BizTalk team want your feedback

So as the blog has died a little off (I am sorry for that) I still want to share more with you as we go forward, I’ve moved from consultancy, to MVP for Integration, to Microsoft as Technical sales and I’m currently working as a Program Manager for BizTalk in Microsoft Corp, my passion for BizTalk is still there but I feel the purpose of this blog is to help you as a BizTalk operator to make it easier.

As BizTalk is moving forward and the commitment for vNext have been given by us in the product group we continue our investment and want more feedback from our customers.

Please go to https://aka.ms/BTsUserVoice to cast your vote or add new suggestions so that we can make BizTalk better for you as an operator, customer, developer, or passionate integration expert.

BizTalk Server 2016 CTP is here!

The release we have been waiting for is finnaly starting to turn into a full product. Although a lot of the features we’re waiting for as of know the new release brings out a full set of new features. Just the fact that you know can export multiple messages in one bunch, and import bindings without tracking turned on (global setting).

If you want to learn more of BizTalk 2016 and it’s new features take a look at the following two links:

BizTalk Server 2016 – What’s new: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt670742

Host Integration Server 2016 – What’s new: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt670807

Some key takeaways:

  • Full platform alignment (SQL 2016, Office 2016, Server 2016, Visual Studio 2015)
  • SQL Server Always On support both on-prem and as IaaS in Azure
  • Ordered delivery on dynamic send ports (simple flip switch in the admin console)
  • SHA 2 support
  • SAP Adapter enhancements
  • ServiceBus adapter enhancements
  • MLLP adapter enhancements
  • Import / Export independent from Applications (like parties etc)
  • Configure multiple hosts simultaneously
  • Filter and search for artifacts
  • Save multiple messages at the same time
  • Importing new bindings you are given an option to import the tracking settings

Downloads should be available to the public soon, only invited people have access as of now.

BizTalk and beyond

We all know that the focus at Microsoft is Mobility first and cloud first at the moment. AS some of you have found out I’m no longer in the MVP program since I joined Microsoft January 1st.

Microsoft still focus on BizTalk Server and BizTalk in the cloud, however as time flies and costumer explains there needs and current struggles Microsoft listens. MABS as we know if just spun off a child. This child is now a Microservice (to be specific many micro services). This solution will work both in the cloud and on premise. The biggest win is that this will be available as GA sometime around June, and is currently in preview.

The big different between MABS and Micros services is the way it works, Micro services is a part of IIS and can run both on site and in the cloud. Micro services will also be shipped as a part of BizTalk that’s expected to be released 6 months after the next windows server version.

Many people have asked me why Microsoft states that there will be a CU for BizTalk ever three months but that this is not happening, the reason for this is because the lack of bugs (yeah, there are to few hotfixes to cumulative them into a CU). a couple of days ago CU 7 for BizTalk Server 2010 was released 5 months overdue all because of the lack of fixes, Microsoft says that as long as there is less then 15 fixes Microsoft don’t create a CU (don’t worry though, if you have one of the bugs Microsoft will supply you with a private build that is fully supported).

Some people might be afraid that I’m moving away from the BizTalk space now that I joined Microsoft (worry not) my key focus as a Technology Solution Professional (TSP) is the data platform stack which includes BizTalk, BI, SQL and Azure. and I am lucky to still do a lot of BizTalk.

BizTalk Innovation Day, Oslo Norway september 25th

We’re doing it again, and we are inviting you to join our BizTalk Innovation Day in Oslo.

Sign up here: BizTalk Innovation Day Sign up

For the third time the BizTalk Crew (Steef-Jan Wiggers, Sandro Pereira, Nino Crudele, Saravana Kumar and me) are hosting the BizTalk Innovation Day, one whole day with hardcore BizTalk!

We have decided to invite Cloud specialist Richard Sertoer from USA to tell us more about the future of integration both on-prem and in the cloud.

“The next decade looks to be one of the most disruptive in the short history of IT. New computing and architecture paradigms, an exploding number of connected devices, and new organization models have all directly impacted what systems integration will look like in the years ahead. What challenges has the cloud introduced? How does a DevOps commitment impact my integration approach? What role does integration play in the “internet of things”? In this session, we’ll talk about some of the mega-trends in the industry and how that may impact your approach to integration today and tomorrow.”

