Interesting support cases 2018 – Part 2

Interesting support cases 2018 – Part 2

In my previous blog post, I have highlighted 5 interesting cases we received and solved in the past year. In this blog, I would like to add 5 more interesting support cases.

Let’s get into the cases.

Case 6: Data Monitor Dashboard slow to respond

In the year 2017, we have started a new initiative called ‘Customer Relationship Team. This team will get in touch with our customers regularly in the frequency of 3-4 months. The team will make sure about how the customers are using the BizTalk360 product, whether they are facing any problems, and if they have any queries.

If so, we will clarify the customer queries during the call. If can’t clarify the problem within the short time of the call, then we will create a support case for their queries and make sure we will solve the case.

In one such a call, a customer raised a concern about the Data monitoring dashboard being slow to respond and it takes more and more time.


During the investigation of the slowness, we came to know that the customer had configured 147 data monitoring alarms. Out of those, 110 data monitoring alarms were scheduled for every 15 minutes cycle, which will produce a huge result.

In more detail:

110 data monitoring results for every 15 minutes cycle.

110*4*8(business hours) = 3520 results.

110*4*24(whole day) = 10,560 results.

Loading 10k results in a single load, for sure it will take time to load all the results.


Most of the customers won’t use many schedules for data monitoring alarms. To handle such a huge load, we have improved the performance of the data monitoring dashboard, by having a filter option to select the specific alarms and corresponding status. The improved data monitoring dashboard is available from version 8.7 on.

Case 7: System resources configuration

A customer faced an exception ‘the network path was not found’ while trying to enable SQL Server System resources monitoring.


We have requested the customer to check the below things:

  1. The BizTalk360 service account is a local admin on the machine where SQL server is hosted
  2. The Remote Registry service is started or not
  3. Firewall ports are opened for SQL server
  4. From BizTalk360 server, can you connect to that SQL server through SQL Management Studio
  5. Connect to the remote computer (SQL Server configured for monitoring) from the BizTalk360 machine where the monitoring service is running

All other steps were passed, but in the Perfmon, while connecting the SQL Server on the BizTalk360 installed machine, they have faced the same exception.


To open the SQL server on another machine, port 1433 needs to be enabled. To monitor System resources of SQL machine, an additional port needs to be enabled ‘135’, which is for RPC and WMI. We have mentioned the depended ports what needs to be enabled in our existing blog.

Even after adding the port, still the problem persisted. At last, we found that the firewall rules were not activated/enabled, once after activating the rules we were able to solve the case. This is one such case in which we all missed to check the basic step that a rule should be activated because no one had access to view the rules other than the customer’s admin.

Case 8: SFTP Monitoring – PublicKeyAuthendication

A customer was trying to configure monitoring for an SFTP location and they were facing issues. It was working fine for the customer when the authentication was used with a simple username and password. However, once they configured for PublicKeyAuthendication, they faced issues during the configuration.


We started with the basic troubleshooting steps like authentication, access permissions and we understood that it has all rights to access the FTP site. During the investigation, we found that in a folder BizTalk was picking up the inner folders as well, instead of picking the files alone.


To find the exact root cause of the issue, we have developed a console application (with logs enabled) and provided it to the customer. It provided a clear picture of the problem, as mentioned earlier it has calculated the folder for PublicKeyAuthentication. Now, this has been fixed.

Case 9: Message Count mismatches

A customer faced a problem between the Receive and Send ports for the message count at Analytics Messaging Patterns.


The customer had a very simple scenario (see below) where a file is picked up and placed in a different location, but the Send Port count shows the Receive Port count twice. He gets similar doubling up on Receive and Send ports for other message flows as well.


Send Port – 12 messages

Receive Port – 6 messages

During the investigation, we have found that whenever BizTalk retries to submit the suspended messages the counts get double.


As of now, we are showing the message transfer count rather than the message count. We are doing this because this will help us to determine the message performance of BizTalk Artifacts in an environment. We are going to take this as a feature enhancement in the future.

Case 10: Not possible to expand columns in query outcome

Normally you can expand the column size of the query outcome in a grid. But customers were facing a problem that they were unable to expand the columns in the MessageBox Queries grid.


During the investigation the customers were facing this problem in Chrome,  but not in Internet Explorer and Firefox. They faced the same issue while opening the browser in an incognito window as well. This is really something very strange for us, because while using the same version we were not able to reproduce the same problem.

We have investigated at the code level and everything seems fine at our end. So, we have decided to go for a meeting. During the meeting, we were able to see the problem at the customer end and we had no clue at that time, requested a few days time and closed the meeting.

We analyzed the case and it was hard to reproduce the case at our end. It is working for most of our team members and only a few are facing this issue. The team member who faced the issue and the one who’s working fine worked together, they compared each component from scratch to find what’s the difference and we found the cause.


If the Chrome page is zoomed out or zoomed in, then the column resize wasn’t working for us and this happened at the customer as well.

It seemed that this was a problem with the Kendo Grid control in the latest version this issue was introduced by Kendo. We worked along with Kendo and solved the case.

Satisfaction does it!

As a support engineer, we receive different cases on a daily basis. Every support case is unique because the problem will be faced by different customers in different environment architecture. But some of the support cases are interesting by the root cause of the problem and the way of troubleshooting the case. I’m happy that I have worked on such challenging and interesting cases.

