Webinar Spoiler: BizTalk Server 2020 Unwrapped!

Webinar Spoiler: BizTalk Server 2020 Unwrapped!

The COVID-19 pandemic has enforced many of us to work from home. For almost all of us, this is the first time we are experiencing working from home culture, since this is a new circumstance and being productive and just staying quiet in these situations, is not always easy. Let’s hope everything comes under control soon and we will be back to our normal life.

Back in January, Microsoft announced the general public availability of BizTalk Server 2020, a new and most expected version by the BizTalk community. In this version, Microsoft offers many features and enhancements that are beneficial for BizTalk developers, business users and support engineers to carry out a smooth transaction of their business. So, we have decided to organize a webinar to showcase the most appealing new features and enhancements.

Why Attend this Webinar?

The webinar will be hosted by two of our senior Product Consultants, who have years of experience in the area of BizTalk Server and BizTalk360. We have designed the webinar to help you understand the new concepts, how to work on with thorough demos, and to provide you with much-needed answers and assistance. In fact, this webinar should leave you feeling excited, connected and knowing all the new concepts in BizTalk Server 2020.

Date: Thursday, 23rd of April

Time: 10 AM – 11 AM BST

This time we are thrilled to interview Microsoft Senior Premier Field Engineer – Samuel Kastberg, to share his insights about BizTalk Server 2020 in the webinar.

Join us and discover:

  1. What are the newly supported platforms by BizTalk Server 2020?
  2. Which are the new features and enhancements and how are they beneficial for different business users?
  3. Availability of new hybrid adapters
  4. What is there in Security and auditing perspective?
  5. BizTalk360 support for BizTalk Server 2020

Save your Slot

Do you want to join us at the webinar on April 23rd? It is easiest to just add the webinar to your calendar. Just click here to register and leave your details. Shortly we will send you the confirmation mail.

Also, if you think you cannot attend the webinar at the specified time, no worries! Go ahead and register, our team will make sure to send you the webinar recording.

We are super excited about this webinar and eagerly looking forward to your presence and make sure to spread the word!

Here is a short clip highlighting the spoilers for this webinar.

The post Webinar Spoiler: BizTalk Server 2020 Unwrapped! appeared first on BizTalk360.

BizTalk360 Compatibility with BizTalk Server 2020

BizTalk360 Compatibility with BizTalk Server 2020

Already there is a lot of buzz happening around the new release of the BizTalk Server 2020 version. It is the most expected version by the integration of community members. This new version consists of many exciting new features and enhancements to ease the life of different business users.

We continue our efforts to deliver uninterrupted services to all our customers across the globe, even during this pandemic crisis. That’s why BizTalk360 is pleased to announce the compatibility of its latest version with BizTalk Server 2020.

As a practice, we aim to bring you long-term focused features which add significant value to our existing and new customers by identifying all sort of obstacles they are facing while supporting/operating their BizTalk environment.

I wanted this blog to cover all the new bringings in the product related to BizTalk Server 2020. Alright then! Here, we will have a look at all the features you will get with the new BizTalk360 version, aligned with BizTalk Server 2020:

  1. Installer Support
  2. New BizTalk Group properties
    1. Receive Location (Fault Tolerance)
    2. Audit Log Operation
    3. Analytics
  3. Receive Location Advanced scheduling operation

Installer Support

We started the implementation from the installer and wanted to eliminate the restriction of this new BizTalk Server version in the installer. The first thing you will want to do is download the latest version of the BizTalk360 MSI. You can get it from the BizTalk360 Free trial page or in the application itself – either is fine, but from the application is easier, as it shows the New version availability notification in the top right bar.

BizTalk360-Installer-Support

Once you have got the MSI, the installation is a very simple process as BizTalk360 offers ready-to-go installation. As the instructions are very clear and precisely shown in the installer, wizards make your life easier to progress the installation without referring to any other articles. Perhaps, if you are running into any error, you can always refer to the installation documentation. Refer to the below screenshot where we have included the check for new BizTalk Server versions.

The customers who are using older versions, on the other hand, need not worry at all. All the older versions are still compatible with the BizTalk360 even after the latest update.

BizTalk360-Prerequisite-Check

New BizTalk Group Properties

In the new BizTalk Server 2020 version, a few properties have been implemented in the BizTalk group level. These are:

  1. Receive Locations
    1. Enable fault tolerance
    2. Retry Interval
  2. Tracking and Reporting
    1. Audit Management operations
    2. Maximum number of audit entries

Receive Location Fault Tolerance

Until previous versions, if any error occurs (be it transient) the receive locations will be disabled and effect further message transactions.

This new configuration prevents the receive location from getting disabled on errors.

BizTalk attempts to recover the receive location in an interval you set. The receive location continues running in the other host instances.

Audit Log

Every business transparency is important at a certain level. Perhaps, someone who does anything wrong will lead to a huge impact on business. To bring transparency in BizTalk Server, they have introduced Auditing capabilities. The new properties enable the admins to track all the activities performed by different users and the maximum number of audit entries the user wants to capture. Once the configurations are in place, BizTalk will start to poll the audit data into the audit table in the BizTalk Management database.

To know more about BizTalk Server 2020 auditing capability, refer to this article.

For easy reference, all above mentioned new properties have been added in BizTalk360 in the Group Properties screen as shown below.

BizTalk-Group-Properties

Advanced Scheduling Options for the Receive Locations

Now with BizTalk Server 2020, the new advanced scheduling comprises all the options which administrators wanted for scheduling. Based on the configuration, the recurrence option will be displayed in the receive location property screen as shown in the screenshot.

New Options

  1. The preferred time zone can be set based on the business scenario
  2. Automatically adjustment for Daylight Saving Time
  3. Recurrence options like daily, weekly, and monthly

Receive-Location-Properties

Conclusion

In a nutshell, BizTalk360 is compatible with the new version of BizTalk Server. Our next v9.1 will be released within this week with interesting new features. Why not give BizTalk360 a try! It takes only 10 minutes to install on your BizTalk environments and you can witness and check the security and productivity of your own BizTalk Environments. 

The post BizTalk360 Compatibility with BizTalk Server 2020 appeared first on BizTalk360.

