Must have Tool for BizTalk : Introduction to BizTalk 360

BizTalk 360 was announced for public technology preview yesterday, you can read more about it here http://www.biztalk360.com

Why BizTalk 360?

There is one common problem across all the BizTalk customers. i.e there is no proper support tool for BizTalk. It’s a reality people are more passionate and interested in designing, architecting and developing the software and not enough attention is given to the afterlife of that application once it reaches production. It’s very important to focus on a production application, which represents customers business and credibility. BizTalk 360 is all about managing that application that’s in production. There are some of common problems most of the BizTalk server customers face, BizTalk 360 tries to address them

Introduction

BizTalk 360 is a web based rich internet application built using Microsoft Silverlight and WCF. Web based application means, you can centrally deploy it and no necessity to install all the BizTalk administration components on individual support persons desktop. Also, it comes with rich authorization module, which allows to give fine grained authorization to support people. No more remote desktop (RDP) access to all production servers, restrict users to only few BizTalk applications, or even provide only read-only access in the environment. The choice is yours.

Let’s see some brief introduction to some of the key modules of BizTalk 360

BizTalk Environment Dashboard

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This is the home screen of the application, as soon as you access an environment, you are presented with the environment dashboard showing various part of the system and their health status.It shows the number of applications, number of hosts, number of message boxes etc. in the environment. The green and red represents their respective health status, red is error, green is healthy. If there are any suspended instances in the environment, a red bar will appear with the count of total suspended instances and the last suspended date time.

BizTalk Application Dashboard

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BizTalk application dashboard provides a single view into a particular BizTalk applications. The artifact headings are colour coded to represent their overall health. If there are suspended instances it will be highlighted on the dashboard.

Diagrammatic representation of Send Port

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A picture is worth more than 1000 words, BizTalk 360 come with diagrammatic representation of send ports (only send ports for V1, road map to include other artifacts like orchestrations, receive ports etc)

Artifact Properties

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BizTalk 360 allows to view the properties of all the BizTalk artifacts like send port, receive port, receive location, map, schema, application, pipeline, etc

Governance/Auditing

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Lack of tooling around “who did what” in the system is the number one challenge. In a production application it’s vital to log this information for various reason. BizTalk 360 handles it seamlessly and provides views out of the box to see this information in your fingertips.

User Access Policy

If you are running one of your “AAA” rated application on BizTalk server, you want to control the user access in a fine grained way. You don’t want one of your junior analyst supporting the application to have administrator rights on production environment. You want to control things like

  • Giving only read-only access to certain people,
  • Blocking certain areas of the application like, not allowing user to suspend/terminate instances,
  • Restricting users to only few BizTalk applications etc.
  • Restricting users from starting/stopping application artifacts like (send port, receive location, orchestration) and host instances etc.

BizTalk 360 takes care of all these requirements seamlessly with a full admin panel to control it, and also audit it.

Topology

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BizTalk server is targeted for enterprise customers, so a typical BizTalk environment will have at least 4 servers (2 BizTalk, 2 SQL) in most of the cases
to support high availability. It’s vital to know your topology any time without digging through out of sync Visio documents. BizTalk 360 provides a graphical view of your topology dynamically generated from your environment.

Advanced Event Viewer

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One of the other problem application support people face maintaining BizTalk production environment is probing through various event logs across multiple servers in the group to diagnose problems. This is both time consuming and also a security risk allowing support people to have full access to the servers. BizTalk 360 tackles this issue by providing a centralized event viewer functionality. It understand the topology of the environment, pulls all the event log information and presents it in a central place. The query builder is powerful as shown in the above picture.

Business Activity Monitoring portal

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BizTalk 360 also comes with a simple BAM portal, which allows users to get to BAM data from a single UI. Users can search for activities, see permission and activities time window. BizTalk 360 utilizes the security mechanism provided by BizTalk BAM infrastructure, hence this will nicely complement your existing BAM investment.

Host Container View

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BizTalk host is a logical container for various BizTalk artifacts. When it comes to scalability, administrator normally create multiple host and host instances and deploy them in various BizTalk servers.  BizTalk 360 provides a Host Dashboard, which allow users to see what’s running inside the host (host instance) at any point in time. From the above picture you can see it list the orchestrations, send port and receive ports that run inside a particular host.

 

BizTalk Server Characteristics

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In a typical production BizTalk environment you’ll have 2 or more servers performing various activities like sending, receive, processing and tracking based on your requirements.

BizTalk 360′s BizTalk Server dashboard provides the characteristics of that server and it clearly shows “how the server is been utilized”. Apart from this the server dash board shows various other things like host instances running in the server, event viewer data, whether its web server etc.

 

Advanced Windows User/Role based Authorization

Define your own NT roles and dictate how user can access the environment.

 
Restrict users/groups to limited applications

Restrict users/groups to limited applications

You may want to restrict users to certain application(s) in a shared environment.

 
Restricted view for certain users/groups

Restricted view for certain users/groups

Make the environment look as simple as what’s shown here. Just couple of applications with Topology. It’s fully customizable.

 
Read-Only Access

Read-Only Access

Note there are no buttons to start/stop.. anything in the Send port

 
Super User View

Super User View

Of course super users and user with correct rights can start/stop…

 
Restriction to resume/terminate instances

Restriction to resume/terminate instances

You don’t want all of your support staff to resume/terminate instances. What happens if someone termintated that $1million worth message.

 
Restricted access to messages

Restricted access to messages

Are you dealing with confidential messages (Health record, multi million $$ deals etc), you don’t want all your support people to view it right. Then please restrict it!

 

Query Service Instances

 
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Rich Query Builder

Build your complex queries using the user friendly query builder.

 
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Query Results (with KB)

See the service instance details with the ability to resume/terminate the instance. A knowledgebase article can be attached any service instance with error code.

 

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Service Instance Details

Service Detail window will show the complete details of the service instance like error information, messages referenced etc.

 
 
 
Prepackaged Queries

Prepackaged Queries

BizTalk360 comes with a set of useful admin queries out of the box. We will be adding more queries in the upcoming releases.

 
Add/Modify/View/Delete Custom SQL Queries

Add/Modify/View/Delete Custom SQL Queries

Administrators normally keep a bunch of SQL queries in their toolbelt for some of their regular operations. With BizTalk360 they are managed completely within the UI. Only SELECT statements are allowed; the system will reject any other statements like INSERT or UPDATE

 
Execute SQL Queries within the UI

Execute SQL Queries within the UI

Users don’t need to have access to external SQL tools like SQL Management Studio to run the custom queries. They can execute and see results directly from within the UI. This avoids giving rights for the users to various SQL servers.

 
Permission

Permission

Super-user at the flick of a button can either grant or revoke permissions to manage / execute custom SQL queries for users.

   
 
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