Location.

This is how we can implement this using BizTalk360.

  1. Configure the PowerShell notification Channel
  2. First, create a Threshold alarm and setup the notification channel to be PowerShell, providing the script name if you wish to override the default Powershell script provided
  3. Then, in Manage Mapping, select the alarm and the artifact – Suspended Instances and put our threshold which causes the alarm to trigger

PowerShell Notification Channel: Manage alarms

Now when the alarm triggers, along with the default email notification, the PowerShell script which disables the receive location mentioned in the script, will be run. Any errors will be logged in the PowerShell notification channel log (External.log).

  • Use case 2: Stopping Host Instances, in case of too many running instances

A customer uses Data Monitoring for monitoring running instances of a particular orchestration in BizTalk. Sometimes it occurs that the application generates more messages than the downstream system can handle. To prevent damage, the Host Instances which serve the BizTalk application, need to be stopped to be able to identify the root cause.

The PowerShell notification channel not just works with Threshold alarms, but also based on Data Monitors. In above scenario, a Message Box Data Monitor has been setup, but you could also trigger PowerShell scripts based on the other categories of Data Monitoring. This could make the PowerShell notification channel to a strong extension of your tool set.

  • Use case 3: We could fire a PowerShell script to restart IIS

We can implement these scenarios using BizTalk360 using similar steps as scenario1 but now the Alarm will be a Threshold alarm, not on Application artifacts but in BizTalk Environment -> Web Endpoint Monitoring.

Like scenario1 the alarm will have PowerShell notification enabled and when the Web end-point is triggered when the response is not fast enough, the Powershell script will run and restart the windows service (This should be programmed in the .ps1 file)

So, I hope these scenarios gave you a good idea of how the PowerShell notification channel can help you. This can also be considered as an action to be carried out if the alarms are triggered.

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

Rochelle Saldanha is currently working in the Customer Support & Client Relationship Teams at BizTalk360. She loves travelling and watching movies.

Setup multiple Maintenance Windows in BizTalk360

Setup multiple Maintenance Windows in BizTalk360

Introduction

BizTalk360 allows you to setup monitoring on many artifacts and also allows you to auto-correct artifacts which have hit an unexpected state. During day to day operations it is very helpful to have this monitoring in place as it will save the BizTalk administrator(s) a lot of time because they don’t have to do that monitoring manually.

However, there are also times that you don’t want this monitoring to be active. Think of for example during maintenance windows because of deployments or installation of security patches. To temporarily stop monitoring, BizTalk360 provides a feature called ‘Stop Alerts for Maintenance’, which enabled the user to set up a single maintenance window. This feature can be found in the Settings area of the product.

In BizTalk360 v8.8, we have extended that feature by adding the capability to allow the user to setup multiple future maintenance windows. So during these periods the alarms will be disabled and no notifications will be sent.

In this article, we will take a detailed look at few end-to-end scenarios of settings up maintenance windows with a real-time scenario.

Scenario: Regular Maintenance windows

Let’s say, weekly on a Saturday some work involving performing weekly maintenance checks of the reliability, administration, security, and performance of a BizTalk Server system are done.
When the ports are down, you might continue to get notifications from BizTalk360 as it continues to monitor the BizTalk environment. In this case you would like to setup a maintenance window to stop all alerts during that period.

Follow the below steps as shown:

1. Log in to the BizTalk360 application
2. Go to the Settings page by clicking the Gear icon on top left hand side.
3. Navigate to ‘Monitoring & Notifications‘ and then ‘Stop Alerts for Maintenence
4. Select the environment which you wish BizTalk360 to stop monitoring and the correct date and start time of maintenance and the duration of the window. Also provide a Comment for Auditing purposes and click ‘Save’

Setup multiple Maintenance Windows: configuration settings

5. Here you can set up future maintenance schedules. As these are saved in the BizTalk360 database, they are displayed in the Grid below the configuration section

The Alert Maintenance Schedule grid shows you the list of scheduled maintenance windows for that environment. You can also delete schedules in this table by clicking on the small bin icon on the right-hand side of each of the schedules. If you wish to see the Historical Maintenance Schedules that have gone past, you can switch Tabs and view the results there.

Scenario: Emergency maintenance window

In case some emergency is happening and you don’t want to receive falsified notifications from BizTalk360, you can also set this up.

1.  Select the environment which you wish BizTalk360 to stop monitoring and the correct date and start time of maintenance and the duration of the window

2. Use the Immediate slider option for the maintenance window to start immediately

Setup multiple Maintenance Windows: Immediate setting

3. Define how long the Maintenance window must remain active

4. Give comment for Auditing purposes and click ‘Save’

Now the maintenance window is started immediately, and BizTalk360 notifications will cease while maintenance is on.