BizTalk Server 2020 – Operations and Administration Capability

BizTalk Server 2020 – Operations and Administration Capability

Introduction

During our last premier event, INTEGRATE 2019, the Microsoft product group announced the new version release of BizTalk Server 2020. This version has been released in mid-January 2020. A most awaited moment comes into real; BizTalk 2020 is public now! To know more about the exciting new features, take a look at our Founder Saravana Kumar blog “BizTalk Server 2020 – Why it’s a Game-Changer?”.

In this blog post, I will be covering the new features shipped in BizTalk Server 2020, in terms of Operation and Administration. Yes, this version brought in quite a number of new capabilities to make the life of admin/support people easier. Let’s take a look at the features one by one in detail in the coming sections.

Scheduling

In BizTalk Server, there is an option available to schedule receiving or transmitting the messages on certain days and hours. However, there is no scheduling available to specify the preferred time zones and at a specific time on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Therefore, the administrator relayed on other tricks to achieve this business scenario as below:

  1. Windows Task Scheduler – To drop a file to the specified Receive Location
  2. SQL Adapter – Implementing a simple stored procedure that creates a “dummy” message that initiates the process
  3. BizTalk Scheduled Task Adapter – An in-process receive adapter that executes a prescribed task on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule.
  4. BizTalk2020-Scheduling

Advanced Scheduling

Now with BizTalk Server 2020, the new advanced scheduling comprises all the options which administrators wanted for scheduling.

New Options:

  1. The preferred time zone can be set based on the business scenario
  2. Automatically adjust for daylight saving time
  3. Recurrence options like daily, weekly, and monthly
  4. BizTalk2020-Advanced-Scheduling

Local time can be confusing, as all the places on earth use their own local time for the smooth functioning of the large-scale business spread across the world. (Ex: companies with abroad partners, railways, ). Until the previous versions, there won’t be any option available to set the preferred time zone for message processing. With this new option, the time zone can be set according to the business needs along with the automatic setting daylight-saving.

Another exciting capability is recurrence. To achieve this formerly, Admins used various tricks to process the messages. With this new capability, they can set daily, weekly and monthly schedules as per the needs.

  1. Daily – Configure the number of recurring days and from which date the recurrence will be active
  2. Weekly – Configure the number of recurring days, from when the recurrence will be active and on which weekdays the recurrence must be active
  3. BizTalk2020-Weekly-Scheduling

  4. Monthly – Configure which months and which days the recurrence should take place
  5. BizTalk2020-Monthly-Scheduling

Backup to Azure Blob Storage

To align with the latest trend, BizTalk Server 2020 has this exciting capability to extend its support in hybrid solutions. With this feature, you can configure the BizTalk Server job to back up your BizTalk databases and log files into the Azure Blob storage account.

To configure this job, you will need to:

  1. Create a general-purpose Azure Storage account
  2. Create a container within your Blob Storage account
  3. Create stored access policy and shared access storage
  4. Create SQL Credential using the SAS

Create a general-purpose Azure Storage account

An Azure Storage account contains all your Azure Storage data where all the saved data is highly available, secure, and scalable at any point in time. Then the storage account is ready to create the container.

Create-Storage-Account

Creating a Container

All the database backup files are stored in the Blobs. For that, you must first create a container.

Creating-Container

Once the container is created, click on the ellipsis button at the end of the row and look for the property “Container properties”.

Container-Properties

In the opened window, copy the URL value as highlighted in the below screenshot. This URL will be used to create the credentials in the SQL Server and as well as configure the backup jobs.

Blob-Container-Properties

Shared Access Signature

A shared access signature is a URI that grants restricted access rights to the container in the Azure Storage account. A stored access policy provides an additional level of control over shared access signatures. When using this, you need to create a policy on a container with at least read, write and list rights.

In the Azure Storage account you have created, look for the menu “Shared access signature” and click on the “Generate SAS and connection string”, as shown in the below screenshot.

All the connection strings and URLs will be generated and listed in the below section. There you require the SAS token to create the credentials.

Shared-Access-Signature

Create SQL Credential

This is the final step, where you need to create a credential in SQL Server in order to connect with the blob storage. As mentioned in the screenshot, Open the new query and click on the menu “Azure Storage”.

Azure-Storage

In the next wizard, you are prompted to sign in the respective Azure account where the container is created. Once after the sign-in, select the respective storage account and the container and click ok.

Storage-Account-Creation

After the successful sign-in, execute the below query with the correct parameters.

SQL-Query

Once the query is successfully executed just navigate to Security -> Credentials. You can see the new shared access signature in the credential folder. Now everything is set for the database backup to Azure Blob.

Azure-Blob

Once the credentials are created, you need to configure the BizTalk Server backup job as mentioned in this article.

Backup-BizTalk-Server

After the successful configuration, you need to run the backup job. Once the execution is completed, all the BizTalk Server database backups are available in the Blobs as you see in the below screenshot.

Azure-Storage-Account

Audit Log

Until the previous versions of BizTalk Server, it is a completely black box for the administrators where they are not sure about who does what in the environment since all support persons have elevated access to the BizTalk and SQL Servers and no auditing is taking place.

BizTalk Server 2020 can audit the application and its artifact activities performed by the users. All the auditing activities are stored in the BizTalk Management DB -> bts_auditlog table.

Admins can get an insight about,

  1. Who has done the action?
  2. In which Server with the Artifact id, artifact name, and the corresponding operation
  3. Payload information
  4. At which specific date and time the particular action took place

The new audit API lists all the auditing activities performed by the users. The result will be returned in the JSON format.

After installing and configuring the BizTalk Environment, the next is to enable the Global level Audit Management operations, as shown in the picture.

BizTalk-Global-Level-Audit

The following are the detailed list of the activities audited by the BizTalk Server,

Applications

BizTalk-Server-Audit-Applications

Receive Ports

BizTalk-Server-Audit-Receive-Ports

Receive Locations

BizTalk-Server-Audit-Receive-Locations

Orchestrations

BizTalk-Server-Audit-Orchestrations

Send Port Groups

BizTalk-Server-Audit-Send-Port-Groups

Service Instances

BizTalk-Server-Audit-Service-Instance

Binding file importing activity is audited as well.

