BizTalk360 releases version 7.9

BizTalk360 has released the brand new version 7.9 with some very promising new features.

The new release brings some new features for making your life as a BizTalk administrator even easier. You can find this new version on their download page, just hit the link for downloading the latest msi setup or request for your free trial.

The biggest new features are

  • Data Monitoring
  • Export-Import Monitoring Configuration
  • EDI Parties and Agreements access
  • ESB edit/resubmit, bulk resubmit messages

A more in depth information of these features can be found on http://blogs.biztalk360.com/introducing-biztalk360-version-7-9. These new features, together with some minor changes and bug fixes, makes BizTalk360 very useful for your BizTalk environment. It is definitely worth upgrading your current setup or adding BizTalk360 for your daily maintenance and monitoring of the BizTalk environment.

I myself am very excited about the new data monitoring enhancements. With this you can easily automate some simple daily tasks. Besides the already released process monitor, it is also possible to monitor your messagebox, tracking data, BAM, EDI and ESB with the latest release. The most impressive is that now you can even configure some simple execution tasks (resume, suspend or terminate) for the message queries defined on your messagebox. A great way to automate your routine tasks like regularly terminating instances, resuming instances, etc.
The ability to export and import the monitoring configuration facilitates keeping the configuration the same for all environments. Another interesting thing this brings along is that now you can define your own basic set of monitorings to use for speeding up and facilitating the first time setup over multiple environments.

For any questions or guidance with installing or configuring this new version, you can always contact Cnext for support.

BizTalk360 version 7.8 released

BizTalk360 just released their latest version 7.8 with interesting new features.

With this new release comes some very interesting new features that make it even easier to actively monitor and maintain your BizTalk environment healthy. Be sure to check out this latest release and download the setup or request for a free trial version.

Some of the key features in this release includes:

  • Brand new Advanced Process/Transaction Monitoring, with it’s own dashboard.

  • EDI Reports, we now matched all the EDI reports available in BizTalk admin console.

  • Concept of User profile, especially for choosing your preferred time zone and date/time format.

  • Concept of System profile, which allows you to disable features you are not using for example BAM, BRE, EDI etc.

  • And all the usual stuff like Usability improvements, Performance improvements, bug fixes etc.

More information on a couple of these features can be found on earlier blog posts:
BizTalk360 version 7.8 released – Advanced Process Monitoring
BizTalk360 version 7.8 released – EDI reporting, System Profile and User Profile

Don’t hesitate to contact Cnext for any questions or help implementing this new version. As an official BizTalk360 partner and having 2 Product specialist, Cnext would be glad to help you out.

BizTalk360 installation failed: “error status: 1603”

Recently we got a client who was unable to complete the installation of BizTalk360. Although all checks indicated  the prerequisites were met, there was an issue on completing the installation wizard for some reason.

BT360-Prerequisites

In the first step they filled all info for creating the IIS virtual directory and application pool. But for some reason, when going to the next step it failed and stopped the installation process. So they couldn’t get past the first step of the installation.
Running the installation from a command prompt, and making sure an installation log got created (for details on how to create an installation log, have a look at http://www.advancedinstaller.com/user-guide/qa-log.html) reveiled a problem ‘ValidateAppPoolUserCredential failed’.

…..

Action 12:41:54: UpdatePropsWithSelectedWebSite.
Action start 12:41:54: UpdatePropsWithSelectedWebSite.
MSI (c) (84:24) [12:41:54:623]: Invoking remote custom action. DLL: C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Local\Temp\2\MSI64AE.tmp, Entrypoint: UpdatePropsWithSelectedWebSite
MSI (c) (84!98) [12:41:54:810]: PROPERTY CHANGE: Adding WEBSITE_DESCRIPTION property. Its value is ‘Default Web Site’.
MSI (c) (84!98) [12:41:54:810]: PROPERTY CHANGE: Adding WEBSITE_PORT property. Its value is ’80’.

