Microsoft BizTalk 2010: Line of business Systems Integration, a review

Microsoft BizTalk 2010: Line of business Systems Integration, a review

Firstly I would like to get the score thing out of the way and in true consulting fashion I’ll say: It depends. I give it two or four stars depending on your needs as a developer/architect. Let me explain:

What do you want to do?

The whole basis for the book is not to be a comprehensive guide of every system you will ever integrate with, but rather the more common ones. Systems like SAP, Dynamics AX or SharePoint. Neither is it a documentation update on the BizTalk adapters or even about more general features of BizTalk. Before spending some money on this book you should ask yourself; what do I want to do?

Are you a senior BizTalk developer or perhaps an integration architect and need to integrate with one of the systems covered in the book, then you should not only buy the book and read it, but rather you have to (4 stars). On the other hand, if not, then you can leave it on the shelf, or what the equivalent version in the online book store is; this is the 2 stars.

Systems covered by the book

  • SQL Server
  • Dynamics CRM
  • SAP
  • Azure AppFabric
  • SharePoint 2010
  • Dynamics AX

Do you need to integrate with any of these? Great! Good luck! This book is a very good place to start.

Some key takeaways

The chapters on SAP (which I guess are written by Kent Weare) are some of the best technical writing I’ve ever come across, but then again I might be biased. I was once in the situation described in the chapter and I like how the writer must have overcome a lot of boundaries (both mental and structural) to be able to write about it in the way he does. The way he focuses on “how to integrate with SAP-people” so to speak, and what terms to use to better make yourself understood is very useful and something I would have loved to have about three years ago.

A book that refers to blog posts is new to me and not something I dislike. However, in some cases, the use of those links seemed more like a fast and easy way to get the chapter done, rather than trying to incorporate the information from the blog post in the text.

Some chapters (particularly the one on Windows Azure) might have benefited from more information about some key aspects of the integration. The section about ACS comes to mind.

There are a lot of how-tos and walkthroughs showing you exactly how to configure adapters, complete with many illustrative screen dumps. You should have absolutely no problem building your first integration for Dynamics CRM. Then again I think that in some cases I would have benefitted more from just information about the adapter and the integrating system.

Related info

  • The book can be found here.
  • My previous post about an event where some of the authors presented concepts from the book can be found here.
  • Kent Weare's blog
  • Richard Seroter's blog
  • Info on Sergei Moukhnitski
  • Thiago Almeida's blog
  • Info on Carl Darski

Blog Post by: Mikael Sand

Free Book with BizTalk ESB Training!

QuickLearn is offering a copy of Thomas Erl’s SOA Design Patterns for any one who registers for the BizTalk Expert Series: ESB 2.1training course on November 7th.

In this 3-day class you will learn to install and use the BizTalk ESB Toolkit 2.1 to create a flexible, secure, and reusable infrastructure for services, and to build composite applications, using existing services, to create new end-to-end business processes. Register Online.

If you have any questions, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you in class!

BizTalk 360 Success Story

We are currently evaluating BizTalk 360 at one of my clients at the moment and I plan to write a more detailed post in the future about our experiences but in the meantime I wanted to make a comment about something this week which was particularly useful.

We have a very large project with many teams and vendors and in our first integration test environment all of the delivery teams do daily deployments to this test environment. From here a successfully tested release could be promoted to other environments as required.

Its quite painful at times due to the pace of change in this first test environment and im sure most readers would be familiar with the typical challenges around integration and biztalk being the bit that identifies the problems and often not be the cause of the problem. Yes you know what I am talking about. A significant amount of my teams time is taken up with troubleshooting issues and working out retrospectively where a problem came from.

In our evaluations of BizTalk 360 one of the things I have done is to setup the BizTalk 360 health check emails to be published 4 times per day. This week we had a situation where the test teams had signed off a release but had not realised for some reason there was an issue where some messages were unable to be loaded into an application. This whole release had been signed off to go into the UAT environment and then an hour later the BizTalk 360 email came out and we could see these suspended messages. We were able to identify and rectify this issue in the application which was not accepting messages and plug the gap in the test scripts before the release went to UAT.

