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.
You can search on these types of artifacts:
- Receive Ports
- Receive Locations
- Send Ports
- Send Port Groups
- 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.
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).
4. Threshold monitoring window
The alarm settings have been expanded with the ability to restrict the threshold monitoring to certain days and timings.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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