Group Email using SMTP Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Group Email using SMTP Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Monitoring and Alert notification is amongst the core functionalities in BizTalk360. To empower better usability, we are improving the alert notification in the upcoming release v9.0 by adding the option for sending alert notifications to a group of Email Id’s. We always give importance to our customer voice and give importance to customer feedbacks while picking up the features for every release. Also this feature becomes implemented based on our customers feedback.

This feature not only addresses the Group Email list, it also has the additional capability to add recipients based on UP Alert and Auto Correct Alert, and an option to copy in people (CC) in notification emails. Those functionalities are also highly recommended by customer feedback as below.

We have achieved the above feedbacks in one powerful feature called “SMTP Notification Channel”.

What is SMTP Notification channel in BizTalk360?

Intending to send email notifications, you simply need to specify the recipients Email address. You can add multiple Email id(s) separated by semicolon. The SMTP Notification channel emails are sent using the SMTP Client server.

SMTP-Notification-Channel-Configuration

The following table provides descriptions of the configuration fields and indicates whether they are required. The section that follows this table provides example configurations.

Field IsRequired? Description
Email To Required Email address of the notification recipients for all type of alert
CC Optional Email address of the notification recipients
Up Alert Optional Email address of the notification recipients for Up alert
Auto Correct Alert Optional Email address of the notification recipients for Auto Correct alert

The user can create multiple email distribution lists by configuring multiple SMTP notification channels and map them to the same or different Alarms based on the business needs.

SMTP-Notification-Channel-Alarm-Mapping

Note: To receive alerts through the SMTP notification channel, the user needs to configure the SMTP settings in BizTalk360 (BizTalk360-> Settings-> Monitoring and Notification-> SMTP). The SMTP Notification channel will take the server connection details form the configured SMTP settings.

SMTP-Settings-Configuration

BizTalk360 Alarm Configuration Methods

As you know in BizTalk360, you can configure the alarm notifications in two ways, one is by configuring Alarm only with email ids and the other one is mapping Notification channels (ServiceNow, Slack, PowerShell, Webhook, Microsoft Teams).

Now, in the notification channel we have added an additional advantage for Email configuration, called the SMTP Notification channel. This will behave the same as the native Email configuration methods, which is actually very easy to use and maintain.

BizTalk360 native Email Configuration

In earlier versions of BizTalk360, a user could configure the Alarm by directly proving the Email id(s), as shown below.

Alarm-Email-Configuration

 

If the user wants to use the same recipients in another alarm, the user needs to copy the email and paste it to the new alarm or they need to type it again manually. It is a very time consuming and tedious process when you want to configure multiple email ids.

Also, in the earlier BizTalk360 versions, there is no option to group the alerts like UP Alert, AutoCorrect Alert and to have a CC for the admin or any other recipients. To overcome all, we have introduced the “SMTP Notification Channel”.

Cons of using the native Email configuration

  • It’s hard to configure multiple recipients for multiple alarms
  • Any user can change the recipients for any alarms, which is a security risk
  • All the alert like up alerts, down alert, autocorrect will be sent to all the configured Emails
  • No CC option was available

Grouping Email using SMTP Notification Channel

Using this SMTP Notification channel, a professional can effortlessly create multiple email contact groups and effectively send or automate sending BizTalk360 alerts to thousands of recipients in multiple email groups at the same time. In Addition to that, they can group the email recipients based on the type of alerts like Up Alert and Auto Correct Alert.

Pros of using the SMTP Notification channel

  • It is an easy and effective way to create and manage multiple mailing lists
  • User can group the email recipients accordingly to their business needs, based on the alerts like UP alert and Auto correct Alert
  • It helps to add the CC to the alerts, which helps to notify an admin or other professional as per their business norms
  • Any user can use the Configured SMTP channel for their respective alarms
  • Only the admin or Super user can create the SMTP Notification channel. Another user cannot create the Channel which improves the security

How can we effectively use the SMTP Notification for our business

Creating an Email Distribution List with the SMTP Notification Channel: Most of the customers use BizTalk360 for the monitoring capability. The user can monitor BizTalk artifacts through the BizTalk360 alarms and the user gets notified when any artifact goes down. The user can configure n number of alarms for their business needs.

For instance, if a user was monitoring multiple BizTalk artifacts with more than 100 BizTalk360 Alarms with the same set of recipients, and if the admin wants to add/remove a recipient, then the admin needs to go and manually change all the alarms which is time consuming. This can be done much simpler with using the STMP channel; it is enough to provide email recipients only at SMTP notification channel configuration. The same can be used across all the alarms, just by enabling the SMTP channel. And, if there is any change in recipient ids, it’s enough to change it in SMTP notification channel and it will be reflected in all the alarms. The user can also configure multiple SMTP channels to multiple alarms or a single alarm as below, this will reduce the manual effort.