Finding this issue in the system test environment and resolving it would have saved a significant impact with the problems this issue could have caused in the UAT environment in terms of lost test time etc etc. In my opinion this one situation probably paid for the cost of the BizTalk 360 license on its own for our large scale project so hopefully our evaluation will be finished soon and we will be able to roll this out across other environments.

Thanks Saravana keep up the good work

Integrate or Schedule MBV reports

Integrate or Schedule MBV reports

Hello BizTalk users !


long time I did not write a post on my MBV blog ! 😉

Indeed, as mentioned in my previous blog I moved one year ago to SharePoint development business assisting my customers in their development around SharePoint, and also debugging and interacting with our SharePoint Product group to push for some hotfixes when needed, and I was very busy with that new job . Another wide product so for me to learn but the same type of challenges than for BizTalk ! 😉

Coming back to MBV blog and this post, I thought it was needed to update more frequently my blog and talk for example today about the way to automate or schedule MBV reports, and also discuss about its possible integration with other products.

Schedule MBV reports

Maybe you don’t know but MBV is provided in two modes : a GUI mode and a console one.

The filename for the GUI application is MsgBoxViewer.exe, just like the name of my tool, and the filename for the Console application is MBVConsole.exe and, as the name implies, represents the console version of MBV tool.

Knowing that the console version starts immediatelty by executing its queries and rules (without so pressing any button or validation process), you can realize that it is easy to spawn or trigger MBV from another tool, or even to schedule MBV to start it periodically using for example the Windows Scheduler or any other scheduler tool.

MBVConsole.exed provides some optional parameters to specify for example the output directory, or if you want also generate .XML file,etc…
Just type “MBVConsole /?” to display the list of possible options.

Let me clarify now the way MBV manages its settings :

MBV is keeping all its settings (global options) and also the list of selected queries and rules in a file named MBVSettings.xml.
Both Console and GUI applications will generate this file on their exit but only the GUI MBV application allows in its UI interface to modify MBV options (listed in the tab “global properties”) and allows to choose the query and rules to execute.
Open that file to give you an idea of the type of properties MBV is keeping there.

Because both the Console version and the GUI one load the same settings file when found in the MBV folder, you can use so GUI application to configure the options and select the queries you want and updating the MBVSettings.xl file, and then MBVConsole can reuse it to run only the queries you selected 😉 just be sure howeever that the MBVSettings.xml file is present in the same folder than MBVConsole.exe so it can find and load it.

As I said above, you can so now start MBV from a parent tool or include MBV execution in some batch file, or even schedule it.

Read for example the interesting blog of Richard Hallgren to receive scheduled MBV reports via e-mail. 
At the time Richard wrote his post, MBV console filename was btsdbcollect.exe so you will have to replace it with its new name MBVConsole.exe


Integrate MBV reports

I notice that there is some more and more demand to integrate MBV output (the Warning sections of its html report for example) in other tools.

– If you don’t use already that option, I would like to let you know that MBV offers you the posibility to generate all its warnings in the Application Event log of the server executing MBV, just read one of my previous posts detailing that option :

HOW TO use MBV as a periodic Monitoring tool alerting user of warnings

– Using the “Generate XML” global option of MBV, you can ask MBV (in both the GUI and Console Applications) to generate also its reports in .XML format using a specific schema, and you can then develop any parsing tools you want to parse the .XML and produce the output you want in your own tool.
If you want to see now a great example of a such nice integration of MBV reports in another tool, I would personnally recommend to have a look on BizTalk360 product :  and read specially this article from Saravana :

Message Box Viewer – BizTalk360 Integration


Well, I finished that post and I hope that it can help you or give you some idea in some possible MBV integration or MBV automation.

I admit that I did not touch my blog for a while but keep an eye on it as I will inform you there of an upcoming next build of MBV with some additional rules

Thanks !


Blog Post by: JPAuc

BizTalk360 – Trial License

We released BizTalk360 v2.5 about 10 days ago. One thing you may/may not have noticed, we didn’t release the free developer version on the download page. The main reason for that is developer edition requires bit more testing and we couldn’t complete it on time (We are working on it and soon it will be up on the site.).  So, we just released the fully functional enterprise edition, people can download and try.

But we made a mistake, we didn’t give the trial key for users to test, so our support email was bombarded with either request for trial key or people re-registering themselves to get a new key.

Here is the solution

1. If you have downloaded BizTalk360 recently and you still got time left in your license, you can continue to use the same license.

