BizTalk Server 2013 is now RTM!

BizTalk Server 2013 is available on MSDN as of now!

BTS2013-MSDN

With this, the eighth release of BizTalk is a fact.

These are the new features that are announced for the BizTalk Server 2013 release:

  • Integration with Cloud Services – BizTalk Server 2013 Beta includes new out-of-the box adapters to send and receive messages from Windows Azure Service Bus, making it easy to build hybrid solutions. It also provides capabilities to host BizTalk endpoints in Azure through the Service Bus Relay providing a simple and secure way to connect external partners and application to BizTalk Server on-premises. New adapters include
    • WCF-BasicHttpRelay
    • WCF-NetTCPRelay
    • SB-Messaging
  • RESTful services – BizTalk Server 2013 Beta provides adapters to invoke REST endpoints as well as expose BizTalk Server artifacts as a RESTful service.
  • Enhanced SharePoint adapter – Integrating with SharePoint using BizTalk Server 2013 is now as simple as integrating with a file share. We have removed the dependency on SharePoint farms, while still providing backward compatibility.
  • SFTP adapter –Enables sending and receiving messages from an SFTP server.
  • ESB – The ESB capabilities previously introduced in the ESB Toolkit are now fully integrated with BizTalk Server and the ESB configuration experience is vastly simplified to enable a quick setup.
  • Dependency tracking – The dependencies between artifacts can now be viewed and navigated in the Admin console.
  • Improvements in dynamic send ports –You now have the ability to assign a host handler per adapter, providing better scales and performance for dynamic send ports.
  • XslCompiledTransform – The mapping engine now makes use of the enhanced XslCompiledTransform API, which provides significant improvements in mapping engine performance for complex maps.
  • Ordered Send Port improvements –We have made changes to the BizTalk runtime engine which significantly increases the performance of ordered send port scenarios, for example in HL7 solutions that use the MLLP Adapter.
  • BAM Alerts update – In previous releases of BizTalk Server, BAM Alerts feature had a dependency on SSNS (SQL Server Notification Services). With the current release of SQL Server (SQL Server 2012), SSNS is no longer available. However, we have made sure your existing BAM Alerts scenario work just the same even if your backend is targeting SQL Server 2012. If your backend is SQL Server 2008 R2, you will continue to require the dependency on SSNS.
  • Support for latest LOB version and protocol standards – Additionally, we also support the latest LOB versions and protocol standards. For B2B, the enhancements include
    • Support for X12 5040, 5050, 6020, 6030
    • Support for EDIFACT D06A, D06B, D07A, D07B, D08A, D08B, D09A, D09B, D10A, D10B
    • HL7 2.5.1

BizTalkServer2013

 

With this new release, Microsoft also changed their licensing model for BizTalk Server to a per-core licensing model. This per-core licensing model is consistent with their SQL Server licensing. The impact of the new licensing model for the customer will vary based on how BizTalk Server 2013 will be deployed. Customers running BizTalk Server software on processors with four cores or less will have their license costs remain consistent with BizTalk Server 2010, as core licenses are priced at one quarter the cost of a processor license. Customers running servers with higher capacity processors on the other hand will have their licensing costs grow with the increased power of their hardware. More information on the BizTalk 2013 new licensing model can be found in this document or in this blog.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on info@cnext.eu (more contact details can be found on http://www.cnext.eu).

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BizTalk360 v6.0: new features explained

BizTalk360 released the brand new version v6.0 on March 8th, bringing several new features to the product.
In this blog post, we’ll address most of these new features that has been added in short.

A full overview of the new features can be found here.

1. Search and Action on Artifacts

This feature allows you to search for certain BizTalk artifacts, which can become really useful in large BizTalk applications.

searchArtifacts

You can search on these types of artifacts:

  • Applications
  • Orchestrations
  • Receive Ports
  • Receive Locations
  • Send Ports
  • Send Port Groups
  • Schemas
  • Pipelines
  • Transforms (BizTalk maps)

More details can be found on this BizTalk360 blog post.