Mapping-Multiple-SMTP-Notification-channel-in-Alarm

Personalize Alerts to notify different group of users: As you know, users get notified through different types of Biztalk360 alerts such as Down alert, UP Alert, AutoCorrect Alert, Regular Alert and Data Monitoring Alert. The Down Alert will be triggered when the correct state of the artifact is different from the Expected state; the UP Alert will get triggered when all the configured artifacts are in Healthy state; the AutoCorrect Alert will be triggered when system tries to rectify the violation to make BizTalk Environment healthy.

In case an admin wants a down alert to be sent to everyone in the team, but the Up Alert or Auto correct alert need to be notified to only specific members in team, that can be easily achieved by configuring the selected recipient ids Up Alert/Auto correct field while configuring SMTP channel.

UP-Alert-and-Down-Alert

Create the SMTP Channel with the Email To, which indicates the Down Alert recipients, then configure the UP Alert and Down Alert recipients on the respective fields. Then configure the channel to the respective Threshold Alarm. When the artifacts are down, it will trigger the alert only to the configured recipients and the same for UP Alert and AutoCorrect Alert.

Make a copy to different users: Within an organization, a user needs to provide a copy of an alert to the admin or some other authority. In this case, they can configure the CC in the SMTP Channel, then the alert will get notified to the admin.

Customizing SMTP Notification Channel: The SMTP Notification channel can be customized based on the business requirements using the GitHub project file. For Instance, if the user wants to send the Data Monitoring alerts to a specific Email group, this can be achieved by adding a piece of code in the GitHub project file. For SMTP Notification channel, the data are retrieved based on the alert notification type.

Notification-Type

You need to perform the following steps:

  • Add the fields to get input for Data monitoring Alert Emails in the global properties XML File.

<TextArea Name=”DataMonitoring-Alert” DisplayName=”Datamonitoring Alert Email” IsMandatory=”false” Tooltip=”Only Data Monitoring alerts will be trggerred to the configured Email Id(s)” DefaultValue=”” Value=”” Type=”email” ValidationPattern=”^([w+-.%]+@[w-.]+.[A-Za-z]{2,}(s*;?s*)*)+$”/>

  • Get the email id’s and assign to another variable in the SMTPChannel.cs file as

Get-Email-Id(s)-in-SMTPChannel.cs

  • You need to add the Condition respective for Data Monitoring Alert as

Condition-For-DataMonitoring

Then the user can add separate group Emails for Data Monitoring alert as below.

UI-With-Data-Monitoring-FieldWrap Up

A mailing list or group email can be the bliss of a feature for businesses of any size. The SMTP Notification channel allows you to reach out to as many people as you want without having to re-write or copy-paste the same email multiple times.

Stay tuned!!

Conclusion

If you plan on creating and send group emails for an organization or a business purpose, then this SMTP Notification channel will ensure a productive, scalable and goal-driven approach to your group email campaigns.

 

The post Group Email using SMTP Notification Channel in BizTalk360 appeared first on BizTalk360.

Introducing the Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Introducing the Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

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

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

Create the Channel in Microsoft Teams

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

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

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

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

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

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

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

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

Configuring the Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

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

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

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

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

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

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

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

Microsoft Teams Notification Channel in BizTalk360

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

Author: Rochelle Saldanha

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

You asked, we attended: ServiceNow Notification Channel Enhancement

You asked, we attended: ServiceNow Notification Channel Enhancement

Support service is one facet of business that is important to every business, regardless of industry, it is vital to delivering the best service possible to all customers.

To deliver a great product service that builds customers confidence, you must pay attention to customer feedback. Customers are a wealth of information and they can help to develop a better product.

Notifications give users confidence about the environment health status and if there is any problem they can take immediate action to solve it. BizTalk360 being a one platform solution for monitoring the BizTalk Servers, it supplies quick integration with ServiceNow, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Webhook, apart from the default notification mediums – Emails and SMS. The integration is not restricted to just these channels, it is open to the customers. They can create their own custom notification channels which they use for work.

The above said Notification channels are by default bundled with BizTalk360 and make the customer life easier and not to spend much time on configuration. You can set up different alarm types (Threshold, Regular Health check, Data Monitoring) from BizTalk360 user interface and integrate with the desired Notification channels on which you want to receive the alerts.

In this article, we will be looking at the ServiceNow integration and how we have improved it in the upcoming BizTalk360 v8.6 release.