2. If you don’t have a valid license, please use this one which will expiry in 30 days.


It’s running wide on the screen, but just do a triple click on the text to get the key selected and make sure you copied the full text.

Here is the instruction to update the license


Saravana Kumar |
@biztalk360 |  |

Azure: How the “Cloud" can help you integrate-we’re doing another session-come along.

How the “Cloud” can help you integrate-we’re doing another session-come along.


the “Cloud” can help you Integrate


Australia & Breeze

pleased to invite you to a breakfast Seminar

Cloud Integration


– November 16, 2011  8:30 – 11:00am

Breeze Office, 5a/2 New McLean Street, Edgecliff, NSW 2027

to Edgecliff Station)


the excitement of technology moving towards “the Cloud” come and learn exactly what
this means to your business and how your development projects can leverage the Windows
Azure Platform without re-architecting your environment. Should you invest in private
cloud, move your application to the public cloud, choose a hybrid approach or keep
the application on-premise?

from Microsoft about their cloud strategy and computing platform ’Azure’ and what
this provides
scalable computing power and storage, as well as a number of other online services
hosted on Microsoft datacentres.

from Breeze how to make this happen in the real world with measurable results. Breeze
Integration Specialists will share with you some of their experiences in the field
with helping customers maximise their existing investments as well as future scalability
by utilizing the Azure platform with their integration development projects to date.


seminar is an opportunity to gain insight with the Windows Azure Platform including
Windows Azure AppFabric, SQL Azure, Windows Server AppFabric and BizTalk AppFabric
Connect as well as meet the industry experts


seminar is for all Integration enthusiasts from IT Professionals, Developers to Business
Decision Makers. Bring along your questions!


are limited. Register NOW !!!!


more information and to register contact

Blog Post by: Mick Badran

BtsWcfServicePublishing and support for .net Framework 4

I guess you, like me, use the BtsWcfServicePublishing.exe to automate the deployment process for your wcf-hosting needs in BizTalk. If you don’t I think you should, as it saves you a lot of time. For one you don’t have to regenerate your endpoint information using the BtsWcfServicePublishingWizard (note: not the same program as the BtsWcfServicePublishing) and all it’s tedious steps every single time you update a service.

The thing is that when you use the BtsWcfServicePublishing.exe on a BizTalk-assembly built using BizTalk 2010 you get an error like this:

Error publishing WCF service.
Could not load file or assembly 'file:///C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\assembly\GAC_MSIL\' or one of its dependencies. This assembly is built by a runtime newer than the currently loaded runtime and cannot be loaded.

This is due to the fact that the BtsWcfServicePublishing tries to use version 2.0 of the .net framework. To make it work on BizTalk 2010 assemblies add the following info in the configuration file (just under the configuration-tag.

   <supportedRuntime version="v4.0" />

Just run it again and you’ll be happy as Larry.

Blog Post by: Mikael Sand

BizTalk360 – Next stop Stockholm, Sweden 19th October 2011

We are continuing our world tour following our recent visit to Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark and back to Sweden again.

The details and registration can be found here

The agenda for the event is

18:00 A Lap Around BizTalk Adapter Pack, Steef-Jan Wiggers
19:00 Mat, dryck, mingel (I’m guessing it’s break )
19:30 A Lap Around BizTalk 360, Saravana Kumar

Swedish BizTalk user group is one of the successfully operated BizTalk user group in the world.  In the past they have had some of the great speaker and well known figures in the BizTalk community like Richard Seroter, Kent Weare, Charles Young, Darren Jefford, Jon Flanders, Brian Loesgen, Paolo Salvatori, Michael Stephenson and of course the people behind the scene Johan Hedberg and Mikael H?kansson

I’m extremely delighted to have this opportunity to present BizTalk360 in-front of the Swedish audience.

Last but not the least, my close friend Steef-Jan Wiggers, will be presenting a topic on BizTalk Adapter pack. He hinted on his email, he got some really cool scenarios to show the audience.  He is a well known figure in the community for his incredible effort on the BizTalk forums, I believe he is holding his record first position for nearly 2 years now recently crossing 20k forum credits.

See you all in Stockholm. Still there are some tickets left (7 when I last checked), so hurry before it’s gone.


Saravana Kumar