Artifacts which don’t have auditing capabilities:

Policy No Auditing
Resources No Auditing
Schemas No Auditing
Party No Auditing
Host Instance No Auditing

Note: Only the admin users can view the auditing activities performed by other users.

New Read-Only Operator Role

The new role “BizTalk Server Read-Only Users”, is completely providing read-only access to the users. This role will be useful to facilitate the dev-ops scenario.

Read-Only-Operator-Role

With this new role, users are restricted to perform actions against,

  1. Application and Artifacts
  2. Service Instances
  3. Changing port configuration

If a user, who is in the Read-only Operator role, tries to do any actions, these actions will be restricted by BizTalk Server and the user will get an error message like below.

BizTalk-Server-Administration-Error

When the user tries to change the host instance status, the error message will be different, as shown below.

BizTalk-Server-Administration

Group Managed Service Accounts

Group managed service provides automatic password management. The main reason behind this is to delegate the management of passwords to other administrators.  When this option is enabled, users don’t need to provide the passwords to handle the services. This specific option will be shown when you run the BizTalk Server custom configuration. The features support gMSA have a “Is gMSA account” setting. Once this setting is enabled, the password property disables.

User-Credentials

gMSA is supported for the features,

  1. BizTalk Runtime
  2. Business Rules Engine
  3. BAM Tool
  4. Rest API
  5. BizTalk TMS

Note: gMSA is not available when BizTalk is configured with a Basic Configuration.

You can find more information about gMSA in this article.

Conclusion

Microsoft released many useful features to ease the Operation and Administration capability for support/admin people. BizTalk Server 2020 promises the on-going commitment of Microsoft in this platform. We are in the process of creating some great guides and materials related to BizTalk Server 2020. (Ex: Detailed upgrade guide from previous versions). If you are interested, comment below with your answers for the following two questions along with your mail id, we will keep you in the loop.

  1. What version of BizTalk Server are you using?
  2. Is BizTalk Server 2020 migration in your scope?

Here are a few detailed blogs on BizTalk Server 2020, hope you will find them useful.

The post BizTalk Server 2020 – Operations and Administration Capability appeared first on BizTalk360.

Configuring Polling Interval

Configuring Polling Interval

Configuring polling interval is the most requested feature from our customers, therefore we have introduced the same in our latest version. This feature will ease the monitoring capability of web endpoints, Azure services from BizTalk360. Consider, there is a situation where your application in BizTalk Server relays on external endpoints and it is crucial to make sure the status of the web endpoints all the time. With the monitoring capability in BizTalk360, you can monitor HTTP, SOAP, REST-based web services easily and get to know when your endpoint URL is not active. Likely, we can think of many scenarios where there are monitoring requirements for your BizTalk server.

Existing System

BizTalk360 Monitoring service is the main component where it looks through your BizTalk environment to ensure a safe day to day business transactions. The frequency of the monitoring service poll is controlled by setting the polling interval. Until the previous version, the polling interval value is not changeable by the users since it is defined in the internal code level. By default, the frequency is 60 secs.

Some customers don’t want monitoring service poll every minute for a few components during monitoring. For Example, consider external web endpoint is enabled for monitoring, therefore monitoring service will hit the external web services/server every minute to check the status. This frequent hit may slow down the performance in the servers where the endpoints are hosted.

To avoid the frequent hit on the server, new functionality has been implemented in BizTalk360 as “Manage Polling Interval”.

What is the New Change?

We have introduced a new section “Manage Polling interval(Settings -> Monitoring Notification -> Manage Polling interval) where it holds default polling interval (60 secs) for the components, Logic Apps, API Apps, Web Endpoints, File, FTP, SFTP, MSMQ, Azure Service Bus Queue, IBM Queue. Users are privileged to configure the polling intervals based on their business needs as per the below screenshot.

manage-polling-interval

Let us consider an example scenario where as a user, you want to monitor the web endpoint which your BizTalk applications consume from the external web services and you want the endpoint to be always up and running without any downtime.

This business need will be easily achievable through BizTalk360 just by creating and mapping the endpoints to the alarm.

From this very moment, the BizTalk360 monitoring service will take care of the monitoring every minute. At any point in time, if you don’t want the monitoring for every minute, you can change the polling interval for the web endpoint. If the setting is changed to 5 minutes, then the monitoring service will look at the endpoint status every 5 minutes and trigger the email alerts.

web-endpoint

Endpoint Level Polling Interval Configuration

This is another interesting capability BizTalk360 provides, where users can set the polling interval per web endpoint level by overriding the global configuration. This feature will facilitate the customer to configure different polling intervals for different endpoints configured for their BizTalk Applications.

As an example, consider there are two endpoints configured for Monitoring in BizTalk360 and you want to check the status of both the endpoints in different polling intervals. Say 1 in every 15 mins, other in every 30 mins.

As mentioned in the previous section, polling interval can be configured in the settings level but to achieve this scenario there is a specific option “Endpoint Monitoring interval” provided in the web point configuration screen for every endpoint as mentioned in the below screenshot. Monitoring service will give priority to this value for web endpoints rather than the global configuration settings.

web-endpoint-monitoring

Conclusion

With this new capability, users can configure their own polling interval for the components which will ease the monitoring capability of their BizTalk Environment. 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 BizTalk environments.

The post Configuring Polling Interval appeared first on BizTalk360.

Terminating Dehydrated Service instances through BizTalk360 PowerShell Notification channel

Terminating Dehydrated Service instances through BizTalk360 PowerShell Notification channel

BizTalk360 has introduced notification channels from its major version release V8.0. One of the most greeted features from our customers. With the introduction of this capability, it’s easy to send alerts to any external systems like your ticketing system, internal databases, calling REST endpoints or executing PowerShell scripts.

One of the most powerful capabilities is to use an API, to enable you to create notification channels for connecting to your own systems. The PowerShell notification channel allows you to execute a PowerShell script, each time an alarm is triggered when the threshold is crossed.

During business transactions in mission-critical BizTalk Server environments, if any of the service instances are waiting for response messages, they will be turned to the dehydrated state. There might be valid reasons why such service instances are not needed anymore. So, as a BizTalk administrator, you should keep an eye on these instances in their environments to avoid further critical business consequences.