What are ServiceNow Integration’s existing fields?

In our upcoming Version 8.6 release, we have improved the ServiceNow notification channel based on the customer feedback, so here it is! For any ticketing system, the fields which are available will help the support personnel to determine the nature of the ticket and make the corrective action in a timely manner. Till V8.5 default ServiceNow notification channel has the below three fields.

  1. Short Description
  2. Impact
  3. Urgency

ServiceNow Notification channel in BizTalk360

From V8.6 version onwards we have added the following fields to help our customer’s precisely keep track of changes happening up to the minute in their environment. By using these new fields, they can configure the additional information about the ticket from BizTalk360.

  1. Assignment Group
  2. Category
  3. Sub Category
  4. Configuration Item
  5. Additional comments

ServiceNow Notification channel in BizTalk360

What happens during the Migration?

After the migration from earlier versions to v8.6, users can continue to work on the old template without any problem.

Let’s consider the below scenario:

A customer is using BizTalk360 version 8.4 presently and have configured 10 Alarms in their environment for monitoring and enabled the default ‘ServiceNow’ notification channel for sending the alerts. After the migration to the new version 8.6, there won’t be any change in the existing configuration in the alarms level. It will have the same configuration with the default 3 fields as such in V8.5

Once the user reconfigures the ServiceNow channel in Settings->Monitoring Notification->Manage Notifications channel, new changes will be applied. As per the configuration in BizTalk360, alert in ServiceNow channel will have the following fields.

ServiceNow Notification channel in BizTalk360

ServiceNow Notification channel in BizTalk360

Happy Migrating and try out the fresh installation once the release is announced!!! We are always happy to receive the customer’s feedback. Please write to 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”.

Enhancements on Monitoring Alerts and Notifications in BizTalk360 v8.5

Enhancements on Monitoring Alerts and Notifications in BizTalk360 v8.5

Monitoring and Alert notification is one of the core functionality in BizTalk360. To empower better usability of a user, we have improved the alert notification in the latest release v8.5. The enhancements are typically chosen from our customer feedback based on the impact and the number of requests.

Event Log description:

Event logs can give the early warning of impending system issues and save you from unexpected disasters. It is quite important to monitor the event logs regularly to get proper insights of any windows servers.

BizTalk360 has ‘Advanced Event Viewer’ functionality in which BizTalk360 Monitoring services collect the data from event logs from defined event sources of multiple servers. And the same can be monitored with respect to event log type (Application, Security, System, Windows PowerShell etc…), event sources of each event types and also with the specific event id and texts by configuring threshold conditions.

The best way to monitor event logs is to choose a solution that reports the Windows Event ID as well as the error message. Considering this ideology, we enhanced this in 8.5 release, so that event log will be alerted along with the description. This feature is also enabled with the filter on the number of event logs and size of the description (up to 5000 characters) in the system settings. Now user can get clear insights on any events occurred in the configured BizTalk or SQL server.

Event Log Alert with Description

Event log monitoring can be done in few easy steps

  • Enable Event Log Monitoring in Setting->Advance Event Viewer section
  • Define Email Event Log Description character count and List Count in system settings
  • Configure Monitoring Threshold conditions for event log monitoring.

Migration Scenario: To use this, the user needs to define the list count and description character count in system setting. By default, the values will be zero after migration.

Data Monitoring alerts in Notification channel

Data Monitoring is one of the powerful features in BizTalk360 which run queries against multiple data sources in BizTalk which include: Message Box Queries, Tracking Queries, BAM Queries, EDI Queries and ESB Queries, Logic Apps based on the configuration how the user wants to monitor data in each of these sources.

Previously Data Monitoring alert can be sent only through static notification end points like SMS, Email, Windows Event log and HP Operation Manager. From v8.5 we have extended custom notification support for data monitoring alert. Using this functionality, the users can get Data Monitoring alert from various external systems like Slack, ServiceNow, Web Hook and they can also build their own custom notification channels to any external systems.

To use this functionality user need to configure notification channel in setting side and enable the same in Data Monitoring alarm.

Migration Scenario: User need to enable Configured Notification Channel in Existing Data Monitoring Alarm to get Data Monitoring alert on custom notification channels.

Web Endpoint Monitoring Enhancement

We have web endpoint monitoring (ability to monitor any HTTP based URL’s) for very long time in BizTalk360, right from 6.x. In fact, this is one of the key monitoring component used by a lot of our customers. Web endpoint monitoring allows you to monitor the health of any HTTP based web service. You can monitor:

  • Response status codes
  • Response Keyword, XML, JSON
  • Response Time

You can configure BizTalk360 to trigger an alert notification if the response value is not matching your requirement. We have done following improvements on web endpoint monitoring alerts.