Steef-Jan Wiggers will give us more information around Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services (MABS)

“Microsoft Azure BizTalk Service (MABS) is almost available to us for year. It is a newcomer in the world of integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) and promising contender for the sweet spot in the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. This service in Azure has a lot offer and can provide different means of integration in the changing IT world of on premise ERP systems, services, cloud and devices. In this session the audience will learn where the Microsoft Azure BizTalk Service stands in middle of the iPaaS world, what it has to offer today and what the road map will look like in the future. During the session, the audience will also see demo is showcasing the various service features from a development, deployment and operations perspective.”

Sandro Pereira will announce a new whitepaper and give us a detailed overview of the new “Transform Designer” in MABS “.

“Migrating current BizTalk Server projects to BizTalk Services or starting new BizTalk Services projects can provide some challenges because although the developing experience is very similar, we are still talking about a new integration platform on Azure, and one of the main differences is the way we apply messages transformation with the new Transform Designer.

In this session, we will see the main differences between BizTalk Mapper Design (BizTalk Server) and the Transform Designer (BizTalk Services).”

Nino Crudele will talk more about how to “Develop as an Integration person”.

“After the London session, thinking like an integration person, Nino Crudele will speak about the real approach in a real development environment. There exists a lot of strategies, theories and philosophies about what the best strategies to use during development, some of them are very useful, other expensive, other very wrong.

In this session, Nino will present his personal approach and mining about development in real, considering all important topics for a good BizTalk developer.”

Saravana Kumar is repeating his known announcements at the BizTalk Innovation Day in Norway by releasing some brand new awesome feature in BizTalk360:

“BID Norway kind of became our inaugural place for introducing major versions. Last year we showcased version 7.0 to the public at BID, Norway. Since then we were constantly adding new features to the product and accelerated our development process. We worked on some exciting features like Graphical Message Flow, Throttling Analyzer, Business Rules Visualizer, Managed Services etc. Lot of these new features are designed in helping BizTalk customers to improve their support/operations/monitoring efficiency. In this presentation, Saravana Kumar will showcase the top 10 features we added since our last BID visit. We may be in a position to showcase some of the bits that’s going to come in 8.0 planned for end of this year.”

Myself (Tord Glad Nordahl) will be talking more about how developers and admins can co-exist together in harmony.

“The fight is on, and I am ready to provide you with the best ways and ideas on how to effectively work better together as a team, who messes up what, and how can we collaborate better. And I’ll share some of the secrets from both world, follow the rules and see how much more effective your team can become.”

Early bird is available till September 7th, so hurry up. We have a maximum cap, and the tickets are running out fast!!

Sign up here: BizTalk Innovation Day Sign up

Debatch XML using envelope

Debatch XML using envelope

We all know that debatching should be done in the receive pipeline, I’ve yet to see any really good scenarios where you shouldn’t, but I know there is some (debatching in the orchestration can give you a huge performance loss in BizTalk).

So, I am the admin, and I rarely do development (after all, drag and drop development isn’t challenging enough for me).

I sometimes use BizTalk to help me do some jobs I’d rather not do manually. Like inserting something in a database if I have a million rows in an XML message, or if just want to play drag and drop with my kids. And I came into a case where debatching an XML file was essential for me and my kids in order to have some fun (the oldest 2 and 4 years, they need a little challenge). I looked at a few articles on the internet and none of them were really “easy to understand”. So I decided to make one on my own. Let’s just put this post in the “DevOps” category. In this example I’m using VS 2013 and BizTalk 2013 R2.