2. Custom SQL query

This isn’t exactly a new feature in this version, it is however completely renewed.
Below screenshot will show you the difference between both versions. On the left side is a screenshot of version 5.0, while on the right side is version 6.0.

CustomSQLDiff

As you can see, there are some new functionalities added in the latest version.

First of all you can now export the query results to a CSV file.
Also, now there is the possibility to easily edit the query and execute the edited query again (using the link ‘Edit query’ as shown in the screenshot).

Another major new feature for these custom queries, is not shown in this screenshot but can be found in the ‘Monitor and Notify’ tab on the portal. The new version gives you the ability to create alerting on custom database queries that return a scalar result. A warning and error threshold level can be defined for this alert.
I think this gives BizTalk360 a lot of new possibilities to expand their active monitoring. One of these possibilities we were really missing in the previous version is for example some threshold alerting on the BizTalk Spool size, like explained in this BizTalk360 blog post.

3. SQL Job Outcome monitoring

In the previous version you only had the possibility to monitor if SQL jobs still had the desired status (enabled/disabled).
One of the useful new features is to also have alerting on the SQL Job outcome… So not only the job status can be monitored, but also alerts can be send when a job has failed.

I think this is a huge monitoring improvement, as in the previous version we tried to monitor the BizTalk sql jobs outcome using the MessageBox viewer report (integrated in the BizTalk360 platform).

SQLJobOutcome

4. Threshold monitoring window

The alarm settings have been expanded with the ability to restrict the threshold monitoring to certain days and timings.

AlarmSettings

5. Scheduled monitoring downtime

In the last version you were able to completely stop the alerting when doing some maintenance. You could configure this maintenance window for a certain time period.

With the latest version, the ability to schedule this maintenance window is also possible. You can define the maintenance window for a certain time period, but now you can also configure when this maintenance window will start.

MaintenanceSchedule

6. Monitoring dashboard

The monitoring dashboard has been updated and will also show the health status of the background monitoring service.

In the previous version we had to go to the settings window and choose ‘Monitoring Services’ under the BizTalk360 Health subcategory to have an overview of the health status of the background monitoring service. In our case for example, this posed the problem that the user we had defined to view the monitoring dashboard didn’t had the rights to check the health status of the monitoring service.

With Version 6.0 there still is the possibility to check the health of all monitoring services in the settings window… But the health status of the overall monitoring service will now also be visible in the monitoring dashboard. Which will be useful as this monitoring dashboard is displayed at a monitoring screen in our company, and now also shows the monitoring health status. While in the previous version it didn’t even had the rights to do so.

MonitoringDB

7. User Access Policy enhancements

The security settings has been expanded quite some bit. There are numerous new possibilities you can define rights to for the users.

In the below screenshot, you can see both the user access policies for version 5.0 (left screenshot) and version 6.0 (right screenshot).

SecuritySettings

As you can see in the screenshots, several access rights have been added in this new version. You can now also define separate rights for users on these features:

  • Monitoring Dashboard
  • Throttling analyser
  • Backup/DR visualizer
  • More advanced SQL query permissions (edit permission, list of queries etc) => when clicked on the link ‘Advanced’

These are only some of the features I found most useful… of course there are some more new features added as stated in the BizTalk360 blog post mentioned earlier.

Conclusion

BizTalk360 gives us huge benefits in monitoring all our environments. And these features will certainly improve our monitoring.
Still, there are some functionalities we think are missing and hope to see in one of the next versions:

  • Ability to save queries (message box, tracking, event viewer): queries need to be build all over again each time now
  • BizTalk query building enhancements: still missing the ability to ‘group by’ and increase the number of max matches to a self defined number
  • Alerting on throttling
  • Monitoring dashboards switching between defined alarms: this would be useful for the monitoring screen that we have set up
  • Layout changes in monitoring dashboard will reset on each refresh cycle: in the monitoring dashboard, you have the ability to move around all items as you want them to be (or zoom in/out)… however, on each refresh cycle (or on switching between alarms) the layout will reset to its default