BizTalk360 provides Monitoring capabilities for dehydrated service instances and it sends periodic alerts via different notification channels. One such channel is the PowerShell Notification channel.

This blog post will give you an insight about how to terminate the dehydrated service instances through the PowerShell notification channel in BizTalk360, just by configuring it with the Alarms.

Steps to implement the PowerShell Notification Channel

1. Create the PowerShell script
2. Configure the PowerShell notification channel
3. Configure the PowerShell notification channel with the Alarm

Creating the PowerShell script

To develop the PowerShell script, it is essential to identify the API’s which will take care of these actions.

Step 1:

Retrieve the dehydrated service instances from the Message Box using the below API.
http://localhost/BizTalk360/Services.REST/BizTalkQueryService.svc/ExecuteServiceInstanceQuery

Code Snippet


import-Module Microsoft.PowerShell.Management
$username = "DomainUserName"
$password = "ABC1236890"
$password_base64 = ConvertTo-SecureString $password -AsPlainText -Force
$creds = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential ($username, $password_base64)
$body_ExecuteServiceInstanceQuery='{
"context":{
"callerReference":"REST-SAMPLE",
"environmentSettings":{
"id":"3beb9328-c435-47ed-8c51-a406117e632b",
"licenseEdition":0
}
},
"query":{
"compositeFilter":{
"filterDescriptorCollection":[
{
"member":"Instance Status",
"filterAvailableMember":[
{
"name":"Application",
"alias":"Application Name",
"dataType": 1,
"isList":true,
"isAutoComplete":false
},
{
"name":"CreationTime",
"alias":"Creation Time",
"dataType":0,
"isList":false,
"isAutoComplete":false
},
{
"name":"GroupResultsBy",
"alias": "Group Results By",
"dataType": 1,
"isList": true,
"isAutoComplete": false
},
{
"name": "HostName",
"alias": "Host Name",
"dataType": 1,
"isList": true,
"isAutoComplete": false
},
{
"name": "InstanceStatus",
"alias": "Instance Status",
"dataType": 1,
"isList": true,
"isAutoComplete": false
},
{
"name": "ServiceClass",
"alias": "Service Class",
"dataType": 1,
"isList": true,
"isAutoComplete": false
},
{
"name": "ServiceInstanceID",
"alias": "Service Instance ID",
"dataType": 1,
"isList": false,
"isAutoComplete": false
},
{
"name": "ServiceName",
"alias": "Service Name",
"dataType": 1,
"isList": true,
"isAutoComplete": false
},
{
"name": "ServiceTypeID",
"alias": "ServiceType ID",
"dataType": 1,
"isList": false,
"isAutoComplete": false
}
],
"memberType": 1,
"filterOperator": 2,
"value": "Dehydrated",
"progressIndicator": false,
"validationError": "",
"isValid": true,
"tempValue": ""
}
]
},
"maxMatches": "10",
"queryType": 0
},
"maxMatches": "10"
}'
$headers=@{"Content-Type"="application/json"}
$uri="http://BT360SUP03/BizTalk360/Services.REST/BizTalkQueryService.svc/ExecuteServiceInstanceQuery"
$response = Invoke-WebRequest -Uri $uri -Headers $headers -Method Post -Body $body_ExecuteServiceInstanceQuery -Credential $creds

Step 2:

Pass the retrieved dehydrated service instances for the termination process to the below API.

http://localhost/BizTalk360//Services.REST/BizTalkQueryService.svc/ExecuteServiceInstanceOperation

Code Snippet


$ExecuteServiceInstanceQueryobj = ConvertFrom-Json $response
if (!$ExecuteServiceInstanceQueryobj.serviceInstances) {write-Host "There are no dehydrated service instances for termination"}

foreach ($serviceinstance in $ExecuteServiceInstanceQueryobj.serviceInstances)
{
$body_ExecuteServiceInstanceOperation='{
"context":{
"callerReference":"REST-SAMPLE",
"environmentSettings":{
"id":"3beb9328-c435-47ed-8c51-a406117e632b",
"licenseEdition":0
}
},
"serviceInstances":[
{
"ServiceName": "'+$($serviceinstance.ServiceName)+'",
"ServiceClass": "Orchestration",
"StatusDisplayText": "Dehydrated",
"Application":"'+$($serviceinstance.application)+'",
"ServiceInstanceID":"'+$($serviceinstance.serviceInstanceID)+'"
}
],
"operation": 1
}'
$headers1=@{"Content-Type"="application/json"}
$uri1="http://localhost/BizTalk360//Services.REST/BizTalkQueryService.svc/ExecuteServiceInstanceOperation"
$response1 = Invoke-WebRequest -Uri $uri1 -Headers $headers1 -Method Post -Body $body_ExecuteServiceInstanceOperation -Credential $creds
$ExecuteServiceInstanceQueryobj = ConvertFrom-Json $response
}

Points to Remember

Following are the parameters need to be changed as per your environment configuration.

  1. Service Account credentials for UserName
  2. Password
  3. Environment Id
  4. URI

As mentioned in the introduction section, BizTalk360 exposes its APIs and can be found in the section Settings -> API documentation.

Terminating Dehydrated Service instances - API Documentation screen

Configuring the PowerShell Notification channel

Once the PowerShell script has been created, the next step is to configure it with the notification channel in BizTalk360.The PowerShell notification channel can be found in Settings -> Monitoring Notification Channels ->B360.Notifier.PowerShellNotification.

Terminating Dehydrated Service instances - Configure PowerShell Notification channel

Select the notification channel and click on the “Configure” button on the top menu bar. In the Configuration Notification Channel section, enter the location of the script which has been created for terminating the dehydrated service instances and click on the Configure button. Now, the PowerShell script has been configured with the BizTalk360 notification channel.

Terminating Dehydrated Service instances - Associate the Powershell Script Path

Associating the PowerShell Notification Channel with Alarms

The next primary step is to Map the notification channel with the Alarms for further execution and configure the Threshold violation settings, as how frequent you want to terminate the dehydrated service instances from your environment. Based on the settings, BizTalk360 will terminate the dehydrated service instances in your BizTalk Server environment.