  1. Create a new BizTalk Project (I called mine “SimpleDebatching“) but you can name it anything you want, it won’t impact any other code in this tutorial
  2. Right click your project in the “Solution Explorer” and choose “Add” and “New item…
  3. Click once on “Schema” and add a friendly name to it. I called mine “Orders
  4. Rename the “Root” name into “Order“.
  5. Right click the root name “Order” and choose “Insert Schema Node” and “Child Field Element
  6. Do step 5 a total of four times with the following names “orderId“, “orderDate“, “orderPrice” and “orderStatus
  7. If you now open the schema we named “Orders” and expand all the elements it will look like this
    Schema image
  8. And now a pet on your back, you’re doing great
  9. Now that we’ve come so far we need to understand the meanings of an envelope, people will trick you and tell you some technical ways of it.. Don’t mind them. its like any envelope, it has something in it, one or multiple papers/records.
  10. In the “Solution Explorer” right click the project and choose “Add” and “New Item…
  11. Again, click once on “Schema” and give it a friendly name. In this case I called it “OrdersEnvelope
  12. The “Schema Editor” pops up and we can see the root name is… “root“.
  13. Rename the root name into “OrderEnvelope
  14. Right click “OrderEnvelope” and choose “Insert Schema Node“, and choose “Child Record”
  15. Name this child record “Orders
  16. Get a cup of Coffee…
  17. Right Click the node “Orders” and choose “Insert Schema Node“, and choose “Any Element
  18. Now click once on the “<Schema>” and take a look at the “Properties” window
  19. Locate the option “Envelope” change this from “(Default)” to “Yes” (do this for the “OrdersEnvelope” schema)
  20. Now go to the root node (OrderEnvelope) in the “OrdersEnvelope” schema and look at the “Properties” window again, find the “Body XPath
  21. click the “magic/ellipse” button and drill till you see “Orders
    no need to write code
  22. Choose “Orders” and click “OK“.
  23. Pooof, and your schema “OrderEnvelope” is updated with the correct XPath
  24. Look at your self, and understand we still haven’t written one sentence of code..
  25. Go back to the “Solution Explorer” and right click the solution “SimpleDebatching“, choose “Add” and “New Item” and pick the “Receive Pipeline” name this “ReceiveAndDebatch
  26. The Pipeline Component “drag and drop windows” appears.
  27. Expand the “Toolbox” windows and drag the “XML Disassembler” and drop it on the “Disassembler in the main window
  28. Click the newly added XML Disassembler and look at the properties window and find “Document Schema” click the ellipse button and locate your document schema “Orders”
  29. When you find this, click on it and hit the “Add” button, you will see the schema moving from the left window to the right
  30. Click “OK
  31. Do the same with “Envelope Schema” but locate the “OrdersEnvelope” schema instaed
  32. Click “Add” and “OK
  33. Now in order for us to deploy this code to BizTalk we need to do a few things
  34. Look at the “Solution Explorer” and right click the “Solution” Choose “Properties
  35. In the “Properties window” that appear click “Deployment
  36. Update the “Application Name” to “SimpleDebatching
  37. Now we need to sign our assembly, so click the “Signing” and tick the box that says “Sign the assembly
  38. From the drop down choose “<new…>” and create a new key
  39. Hit “CTRL+S” to save it
  40. Now back in the “Solution Explorer” right click it and choose “Deploy
  41. Your code will now be deployed to your environment
  42. Open “BizTalk Administration Console” and locate your application “SimpleDebatching
  43. Create a new Receive Port and name it “ReceiveDebatchPort
  44. Create a receive location for this Receive Port and anme it “ReceiveDebatchLocation
  45. Update the receive pipeline to your newly created recive pipeline “ReceiveAndDebatch
  46. Create a new send port and name it “SendDebatch
  47. Update the send pipeline to “XMLTransmit
  48. Add a filter to your Receive Port by chooseing “BTS.ReceivePortName” and the value “ReceiveDebatchPort
  49. Now restart your host instance and start the application.
  50. You can create a test message by generating an instance from the schema “OrdersEnvelope
  51. Replace the “<any>” tag with a generated instance from the “Orders” schema (the more you add, the more records)
  52. Put the file in the in folder and see what happens.

So, you’ve done it, made a cool application, with drag and drop.. no coding.