MSI (c) (84!98) [12:41:54:810]: PROPERTY CHANGE: Adding WEBSITE_IP property. Its value is ‘*’.
Action ended 12:41:54: UpdatePropsWithSelectedWebSite. Return value 1.
MSI (c) (84:04) [12:41:54:841]: Doing action: ValidateAppPoolUserCredential
Action 12:41:54: ValidateAppPoolUserCredential.
Action start 12:41:54: ValidateAppPoolUserCredential.
MSI (c) (84:64) [12:41:54:841]: Invoking remote custom action. DLL: C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Local\Temp\2\MSI658A.tmp, Entrypoint: ValidateAppPoolUserCredential
Action ended 12:41:55: ValidateAppPoolUserCredential. Return value 3.
DEBUG: Error 2896: Executing action ValidateAppPoolUserCredential failed.
The installer has encountered an unexpected error installing this package. This may indicate a problem with this package. The error code is 2896. The arguments are: ValidateAppPoolUserCredential, ,
Action ended 12:41:55: WelcomeDlg. Return value 3.
MSI (c) (84:E4) [12:41:55:075]: Doing action: FatalError
Action 12:41:55: FatalError.
Action start 12:41:55: FatalError.
Action 12:41:55: FatalError. Dialog created
Action ended 12:41:59: FatalError. Return value 2.

….

While in the event viewer I found a record with following details:

Product: BizTalk360 — Installation failed.
Windows Installer installed the product. Product Name: BizTalk360. Product Version: 7.1.555.0. Product Language: 1033. Manufacturer: Kovai Ltd. Installation success or error status: 1603.

None of the error messages gave me an idea on what the actual problem would be.
Further investigation has showed me that there were still some role services and features missing… So I enabled following windows role service and features:

  • role services for Web server: IIS 6 compatibility
  • Feature: .NET framework 3.5.1

And that seemed to do the trick. I was able to get past the IIS virtual directory settings of the installation wizard and succesfully installed BizTalk360.

SQL query: hourly processed messages for BizTalk ports

One of my clients wanted to know how many messages were processed on a certain BizTalk port.
To show some statistics, I created a SQL query that lists a message count of the messages processed per hour for a certain Port. The SQL query will run against the BizTalk tracking database BizTalkDTAdb.

Here’s the SQL query I used:

use BizTalkDTAdb

SELECT top 200
      a.[Event/Direction],
      a.[Event/Port],
      CONVERT( VARCHAR(10), a.[Event/Timestamp], 111) as [date],
DATEPART(HOUR,a.[Event/Timestamp]) as [Hour],
COUNT(*) as [Count]
FROM [dbo].[dtav_MessageFacts] a
inner join dbo.btsv_Tracking_Parts b on a.[MessageInstance/InstanceID] = b.uidMessageID
WHERE
a.[Event/Port] =‘RP_SAM.Messaging_SamData_MPM’
AND a.[Event/Direction] =‘Receive’
AND a.[Event/Timestamp] >DATEADD(day,3,GETDATE())
GROUP BY  a.[Event/Port], CONVERT(VARCHAR(10), a.[Event/Timestamp], 111), DATEPART(HOUR,a.[Event/Timestamp]), a.[Event/Direction]
ORDER BY CONVERT(VARCHAR(10), a.[Event/Timestamp], 111), DATEPART(HOUR,a.[Event/Timestamp])

Using Fiddler for viewing exchanged messages with BizTalk

I was trying to view the SOAP messages and headers that were actually exchanged with a certain webservice.
To do so, I used Fiddler2… available from http://fiddler2.com/.

Fiddler2 will allow you to monitor traffic when using HTTP, SOAP or WCF ports in BizTalk. However, Fiddler will not trace any messages sent to endpoints by BizTalk by default as it does not use WinInet. To overcome this issue, you’ll need to configure a proxy to allow Fiddler to intercept the messages.
Note that these proxy settings will need to be removed when Fiddler is not running. Because otherwise all traffic through this proxy will not be received by anything.

In the send port of BizTalk go to the Configuration settings. Open the tab ‘Proxy’ to configure the necessary settings. Now you should change following settings:

  • Server: 127.0.0.1
  • Port: 8888

ProxySettingsInBTS

That’s is all you need to do. Now open fiddler2 and process a message.
If all is configured correctly, you should see the exchanged messages coming through fiddler.
Fiddler

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