Terminating Dehydrated Service instances - Alarm Configuration with PowerShell Notification Channel

Terminating Dehydrated Service instances - Threshold Alarm Settings

Conclusion

We strongly believe BizTalk360 has transformed the way you do your work. It is a very common situation where administrators depend on various tools like BizTalk admin console, SQL queries and other custom build tools to monitor their BizTalk Environment. But with this capability “PowerShell Notification Channel”, administrators can create their own scripts and automate their daily activities. In this blog post, we have explained one such scenario we can accommodate with BizTalk360. This capability is not restricted for some functionalities, the component is generically implemented in the product where our customers can achieve a lot more business scenarios by using this powerful capability.

Do try BizTalk360 one-stop monitoring tool for your BizTalk Server.

Author: Mekala Ramesh

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

10 best features we released in 2018 – BizTalk360 Product Update

10 best features we released in 2018 – BizTalk360 Product Update

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

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

1. Import & Export

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

2. Advanced web endpoint monitoring

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

Basic

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

BasicAuthorization

Certificate Authentication

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

SSLClientCertificate

Azure Services Authentication

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

AzureServiceAuthentication

3. Business Holiday Calendar

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

Stop_Alerts_for_Maintenance_during_business_Holidays_business_holiday_calendar_configuration_section

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

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

Grant Access by Applications

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

Grant Access to all Applications

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

Wildcard Search

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

Grant Access to Application Groups

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

AplicationRuleConfiguration

5. PowerShell Notification Channel

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

6. Grid Column customization

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

Additional_Columns_filters_configuration_screen

7. Pagination for improved performance

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

8. Grid Column Filtering

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

Text Filter

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

Checklist Filter

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

Status Filter

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

Boolean Filter

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

9. Stop Alerts for maintenance Improvements

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

10. Triggering alert emails to admin users

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

Triggering alert emails to admin users

Installer Improvements

Installer Logging capability

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

Installer One Password Capability

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

Installer SQL Upgrade

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

Persist Web.config file changes during the upgrade

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

Conclusion

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

Author: Mekala Ramesh

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

BizTalk360 High Available Setup Guide

BizTalk360 High Available Setup Guide

High availability, Multi server, Multi-environment Infrastructure Guide

This article will help you to understand the architecture of the infrastructure details for various scenarios of high availability, multi-server and multiple environments setup.

With regards to High Availability of BizTalk360, there are few parts which can be made Highly Available/Load Balanced:

  1. The User Interface
  2.  The Windows NT services (Monitoring & Analytics)
  3. The BizTalk360 database

The User Interface (UI)

The UI, including the REST services, can be made Highly Available by installing BizTalk360 on multiple servers. By putting a software/hardware load balancer (NLB) in front of these BizTalk360 servers, the UI of BizTalk360 can be accessed via the virtual address which is provided by the NLB.
Independently whether one of the BizTalk360 servers is down, you will always be able to access BizTalk360 via the address of the NLB. This is in no way related to the high availability of the BizTalk360 NT services.

The BizTalk360 Windows NT services

Depending on the license tier a company goes for, BizTalk360 comes with the following Windows NT services:

  • One for the Monitoring activities
  • One for collecting Analytical data (only needed in case of Platinum license)

To split the responsibilities of the NT services, each of these services contains several sub-services. One of these sub-services is used for heartbeat and will be used in case BizTalk360 is installed on multiple servers.

BizTalk360 High Available Setup Guide_Monitoring Service Screen

The picture shows the BizTalk360 Monitoring Service, including its sub-services. See below list, for some more explanation about the capabilities:

  1. Refresh and Restart buttons – With the Refresh button, the status of the Monitoring service and its sub-services are retrieved. The Restart option enables you to restart the Monitoring services. As a result, the sub-services will also be restarted
  2. Start and Pause buttons – Each sub-service can be Started/Paused individually. By selecting one or more sub-services with the check boxes, you can Start/Pause multiple sub-services at once
  3. Service Name column – This column shows the name of all sub-services. Based on that, you will understand the responsibilities of each sub-service. As mentioned earlier, the Heart Beat sub-service is one of them
  4. Polling (Sec) column – Each sub service has its own polling interval, after which the sub-service will do its job. It is not possible to change this interval. In the Last Execution column, the date and time of the last execution of each sub-service is shown
  5. Current State column – This column shows the actual state of each sub-service. By default, all these sub-services should be Started
  6. Last Status – This column shows whether the last execution of the sub-service was successful or not
  7. Exception – In case the last execution was not successful, the exception of the last execution is shown in this column

To make these NT services highly available, BizTalk360 needs to be installed in multiple servers. At these servers, the BizTalk360 NT services must be started. From that moment on, the heartbeat of the services will be monitored cross-wise between the services on the BizTalk360 servers. For each (Monitoring and Analytics) service only one on either BizTalk360 machine can be Active. In other words, this is an Active-Passive configuration. Active-Active is not supported!

Below screenshot shows a configuration in which the BizTalk360 Monitoring service is installed in 2 servers. As you can see, the BTS2016LAB02 server is Active, which means that it is performing the monitoring tasks. The other server, the BTS2016LAB03, is not active. However, this server can be activated by clicking the Activate button.

Again, it is important to remember that although BizTalk360 can be installed on multiple servers, only one of these servers can be Active and performing the monitoring tasks.

BizTalk360 High Available Setup Guide_High Availability Screen

In such multi-BizTalk360 server setups, in case the heartbeat sub-service on the Active BizTalk360 machine is not responding, there is automated fail-over of the BizTalk360 NT services taking place. So, the tasks of the BizTalk360 NT services will be performed by the server which was, until then, Passive. Thereby, High Availability is reached.

The BizTalk360 database

For making the BizTalk360 database highly available, you need to use a clustered SQL instance. That could be the same SQL instance as where the BizTalk databases reside, but could also be a separate (clustered) instance.

Different standalone and multi-server scenarios

As BizTalk Server can also be made High Available and Load Balanced, there are quite a lot of different scenarios possible, with respect to the server setup of both products. Let’s have a look at the most common scenarios and see how these scenarios affect the BizTalk360 licensing.