When the maintenance period is on

You will be alerted that the maintenance period is currently going on with an informational message both in the Operational dashboard as well as in the Stop Alerts screen as well.

Setup multiple Maintenance Windows: Maintenance window is active

Information regarding the start & end times of maintenance window will also be provided.

Setup multiple Maintenance Windows: Date/time details

This feature is very useful to keep track of the maintenance schedules that are upcoming and those that have already passed. It also shows some form of auditing as you can see the person who scheduled a maintenance window in BizTalk360.

As soon as the maintenance window finishes, BizTalk360 will start sending notifications again based on the monitoring.

Purging maintenance windows

We have also set in place some purging policies to help manage the table size of the historical maintenance schedules.

To view this configuration

1. Log in to the BizTalk360 application
2. Go to the Settings page by clicking the Gear icon on top left hand side.
3. Navigate to ‘BizTalk360 Health‘ and then ‘Data Purging‘.

Setup multiple Maintenance Windows: Purging policy

The default value is 15 days, so every 15 days the Alert & maintenance history is purged, but this can be changed as per your requirements.

Conclusion

If you want to read more about this and all the other features BizTalk360 provides, check out our Documentation portal.

Improvement of the existing ‘Stop Alerts for Maintenance’ feature was implemented based on the voting and requests on our feedback portal. If you feel there is any feature that would benefit you, please make a note in the feedback portal.

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

Rochelle Saldanha is currently working in the Customer Support & Client Relationship Teams at BizTalk360. She loves travelling and watching movies.

BizTalk360 Customer Support — 2017 Achievement

BizTalk360 Customer Support — 2017 Achievement

BizTalk360 Customer Support Statistics

The stats are in. Our continuous striving for improvement and dedication have resulted in some really positive numbers in BizTalk360 Customer Support. Here’s some statistics that we are happy to share. These statistics are taken from data provided by our customer support platform – Freshdesk.

  • 5514 customer queries addressed in 2017
  • Tickets ranging across technical support, licensing and sales enquiries
  • The busiest month for the team was the month of May 2017. We received about 1300 support tickets.
  • We managed to respond to 97% of the tickets and resolve 84% of the tickets within the SLA
  • We resolved 73% of the tickets with just one response to the customer
  • Our top performing support agent was Praveena Jayanarayanan
  • We received support tickets on
    • Email
    • Support Portal
    • Feedback widget
  • 86% of our customers rated our support as awesome and were happy with the support offered to them

What’s coming in 2018?

Here’s what is expected from BizTalk360 in 2018 –

  1. Launch of two new products – Atomic Scope and Document360
  2. INTEGRATE 2018 – June 4 – 6 at etc.Venues, 155 Bishopsgate, London. Registrations are open. Grab your tickets today.

BizTalk360 Customer Support

Video

Here’s a short video on our customer support statistics.

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

Rochelle Saldanha is currently working in the Customer Support & Client Relationship Teams at BizTalk360. She loves travelling and watching movies.

Looking Back at My Past Year in BizTalk360!

Looking Back at My Past Year in BizTalk360!

In case you haven’t been on social media lately, you may have missed out on the fact that nearly everyone is sharing a photo collage of the past year.

So here’s a blog talking about my past year in BizTalk360 where I (Rochelle) work as a Customer Support Agent as well as being part of the Client Relationship Team.

Support Technical Training

The year started off with a bang, with technical training provided to the Support team so they would understand better the internal workings of the product and furthermore helped them get a better insight into the various troubleshooting steps carried out by Developers during calls.

Support has been a large part of my daily activity, where the team advises customers regarding their technical issues. Besides these, we also do a Best Practice Installation for new customers which helps them set up the product in a 2-hour slot and gets them up and running.

Client Relationship(CR) Team was formed in BizTalk360

This is a new initiative in BizTalk360 to reach the end customers, to understand their pain points and to improve business relationships. It has been a really rewarding experience to actually speak to the customer rather than the typical email chains we actually get to know them better.

Just a few months after starting the program, we expanded the 2-person team to 4 and reached almost 350 customers. We celebrated in the office with a nice cake!

Looking Back at My Past Year in BizTalk360!

Our team is now in regular contact with most of our customers. Quite a few of the scenarios we faced were customers having minor niggling issues with the product and didn’t know that they could be easily resolved. Moreover, a few of our customers were unaware of the Tracking Manager feature introduced in v8.2 onwards, which could really be helpful to them. We listened to their usage of the product and then identified and suggested possible solutions or workarounds.