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TLS Support in BizTalk360

TLS Support in BizTalk360

BizTalk360 is the One platform monitoring solution for BizTalk server. It only takes about 15 minutes to install the product and have it ready for use. The installation is very smooth and straightforward. During the installation, the web application, Monitoring and Analytics services and the database will be installed as per the selection of choice by the users.
One of the main advantage of the BizTalk360 installer is that you have the option to view the installer logs in case if there are any errors during the process. The installation log would contain the complete details of the installation steps, the service account details, the database connection string details etc. and of course the error details, if any.
Our BizTalk360 support team receive tickets from customers seeking assistance during the installation. In this blog, I would like to share an interesting case from a customer related to BizTalk360 installation.

The customer scenario

When the customer tried to install BizTalk360, they got below error in the creation of the BizTalk360 database step.

Here are the investigation steps

When the installer fails, our first step of investigation would be to check for the installation logs. In the logs, there was the following error message: Error 0x80004005: ‘failed to check if database exists’.
The next option would be to check for the permissions for the BizTalk360 service account in the SQL server hosting the BizTalk360 database. As a prerequisite for smooth installation of BizTalk360, the service account must be provided the db_owner permission for the BizTalk360 database. At the customer end, all the permissions were intact but still the error persisted. After a thorough analysis, we found the root cause to be with the TLS version installed in the servers.

Standards for securing communication

As database driven applications are increasing their hold on the systems market, the security of the retained information is also increasing. One way of mitigating a potential attack during a user’s session, would be to use a secure communication protocol to encrypt data in transit between the user and the server on which the sensitive information resides. Two of these communication protocols used are: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS).
SSL was first introduced by Netscape back in 1993-1994. The growth of the Internet was rising and so was the need for transport security. Today SSL/TLS is used in almost every conceivable online service. TLS is the protocol that allows digital devices (such as computers and phones) to communicate over the internet securely, without the transmission being vulnerable to an outside audience. The latest version of TLS is TLS1.2.

How did TLS hinder the installation of BizTalk360?

As per any organization’s security policy, they would be installing TLS protocol for more security. But do you think that this protocol would make the BizTalk360 installer to fail? How is that related to BizTalk360? Let’s move on to find the answer.
Let us consider the following setup for BizTalk360. Having a single BizTalk Server & standalone BizTalk360 environment, the setup will look like below.

The BizTalk360 database may be hosted on a separate SQL Server as well. In that scenario, all the servers will have the TLS installed and they communicate with each other through the protocol. In some of the customers’ cases, where they disabled TLS 1.0 and enabled TLS 1.2, they had the difficulty in installing BizTalk360 as the database was not getting created. However, once TLS 1.0 was enabled and TLS1.2 disabled, the installation was successful with the database creation.

The different scenario of the customer

In another customer scenario, they were using the SQL Express Edition for hosting the BizTalk360 database. This is first time we have come across such a case with the SQL Server edition. At first, we suggested them to enable TLS1.0 and disable TLS1.2. But when TLS1.2 was disabled, they faced the error in connecting to the SQL Server as shown below.

We tried different options for enabling the TLS versions, but this did not solve the error at all. Let’s move ahead to know the real cause of the error and how we resolved it.

The WiX toolset and BizTalk360 installer

BizTalk360 installer uses the WiX toolset for the installation package and database creation. It seemed that there was no support for TLS 1.2 in the WiX toolset for the SQL Express edition. Hence it was not able to connect to the SQL Server for the database creation.
The BizTalk360 installer is so robust that each and every error will be displayed, and it won’t allow the installation to proceed in case if it encounters any problem. The installation logs are an added advantage to get the clear picture of the error message. The below picture shows the TLS settings at the customer end.

As a quick step for testing this case, we immediately provisioned a VM with the same configuration as the customer and we were able to reproduce the exact issue. After a complete analysis and research, we found the issue with the WiX toolset. Now that we had identified the issue with the WiX toolset, the update was available for it. With this updated version of the installer,  the installation was successful, and the database was also created.
This was a different experience and of course a good learning for us. We, the support people, now had acquired the background knowledge of the installer as well as the TLS protocols.


New experiences lead to new learnings. As TLS 1.0 has been deprecated, many of our customers who have already moved to TLS 1.2 were not sure if BizTalk360 supports the latest version. Now the installer supports the latest TLS version, which is TLS1.2. This will be updated in our upcoming release version of BizTalk360 v8.9. When the customers upgrade to v8.9, they can have TLS 1.2 enabled which was not the case previously. When they had TLS1.0 disabled, they were not able to install BizTalk360. They had to enable TLS1.0, disable TLS1.2, install BizTalk360 and then once again disable TLS 1.0, which is a cumbersome job.
Now BizTalk360 supports TLS 1.2. Happy monitoring with BizTalk360!!! 😊.

Author: Praveena Jayanarayanan

I am working as Senior Support Engineer at BizTalk360. I always believe in team work leading to success because “We all cannot do everything or solve every issue. ‘It’s impossible’. However, if we each simply do our part, make our own contribution, regardless of how small we may think it is…. together it adds up and great things get accomplished.” View all posts by Praveena Jayanarayanan