Scenario 1 – Standalone BizTalk server and standalone BizTalk360 server

First scenario, let us see how a simple solution, like having a standalone BizTalk Server and a standalone BizTalk360 environment setup will look like.

Following are the prerequisites:

  1. 1 x BizTalk Server
  2. 1 x MS SQL Server
  3. 1 x BizTalk360 server
  4. 1 x valid BizTalk360 server license (total BizTalk Server count will be 1 in this scenario)

BizTalk360 High Available Setup Guide_Scenario1

Scenario 2 – Multiple BizTalk servers and a standalone BizTalk360 server

In our following scenario, we will see how to have multiple BizTalk Servers and a standalone BizTalk360.

Following are the prerequisites:

  1. 2 x BizTalk Server
  2. 1 x MS SQL Server
  3. 1 x BizTalk360 server
  4. 1 x valid BizTalk360 server license (total BizTalk Server count will be 2 for the BizTalk360 license)

BizTalk360 High Available Setup Guide_Scenario2

  • Though we require one BizTalk360 license, the max server count for the license, should be = 2 as BizTalk360 is licensed per number of BizTalk servers in the BizTalk group
  • If both BizTalk servers (BTSRVR1, BTSRVR2) are active, it means that this is a multi-server environment
  • If BTSRVR1 is active and BTSRVR2 is passive (or vice versa), then it is High Availability

Scenario 3 – Multiple BizTalk servers and multiple BizTalk360 servers

Below is the diagram that explains how to have a multiple server setup for both BizTalk Server and BizTalk360 servers and its pre-requisites:

  1. 2 x BizTalk Server
  2. 1 x MS SQL Server
  3. 2 x BizTalk360 servers
  4. 1 x valid BizTalk360 server license (Total BizTalk Server count will be 2 for the BizTalk360 license)

BizTalk360 High Available Setup Guide_Scenario3

In this scenario, we have used two BizTalk360 servers, pointing to the same BizTalk group, which makes BizTalk360 highly available.

Scenario 4 – 2 multi-server BizTalk groups and multiple BizTalk360 servers

Now, we will see another scenario where we have multiple BizTalk Server environments; both BizTalk Server & BizTalk360 are highly available.

Following are the prerequisites:

  1. 2 x 2 BizTalk Server
  2. 2 x MS SQL Server
  3. 2 x BizTalk360 server
  4. 2 x valid BizTalk360 licenses (total BizTalk Server count will be 2 for each BizTalk360 license)

BizTalk360 High Available Setup Guide_Scenario4

As we have seen, there can be several combinations of server setups, and it is purely based on the customer’s requirement and their infrastructural policies. What we explained are 4 various scenarios and their requirements. These are basic setups and the fundamentals will not change, even if you have other scenarios.

Author: Mekala Ramesh

Test Lead at BizTalk360 – Software Testing Engineer having diverse exposure in various features and application testing with a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of SDLC. Strong knowledge to establish the testing process from the scratch. Love to test the software product to deliver it with good quality. Strongly believes on “Testing goes beyond just executing the test protocol”.

Stop Alerts for Maintenance during Business Holidays

Stop Alerts for Maintenance during Business Holidays

Introduction

We are super excited to announce the availability of another interesting improvement in our upcoming version! BizTalk360 will allow you to setup monitoring maintenance, based on the business holidays configured for the environment.

Sometimes, administrators setup the maintenance period during new deployments or installation of security patches in their BizTalk environment. In such situations, to temporarily stop the monitoring in BizTalk360, there is a feature available “Stop Alerts for Maintenance”. Using this capability, the user can set the multiple future maintenance windows to stop false alerts being triggered from BizTalk360. This feature can be found in the Settings area of the application.

Stop Alerts for Maintenance during public Holidays_settings section

Initially, BizTalk360 allowed users to set only a single maintenance window. From v8.8 onwards, users can setup multiple future maintenance windows. So, during these maintenance periods the alarms will be disabled and no notifications will be sent from BizTalk360. At the same time, a maintenance notification will be shown in the Home dashboard and in the Stop Alerts for Maintenance Settings section. Refer to this article, to know more about this enhancement.

What is the new enrichment?

The basic idea here, is that perhaps if a user is able to setup multiple maintenance windows, they need to configure the business holidays individually. It will take much of your time, to configure 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.

Stop_Alerts_for_Maintenance_during_business_Holidays_business_Holiday_calendar_tab_sub_section_in_settings_section

What is a business holiday calendar?

BizTalk360 provides this new capability to configure the business holidays in a calendar. These business holiday calendars can be mapped during maintenance window setup. This new configuration section is introduced in the Monitoring Notification settings section as “Configure Business Holidays”.

Using this intuitive UI, users can configure the business holidays in a calendar and save it for further mapping during the maintenance setup process.

Stop_Alerts_for_Maintenance_during_business_Holidays_Create_new_business_Holiday_Calendar

Let’s take an example: as a user, I wanted to configure a calendar for London business holidays. By clicking the “New” button, you can access the screen to configure the business holiday calendar.

Stop_Alerts_for_Maintenance_during_business_Holidays_business_holiday_calendar_configuration_section

After providing the basic details (Holiday Calendar Name, Description, Status), you can configure the dates for the business holiday in the Calendar Configuration part of the screen. For each date selection, a set of text boxes will be generated. The user has the liberty to provide their own text for the selected dates. On the right-hand side of the calendar configuration section, there are two checkboxes. Using these checkboxes, a user can include Saturdays and Sundays in the maintenance window. You can select both options or either one option, based on the business need.

Stop-Alerts-for-Maintenance-during-public-Holidays_Adding_public_holidays_to_the_calendar

Once the calendar is configured with business holidays, the user can save it for further use. The calendar will be listed in the Manage Business Holiday grid view. At any point in time, a user can add/delete new business holidays to the existing calendar configuration and save it. The changes will be updated automatically and maintenance will happen accordingly.

Preventing the business holiday calendar from accidental deletion

There is a chance that a configured calendar becomes deleted accidentally. The UI is designed in such a way that accidental deletion of calendars which are associated with maintenance windows is prevented. By any chance, if a user tries to delete a calendar which is associated with a maintenance window, a message will be shown in the UI that deletion is prevented.