Proud to be part of this fun team as well!

INTEGRATE 2017

My first INTEGRATE @BizTalk360. It was an amazing event with so many interesting speakers and the scale was so large. We had 400 participants from all over the world!

Looking Back at My Past Year in BizTalk360!

We were all given the opportunity to introduce ourselves and a few of the speakers in the events.

Looking Back at My Past Year in BizTalk360!

We met many of our existing customers and it was wonderful to finally put a face to all the email exchanges we’ve had via Support and the CR teams. BizTalk360 Customers and Partners from all over the world arrived. The 3 days were packed with so many activities – besides organizing and setting up the event, we also took testimonials from our customers on the product BizTalk360 and the entire INTEGRATE experience as well. Can’t wait for next year’s event in June 2018!

Looking Back at My Past Year in BizTalk360!

Here is one of our customer quotes.

BizTalk360 has made INTEGRATE one of the must attend integration events of the year.

Customer Site visit

BizTalk360 has a lot of features which can be quite overwhelming for someone new. Many companies appreciate an in-depth intensive BizTalk360 training provided by our BizTalk360 Experts. I was given the opportunity to join our BizTalk Administrator/Export on his training session. It was a learning experience to actually see the product being used in action at the customer site and all the possible issues they face when trying to set up the integration environments and monitoring with BizTalk360.

I also joined our Business Development Manager – Duncan to present the product to one of the UK’s leading estate agents in Central London. We hope to make this a more regular occurrence to personally present to companies  interested in BizTalk360.

Fun Fridays in the Office

This year we also started Fun Fridays wherein the lunch hour, we have some fun and games. I have organized a few of the team building sessions and everyone really enjoyed them. We played games like HeadsUp(similar to dumb charades) and also had a secret team mission in the office (which was to place an object on another team’s desk without them noticing for a certain period of time).

Looking Back at My Past Year in BizTalk360!

Christmas Celebrations in the BizTalk360 before the Hackathon begins in India (December)

We celebrated Christmas in style by having a number of events to mark the festive holiday. We had a magician to show us some spectacular tricks, celebrated Secret Santa, and had a lovely meal in a local restaurant.

Looking Back at My Past Year in BizTalk360!

So that was a quick tour of 2017 in the BizTalk360 Office. As Facebook says

Because a year is made of more than just time,

It’s made of all the people you spent that time with

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

Rochelle Saldanha is currently working in the Customer Support & Client Relationship Teams at BizTalk360. She loves travelling and watching movies.

Introducing the Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Introducing the Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

BizTalk360 has the capability to trigger notifications to custom external notification channels. What this means for customers, is that if you are already using either of these channels in your organization, it becomes easier to receive alerts from BizTalk360 right into these channels. Triggering alerts to custom notification channels works exactly the same way as sending an email notification.

We have constantly been endeavoring to provide our customers with the latest notification channels. Microsoft introduced Teams, which is an entirely new experience that brings together people, conversations, and content—along with the tools that teams need—so they can easily collaborate to achieve more. In one of my previous blogs, I showed how you can integrate Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360. Now we have decided to bring Teams officially as a notification channel in BizTalk360.

Create the Channel in Microsoft Teams

First, we need to create the Team in the Microsoft Teams application by clicking the ‘Add Team’ at the bottom.

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Once the Team has been given a suitable name and was successfully created, we can create a new channel for that Team. (Click the … near the newly created Team and choose ‘Add channel’.

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

You need to select the Connectors, when you click on the Notification channel you just created, and then “Add” the Incoming WebHook connector.

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Copy and save the connector URL to configure it in the BizTalk360 notification Channel.

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Configuring the Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

You can find the Teams Notification Channel under Settings > Monitoring and Notification > Manage Notification Channels. Select B360.Notifier.Teams. Click “Configure” to open the configuration panel.

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Next, you need to provide the web hook connector URL from the Teams that we retrieved earlier and also provide any proxy details, if any at this point.

Now once you click Save, you have successfully configured the Teams Notification Channel.

You can overwrite the web hook connector URL for a specific alarm in the Manage Alarms screens, where you enable the Teams Notification channel.

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

This is a sample of how the Teams notification will look like.

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

So thus you can now send notifications to a new notification channel – Teams via BizTalk360.

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

Rochelle Saldanha is currently working in the Customer Support & Client Relationship Teams at BizTalk360. She loves travelling and watching movies.

Customer Feedback getting Answered: Custom Alarm Monitoring Widget in Operations Dashboard

Customer Feedback getting Answered: Custom Alarm Monitoring Widget in Operations Dashboard

We are planning a series of blogs, Customer feedback getting Answered, where we will be trying to address and answer some of the issues where a workaround is possible rather than awaiting a new feature release.