  • Many customers suggested to include the endpoint name in an alert email, alert history and also in monitoring graph to easily identify which endpoint has gone down in case of multiple web endpoint configured for monitoring.
  • Also Expected Return code and Response Time Alert details are included in alert for more insights.

Web EndPoint Monitoring

Folder Size Monitoring

In BizTalk360 version 8.4, we introduced the capability of folder monitoring which monitors the file count for File Locations (File, FTP and SFTP) configured in BizTalk artifacts. From 8.5, we are supporting directory size monitoring for file locations which actually monitors the size of entire folder irrespective of file mask. (i.e) the folder may contain various file types XML, txt, png etc but the configured file may be either one of this type so here, folder size means entire folder with all the file types.

With in 2-3 clicks, the user can configure monitoring threshold conditions for folder size and start monitoring and get notified as and when folder size increases/decreases.

Folder Size Monitoring

Conclusion

BizTalk360 enhances the complex administrative tasks into a modern easier task. This version of 8.5 is being added with more features thinking from a usability perspective of our customers. BizTalk360 continues to provide more such features considering the feedback from our customers and stay tuned for next version.

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

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

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

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

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

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

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

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

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

All you need to have to run this application is

  • URL of BizTalk360
  • A BizTalk360 authorized Windows Account

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

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

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

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

Setup Steps

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

NOTE

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

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

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

The alarms created will be Threshold Monitoring Alarms.

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

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

Automate Alarm Creation in BizTalk360

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

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

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

Recently in one of our support tickets, a customer enquired on whether Microsoft Teams as a notification channel would be implemented in upcoming releases, as he heard of it in the INTEGRATE 2017 event, where Saravana introduced ServiceBus360 and Teams was one of the notification channels there.

Therefore, I thought if I could provide an alternate workaround to achieve the same in BizTalk360. This often occurs in Support where if we don’t have the functionality currently in the product, we do strive to provide a similar working functionality by discussing it with the development team. Here is my implementation of the feature request by using Logic Apps & WebHook Notification Channel.

Create the Channel in Microsoft Teams

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

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

Once the Channel has been created we can use the Team name & Channel Name in the Azure portal as the destination for the Post Message (Teams).

This can be achieved via Logic Apps or by creating a custom Notification channel. We will have a quick look at both the implementations.

1. Implementation via Logic Apps

Configuration in Logic Apps:

So I created a Demo Logic App, and here is a screenshot of the design used.

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

I’ve used a Request-Response and added an Azure function to help Parse the JSON response received from the BizTalk360 Notification channel and then passed that composed message to a Post message action for Microsoft Teams. Azure will ask you to authenticate your login (Teams) and then allow you to select the specific Team and Channel from Microsoft Teams.

In the 1st Request, you will also need to supply the Request Body JSON Schema or use sample Payload to generate the schema. Please refer to this code for the Schema I used.

Azure Function Code implementation

To access the code used for the Azure function, please access this code at Github website.

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

Configuring BizTalk360 WebHook Notification Channel for the Logic App

Please refer to this article which describes how to set up Webhook notification Channel.

https://assist.biztalk360.com/support/solutions/articles/1000245561-adding-a-webhook-notification-channel

You can get the URL for the Web API from the Logic App – refer to the screenshot earlier provided and the arrows identify where to get the URL from. Use that in configuring the BT360 webhook notification channel.

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

Once the WebHook Notification Channel is configured, you can select it as the notification option in the specific Alarm
Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

Receiving the Notifications

Once the Threshold is violated, similar to the Email notifications, you will now see a notification in Microsoft Teams.

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360
While I have parsed the JSON message and only displayed the Application Name & Artifact Name that has the error, you can choose and customize your error messages as required.

2. Implementation via Custom Notification Channel

You can read these articles which show how to create a custom notification channel.

https://blogs.biztalk360.com/introduction-custom-notification-channel-sdk-biztalk360/

https://assist.biztalk360.com/support/solutions/articles/1000217940-adding-a-new-custom-notification-channel

You need to select the WebHook Connector from Microsoft teams. You need to copy the WebHook URL which you will then enter the code in the custom notification channel.

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

You then need to setup the Custom Notification Channel as mentioned in the blogs.

Then you only need to add this code to the FileChannel.cs file either instead of after the successful completion of File notification completed. Again I have only output Alarm Name and an Error string. Please customize as required.

Integrating Microsoft Teams as a Notification channel in BizTalk360

So I hope this blog gave you a good idea as to how you can integrate Teams with BizTalk360 Notifications.