Stop_Alerts_for_Maintenance_during_business_Holidays_business_Holiday_Calendar_Delete_Scenario_error_message

How to associate the business holiday calendar to maintenance windows?

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” dropdown 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.

Stop_Alerts_for_Maintenance_during_business_Holidays_Holiday_Calendar_association_for_alert_maintenance

There is a new tab “Business Holidays” added in the grid section to view the configured business holidays to the calendar.

Stop_Alerts_for_Maintenance_during_business_Holidays_List_of_dates_configured_in_the_calendar_will_be_displayed

Excluding alarms during maintenance

wherewith this capability, users can exclude alarms during the maintenance. This means, that, except the selected alarms, other alarms will undergo maintenance.

Scenario: Enable Monitoring for few alarms (for example to monitor system resources) during deployments or security patch updates.

Let’s consider a situation, where administrators have configured critical alarms to monitor the system resources (CPU usage, Memory usage) of their BizTalk Environment in BizTalk360. It is important to monitor these resources in their BizTalk Environment to identify any performance glitches as early as possible to avoid significant business consequences.

In such scenarios, there will be a need to keep those alarms always on. Though the environment is in maintenance mode, if administrators wanted to monitor their system resources, they can make use of this new capability.

This capability is very useful in situations where administrators don’t want to receive alerts during the weekends except for few alarms.

Stop_Alerts_for_Maintenance_during_business_Holidays_Exclude_alarms_during_maintenance_option

Conclusion

Definitely, these improvements are like icing on the cake to our existing Stop Alerts for Maintenance capability. Happy migrating and try BizTalk360!!!

Get started with the free 30 days trial. For any queries/feedback please write to us support@biztalk360.com.

Author: Mekala Ramesh

Test Lead at BizTalk360 – Software Testing Engineer having diverse exposure in various features and application testing with a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of SDLC. Strong knowledge to establish the testing process from the scratch. Love to test the software product to deliver it with good quality. Strongly believes on “Testing goes beyond just executing the test protocol”.

Introducing additional column filters capability in BizTalk360

Introducing additional column filters capability in BizTalk360

Introducing new capability “Add/Remove” column headers

Here is another interesting capability, we are transporting in our upcoming version. Tired of filtering data using the static predefined columns? Hereafter, no worries. Grid columns in BizTalk360 are getting a fresh look. You can customize the column headers which are most important to your business scenario.

What is this new implementation?

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

Why we implemented the Additional column filters in BizTalk360?

Let’s take an example. For a healthy working system, all the service instances must complete message processing successfully and clean up periodically. For this, the administrator keeps an eye on the message box queries interface for any instances hanging in error states like suspended (Resumable) and suspended (Non-Resumable). The administrator may look for errors based on specific parameters like Service Instance ID, Service Type ID, URI. In such cases, BizTalk360 has limited static columns (Service Name, Application, Service Class, Status, Creation Time and few more) to fetch and view the information in the Message Box database and for few other features.

We constantly listen to our customers’ feedback and ensure necessary improvements are made in the product regularly. These improvements will ease their day to day operations of their BizTalk Server environment. Therefore, this new capability called “Add/Remove grid columns” is implemented.

Hide or show a column

In the corresponding sections (Message Box Queries, Graphical Flow (Tracking), Electronic Data Interchange) there is a new option introduced “Edit Columns”. Through this, all the possible columns will be listed, which are essential to filter the data. Based on the (de)selection, columns are displayed or removed from the grid view. This functionality enables the user to choose the columns which are required to be shown in the grids.

Additional_Columns_filters_configuration_screen

Filtering context promoted properties made easy

As you all probably know, there are two types of properties in the context of the messages:

  1. MessageDataPropertyBased (Message Properties)
  2. MessageContextPropertyBased (Context Properties)

Basically, to process and track the messages, some properties will be promoted during the transaction. The promotion of the properties varies based on different business scenarios.

Let’s consider a scenario. Suppose a particular message got a huge number of properties promoted and the administrator wanted to narrow down the search in BizTalk360. Until our previous versions that would be a difficult task.

This search is simplified by now by making use of this new capability. You can select the important context promoted properties and save it. This customized setting will be there in the tool until the user prefers to delete the saved query. Following screenshots will provide an insight of how this new feature eases the operation of administrators.

Below screenshot represents the column grid view when the message has quite a number of context promoted properties. Data is accessed and visible, only the column headers are resized.

After executing the query, the result grid shows up, including the context properties. To make the screen more useful, you can select which fields you want to see in the grid and which ones don’t need to be shown.

Below, the configuration screen to select and deselect the columns.

additional column filters capability - Context promoted properties configuration screen

Once the needed fields have been selected in the configuration screen, the grid immediately reflects that configuration.

additional column filters capability - Context promoted properties grid view

How does BizTalk360 save the customized column settings?

BizTalk360 allows saving as many patterns as the user wants. I mean, 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.

Let me give you a detailed example. If you want to search for service instances based only on the applications and Error code, you just select those columns in the configurations screen. This change makes the grid realign based on the selection with applications and error code columns. The second step would be to preserve the selected columns for future reference. To achieve that, you need to save the query. This way, you can retrieve the same query, including the same context properties, in the future.

Easy migration from one environment to another

This is another interesting existing capability, we are having in BizTalk360. As a best practice to protect the production environment, all the data settings and testing are carried out in non-production and UAT environments.

If all the configurations are done in those environments and BizTalk360 is ready to be deployed to the production environment, users don’t need to worry about the recreation of those configurations in the new environment as this is where our import and export capability plays a vital role. Just by the click of a button in the UI, you will be able to export and import all the data between source and destination environment.

Download the customized column data using the Export to Excel capability

This is not a new capability in BizTalk360. As we enhanced, to support the column customization, users can also download this data by using the Export to Excel capability. 

Conclusion

We believe this new capability will provide extensive search ability and get the desired result in a blink of an eye. Happy migrating and try BizTalk360!!!

Get started with the free 30 days trial. For any queries/feedback please write to us support@biztalk360.com.