Many of our customers put a lot of effort in describing their problems in the feedback portal – (where we collect all requirements in single place and we pick the popular features to be implemented based on the voting done by various customers). We often go through the feature requests – updating the status of the issues and also discussing them with our technical development team of the feasibility of implementing them.

Behind the scenes, we go through a process for the popular requests and help to bring them to implementation in the upcoming releases.

In one of our previous blogs, I went through the FAQ’s a lot of our customers usually have. In this article, I take an issue from the feedback portal and show how it can be solved with the API we expose.

The Issue:

Monitoring Alarms information on the Operations Dashboard

The Operations Dashboard is widely used by a lot of companies to have a quick overview of the system. While we do have a lot of interesting widgets, we do not have anything which links the Alarm notification section to this area.

http://feedback.biztalk360.com/forums/331698-biztalk360-monitoring/suggestions/20369500-widget-with-errors

With API Documentation capability of BizTalk360, we have exposed over 350 REST services (APIs) that have the capability to retrieve the requested information from the BizTalk server environment. The APIs are defined as Swagger files which mean that you have the ability to execute them online to see if the result is what is intended. For example, you may want to display the list of BizTalk Applications or the performance of the BizTalk server (such as CPU, Memory, etc.) in a custom dashboard application within your organization. With BizTalk360 API Documentation, it is very easy for you to consume the API and retrieve the information from the BizTalk server environment. It not only ends with these. You can access pretty much any information like EDI, BAM, Artifact information, and so on from the BizTalk environment with the help of BizTalk360 APIs.

The Solution:

I have used for this example, a very simple API to retrieve the latest monitoring data for a specific alarm from the below API.
GET Services. REST/AlertService. svc/GetLatestMonitoringData
You can use the BizTalk360 API documentation to test your parameters and then view the output response.

In BizTalk360, navigate to Settings -> API documentation -> Select Alert services from the dropdown and then select GetLatestMonitoringData.

Customer Feedback getting Answered: Custom Alarm Monitoring Widget in Operations Dashboard

Current Alarm Monitoring Dashboard View

This is how my Alarms current state is in the Monitoring dashboard is currently.

Custom Alarm Monitoring Widget in Operations Dashboard

And now to view the same data in the Operations Dashboard, we need to create a custom widget which will use the API call as shown earlier. All you need to provide is the <Environment ID> & <Alarm Id> to pass as parameters which you can retrieve from the SQL tables. (Environment ID is provided at the top of the API Documentation page already)

Then you can use this code for the widget which I wrote to have a basic widget for a specific alarm to show on the Operations Dashboard.

Custom Alarm Monitoring Widget in Operations Dashboard

Thus, you can see for the Alarm – Demo Alarm, I have displayed all the artifacts and the state they are in.

This can be crucial for those who use their dashboards a lot. Rather than switch to the Monitoring dashboard, you can view the same data as a widget on the Operations Dashboard, along with other useful information.

Hopefully, this blog gave you some more ideas on how you can use the API & Custom widgets to customise the data displayed.

If you have any questions, contact us at support@biztalk360.com. Also, feel free to leave your feedback in our forum.

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

Rochelle Saldanha is currently working in the Customer Support & Client Relationship Teams at BizTalk360. She loves travelling and watching movies.

Have you Backed up your BizTalk360 Database?

Have you Backed up your BizTalk360 Database?

Think about all the information that is stored in your BizTalk360 database – Alarms, Knowledge Base, various Settings. This data is very important for many reasons. Now imagine if all of the information just disappeared.

Although it is a scary thought, it is highly unlikely that your company is not backing up your database. Let’s talk about how you can setup a Database Maintenance Plan.

Continuing with the Support Series to discuss common occurring issues with our customers and how others can benefit from the knowledge gained when we helped them resolve the same I will now focus on 1 key issue – Maintenance and Backup of your BizTalk360 database.

The Issue

Customer just found out that the SQL transaction logfile is taking enormous amount of space

Back up your BizTalk Database

If you check your SQL, the SQL transaction log file of our BizTalk360 database is very large (over 19GB).

Back up your BizTalk Database

The Solution

The quick Support reply in this scenario would be to refer to this article and resolve the issue by Releasing unused space and forcing a backup.

https://assist.biztalk360.com/support/solutions/articles/1000142821-huge-sql-log-file-size

Identifying the Issue

The transaction log grows to be inordinately large on a database that’s in FULL or BULK_LOGGED recovery mode. This happens after a database backup has been taken, which switches the log into a mode where it won’t truncate until it’s been backed up.