Thanks for The help Erik Thue. 🙂 the best BT Dev in Bouvet

BizTalk Server 2013 R2 Now available to be downloaded

BizTalk Server 2013 R2 Now available to be downloaded

BizTalk 2013 R2 is finally here and can be downloaded from MSDN Subscription.

blog

What’s new in BizTalk Server 2013 R2:

  •  Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1.
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2013 or 2010.
  • .NET Framework 4.5 and .NET Framework 4.5.1
  • Visual Studio 2013
  • SQL Server 2014 or SQL Server 2012 SP1
  • SharePoint 2013 SP1
  • WCF-WebHttp adapter now supports sending and receiving JSON messages.
  • SFTP adapter now supports two-factor authentication
  • HL7 Accelerator now supports the following:
    • Provides capability to include free-text data as part of the message that can be processed by the HL7 pipelines.
    • 64-bit support for hosting Hl7 adapter.

Good luck, and play around with it.. Again, you can download it through MSDN Subscription here

Benchmarking in BizTalk

Benchmarking in BizTalk

So I guess most of you are aware that benchmarking of the environment and your applications are critical for your environment, when it comes to tuning and to see how well your applications are performing, we often end up with requirements like “We need to transfer 100 messages a minute” we all go “okay” but how good is it in the end, and where is the biggest bottleneck?

I spent hours using performance counters and parsing them through PAL to get the information I needed to estimate the throughput we were giving and where the bottleneck was located. After doing this for too long I decided to create a simple WPF application to give me some of the data I needed, although there still is some elements missing I get some of the important data in one view.

Analyzer8

Based on the duration of the test the results is gathered and you get both live and somewhat historical data when the test is done.

Analyzer9

The program mainly use the performance counters, but some SQL queries to get environmental information and some simple C# commands to restart hsots. The tools is still in beta and is under “development” which means I still release extra stuff to it when I need something I don’t have there, if you have any questions please let me know.

you can download the tool (BizTalk Benchmark Analyzer) here: http://bba.codeplex.com/

Feel free to come with updates and improvements, the source code is out there.

Benchmark Analysis

Benchmark Analysis

So, how often do you benchmark. We got the BizTalk Benchmark Wizard to indicate how your environment is doing. So I decided to go above and beyond and make something for you guys. But I want your input. What is the biggest struggles you have when it comes to benchmarking, and maybe I’ll implement them into the tool.

It’s currently based in Windows Form (oh how I hate windows form and C# at the moment.

I’m adding features as they come along and I hope to be able to give you a great tool soon!

Here is a little sneak peak

Analyzer

Let me know what you are struggling with and maybe it will be a feature. And of course the program itself will be free for all! (btw. it works with all versions of BizTalk from 2006 – 2013 (even 2013 R2))

Firewall and MSDTC

Firewall and MSDTC

So we all know that DTC often provides problems, and it can be a hassle. I’ve spent so much time waiting for everything to get up, and I often find myself spending most of my time With the actual configuration of BizTalk.

It is important to maintain a high level of security, one of the ways to do this is to use a firewall between the servers, what type of communication is allowed between the machines and over what ports, TCP, UDP, ports or port ranges.

So I’m willing to share one of the elements that most often are the actual problem.

The MSDTC will by default use port 135, however, it will also use a wide range of ports to send and receive data. It is important that you configure both the BizTalk and SQL Server machines to allow these ports to be used and set up a port range.

When it comes to the ports I usually set up a port range of 100 ports, between 5000 to 5100. There are a few more changes you need to do, here is the walk-through (there is a link at the bottom where you can download the registry string).

  1. Open the 32bit registry by hitting start -> run and type “regedt32” (it is very important you store this in the 32bit registry and NOT in the regular “regedit
  2. Navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Rpc
  3. Create a new Key (folder) and name it “Internet
  4. In this Key / folder, create the following:
  5. Create a new “REG_SZ” and name it “PortsInternetAvailable” and add a value equal to “Y
  6. Create a new “REG_SZ” and name it “UseInternetPorts” and add a value equal to “Y
  7. Create a new  “REG_MULTI_SZ” and name it “Ports” here, add the Port range you want, eq. 5000-5100.

When this is done, your registry looks like this:

portsFirewallDTC

All the ports you need to open for now is port 135 and port range 5000-5100 (TCP) between the servers.

If you don’t want to type all this you can download the registry file, remember you still have to open regedt32 and choose “Import” from the file menu.

Download the registry file here