Author: Mekala Ramesh

Test Lead at BizTalk360 – Software Testing Engineer having diverse exposure in various features and application testing with a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of SDLC. Strong knowledge to establish the testing process from the scratch. Love to test the software product to deliver it with good quality. Strongly believes on “Testing goes beyond just executing the test protocol”.

Centralized Advanced Event Log viewer performance improvement for getting better insights about your BizTalk Environment

Centralized Advanced Event Log viewer performance improvement for getting better insights about your BizTalk Environment

In this blog post, I wanted to highlight the performance improvements of advanced event viewer collection logic in our upcoming version 8.9. This change will provide a fine-grained access to enable specific servers for the Event Log collection that are more important to you.

Windows Event Log Monitoring to detect the data breach

What would you do if you were faced with a critical issue in your BizTalk Environment in your enterprise? Think about this for a moment. Do you have an efficient process to respond to the problem? Are you equipped with the right set of tools to mitigate the problem in your environment? Sometimes, despite our best efforts, an issue may happen in unexpected ways and cause significant problems to the business.

In this situation, the Windows Event Log viewer is a handy tool for the BizTalk Administrators/support engineers to monitor their BizTalk environments and to detect any data breach or for any specific exception. At the same time, if the BizTalk servers are deployed in highly available setup and with clustered SQL server architecture, searching the Event Log from all of these servers together is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Become the God of the Event Logs with BizTalk360 centralized Advanced Event Log viewer capability

Log data can be huge even in small integration business units. Many of the log entries might be routine messages about the BizTalk environment I.e. services and job status, that are mostly of no concern to you, but other messages like suspension of any service instances, system throttling state, state of host instances, etc., that is critical to your day to day business transactions.

However, to search for this logs in all the servers by logging into the physical server and correlate the Event Logs is a tedious process for the BizTalk support engineers /Administrators. This is where lots of their valuable time is wasted.

Who would not be happy if there is a capability to provide access to all the Event Logs across all the configured servers? Therefore, BizTalk360 provides you centralized access to all the Event Logs across all the servers in a rich web-based UI. To know more about the Advanced Event viewer, visit this blog “Why did we build Centralized Advanced Event Viewer for BizTalk Administration?”

No Fear! No Agent required. BizTalk360 provides agentless Event Log collection:

For Event Log collection, BizTalk360’s Advanced Event Viewer does not require a separate agent to be installed on each server. The BizTalk360 Monitoring service collects Event Log and is present as part of the BizTalk360 installation. In this way, BizTalk360 performs Event Log collection task without introducing any additional load to the servers.

Why this performance improvement required?

The Advanced Event Viewer is the most used feature in BizTalk360, where the administrators use this capability for their day to day business operations and monitoring with ease. To do so, there are some settings which need to be configured in BizTalk360. These settings are bound to the BizTalk environment level. In case of highly configured business architecture (Eg: 5 BizTalk Servers and 5 SQL Server with clustered setup), there may be millions of transactions which will happen on a regular basis.

From BizTalk360 V8.6 onwards, we have provided a new capability to monitor the Event Logs of the BizTalk & SQL servers. For this, we are calling the Windows Management Instrumentation service every minute. Because of the restriction with the environment level, all the servers will be polled every minute to collect the Event Log data.

We have received few support tickets where this specific logic is consuming a lot of memory and spikes the CPU performance of their BizTalk & SQL Servers. There are workarounds already suggested to our customers to make use of this capability in the best way, by configuring the sources which are required for them and remove the unnecessary sources. However, there are no options to enable the Event Log collection per individual server. Therefore, we have improved performance of the collection logic in our V8.9 version.

Comprehensive Event Logs collection using the newly introduced configuration method

 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.

Below screenshot represents our old screen in the Settings side to enable the Event Log viewer in order to view the logs in BizTalk360.

BizTalk360 Advanced Event viewer Event Log collection performance improvement- Old Screen

We have revisited the collection logic in our new version to improve the performance. Since the configuration is bound to the environment, the user doesn’t have control over the individual servers. 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.

BizTalk360 Advanced Event viewer Event Log collection performance improvement - New_source_segregation_settings_screen

BizTalk360 Advanced Event viewer Event Log collection performance improvement - Server_configuration_screen

Improving the Archiving and Retrieving of Event Logs capability

Event Log retrieval is fairly a cumbersome task for the administrators from all the configured servers individually. BizTalk360 provides to download all the Event Log messages in a single place. Archived Event Logs give a lot of insight into the performance of your BizTalk environment unless all the Event Logs are archived in a central location. This way operators are able to access them at any time.

BizTalk360 Advanced Event viewer Event Log collection performance improvement - Export to Excel capability

Changes in the Event Log Data Monitoring section

Monitoring BizTalk Servers in a connected environment is the prime requirement for organizations – large or small.

The first thing we wanted, was to show the common issues/problems in the blink of an eye when an administrator needs it. The Advanced Event Viewer, in the Operation section of BizTalk360, would show users instantly, details of any Event Log about their BizTalk Environment. To know more about operations of Advanced Event Viewer refer to this article.

The second thing was the exact opposite – if there are some issues that should never happen, but they did in your Biztalk Environment, we would want you to know about it as well – once again, instantly. This is why we have built advanced Data Monitoring for Event Logs.

Previously, irrespective of the server selection, all the configured sources are displayed in the sources drop-down list. Now, based on the server selection, the sources will be collected and listed. This would minimize the turnaround time of creating the data monitor by selecting the required sources easily. Below screenshot refers to the new changes done in our new version of BizTalk360. Using this Data Monitoring capability, BizTalk360 will continuously monitor without any manual intervention and attention.

BizTalk360 Advanced Event viewer Event Log collection performance improvement - Data Monitoring New screen

Conclusion

We are sure, this implementation will highly optimize the BizTalk360 Advanced Event Viewer collection logic. Happy migrating and try BizTalk360!!!

Get started with the free 30 days trial. For any queries/feedback please write to us support@biztalk360.com.

Author: Mekala Ramesh

Test Lead at BizTalk360 – Software Testing Engineer having diverse exposure in various features and application testing with a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of SDLC. Strong knowledge to establish the testing process from the scratch. Love to test the software product to deliver it with good quality. Strongly believes on “Testing goes beyond just executing the test protocol”.