In these circumstances, if you don’t take a transaction log backup, the log will continue to grow.

Our purging policies in BizTalk360 are as follows (defaults):

backup biztalk database

BizTalk360 purging will not stop the transaction log files from growing. In order to maintain healthy BizTalk360 Database please ensure you have maintenance plans configured:

One to backup BizTalk360 Database and Log every week and a second one to delete backup files which are older than 2 weeks.

You may also face this problem when you configured quite a large number of alarms and these alarms are monitoring a large number of artifacts.

Setting up BizTalk360 Database Maintenance Plan – Backup

I am using the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.

  1. Select the Maintenance Plan Wizard.backup biztalk database
  2. Select Single Schedule and then Click the Change Button.

backup biztalk database

  1. You can select probably a backup of your BizTalk360 database every week – on a day when you are not expecting too many transactions.

backup biztalk database

  1. Select the Back-up Tasks Tick boxes.

backup biztalk database

  1. Select the BizTalk360 Database for each Screen (Full), (Transaction) backup.

backup biztalk database

Setting up the BizTalk360 Database Maintenance Plan – Clean-up Task

Now we need to do the setup for a Clean-up Task. We suggest that you can make this run every 2 weeks, and we need to select the Clean-up Task instead of Backup in the Maintenance Wizard.

backup biztalk database

Lastly just provide the details for deleting the files (File Age) as shown below.

backup biztalk database

NOTE: Make sure your SQL Server Agent is running on the server.

You can adjust the schedule depending on a load of your environment.

So I hope this Blog has given you some helpful information to ensure that your Transaction Log size doesn’t increase when the backups and clean-up Tasks are managed and run properly with BizTalk360.

If you have any questions, contact us at support@biztalk360.com. Also, feel free to leave your feedback in our forum.

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

Rochelle Saldanha is currently working in the Customer Support & Client Relationship Teams at BizTalk360. She loves travelling and watching movies.

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

Imagine having just purchased BizTalk Server, and you need to get it up and running with all the monitoring setup for the various artifacts, etc. You are just finding your legs and can find it difficult to understand all the various aspects of the product.

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

When our new customers on board with us they often want to get started with the product immediately and see it in action. They want the alarms setup and see how the monitoring features works.

Being a part of the Support & Client Relationship team, often when introducing new customers to our product BizTalk360 we have encountered this question –

Do you have a quick Alarm setup that will setup some alarms for us, for each of the applications?

So, it has been in our pipeline for some time now to bring something useful in Alarm creation to help our customers.

One of our technical Leads – Lex Hegt had already written an article sometime back to achieve the same. I thought a fresh blog on it might help those who have not come across it.

Kovai.BizTalk360.CreateAlarms.exe is a windows application which uses some Nuget-packages.

All you need to have to run this application is

  • URL of BizTalk360
  • A BizTalk360 authorized Windows Account

Typically, in your BizTalk environment, you will manually create your BizTalk360 Alerts after the BizTalk application has been deployed. Most of our customers use BizTalk360 Alerts to monitor the state of the different artifacts.

To minimize the amount of effort required, or if you are new to the product …  there is a way to automate the alarm creation which will save some of your productive time.

This application has been specifically designed with that goal in mind. It will go through your applications and create Alarms with all the Send Ports, Receive Locations & Orchestrations mapped for monitoring.

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

Setup Steps

  1. You can specify the state you are interested in monitoring in the ‘Create Alarm’ setup page when you start the Application.
  2. You can also ensure that the alarms are Disabled so you can go through them to check if they are as per your expectations before you enable them for use.

NOTE

Any existing alarms created with the Application Name only will be deleted, as this is the alarm that the application generates (It creates Alarms based on the Application name).

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

  1. You can also setup certain parameters that you generally setup in the Alarm creation page – E.g. Violation persists (minutes) & ‘limit the no of Alerts’ & ‘Notify on success’.

The alarms created will be Threshold Monitoring Alarms.

With this kind of monitoring, you get notified in case a threshold occurs. For example, that can be a Receive Location which was Disabled, while it should be Enabled or any other artefact which is mapped in the alarm and is in an unexpected state.

While the original application along with its code is still available, we have provided this downloadable exe with a few changes, as the API’s for BizTalk360 have changed since then.

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

So, I hope this executable helps those who are looking for a quick Alarm setup for all the basic artifact monitoring. Of course, once these alarms are created per application, you can edit them and then add more artifacts as required so you have a fully monitored BizTalk server environment.

You can write to us at support@biztalk360.com. Have a try at our latest version by downloading a 14-day free trial of BizTalk360.