BizTalk Server monitoring using HP Operations Manager and BizTalk360

HP Operations manager (previously called as HP OpenView OVO) is an enterprise class monitoring solution used by organisations to monitor the health and performance of various IT assets.  It’s equivalent or competing product to Microsoft System Centre Operations manager.  There are few more players in this area but HPOM is one of the popular ones.

Can you monitor BizTalk Servers using HP Operations manager?

Most of the monitoring solutions work on the basis of some kind of plugin model. They will have a base product with very deep integration points and plugins to monitor various things. In SCOM (System centre operations manager) it’s called management packs and in HP Operations manager it’s called smart plug-ins. There are various HPOM smart plug-ins available for monitoring windows based applications/servers like Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, BizTalk etc..

HP Opertions Manager Smart Plugin for Windows Server

HPOM does not have a dedicated smart plug-in for BizTalk server.  BizTalk server monitoring is covered as part of their HP Operations Smart Plug-ins for Microsoft Servers. In our opinion the BizTalk server monitoring coverage is very minimal with HPOM.

In most cases you will need to hire a HP operations manager consultant to customize and build your own solution on top of HPOM. We ended up doing exactly same thing for one of our customers few years ago and in fact we have written a white paper published by Microsoft “Monitoring BizTalk Server with HP OpenView” on this along with fellow MVP Michael Stephenson and a HP OpenView consultant David Gerrish back in 2007. The state of the BizTalk HPOM smart plug-in has not improved any better until now.

Why did we integrate HP Operation Manager?

Basically couple of reasons

  • We wanted to give the richness of BizTalk360 – BizTalk server monitoring to HP Operation manager customers, and
  • We were kind of pushed to build this solution by one of the biggest financial organisations in UK.

Recently one of the biggest financial services customer in UK were migrating from Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 to 2010 and as part of the migration they wanted to address some of their existing challenges around administration, operations and monitoring. After various demos and POC’s they decided to use BizTalk360 for their BizTalk Server 2010 environments for administration, operations and monitoring.

But we were faced with one big challenge around monitoring console. As a large enterprise organisation, the company already uses HP Operations manager  (HPOM) as  their enterprise wide monitoring solution. They don’t want to provide any new consoles or change their processes of their monitoring teams. They wanted all of the BizTalk360 alerts to come directly to their HP Operation Manager. We took the challenge and worked very closely with them, looked at the possibilities and finally completed a first class integration with HPOM using the HPOM incident web services interface.

Configuring HP Operation Manager in BizTalk360

BizTalk360 integration with HP Operations manager is via their incident web services interface.  The HPOM Incident Web Service is available to download and install for supported versions of HPOM for UNIX. HPOM for Windows 8.10 and later installs the HPOM Incident Web Service by default with the management server.

You can get more information from HP Operations Manager Incident Web Service guide for installation instructions.

From BizTalk360 it’s very easy and straight forward to configure HPOM integration. You navigate to Settings screen and you can click on the “HP Operation Manager Settings” link as shown in the below picture.

BizTalk360 Settings Screen

For HPOM – BizTalk360 integration there are only 3 key pieces of information required

  1. The incident web service URL
  2. Username and
  3. Password

You can also add some optional items in the configuration which will be added as custom attributes to the message transmitted to HPOM. It may be useful to add certain details like environment name, application name etc. as shown below.

BizTalk360 Settings Screen - Monitoring and Notification

Once the details are entered you can click on the verify button which will fire a test message to HPOM as shown below and will update the BizTalk360 UI with the incident ID returned by HPOM.

HP Operations Manager Console

From the above screen you can see a sample warning test message is displayed in the console showing the application name as “BizTalk360″, node from which the test message was originated and the sample text message showing “BizTalk360 Generated Warning”. When you double click on the test alert in HPOM, you can navigate to the Custom Message Attributes tab and see more details we added in the BizTalk360 UI.

HP Operations Manager - Message Properties

Sending Notifications to HP Operations Manager

Once you have successfully configured HPOM as explained in previous steps, then sending notification (receive locations disabled, send ports stopped, host instances stopped etc.) to HPOM is very simple. When you are creating threshold alarms in BizTalk360, under Advanced Settings section you will see the option called “Send Notifications to HP Operations Manager” as shown in the below picture. Flicking that switch is all it required to take complete advantage of BizTalk360’s rich monitoring capabilities of Microsoft BizTalk server and send notifications directly to your HPOM consoles. Your monitoring team can just continue their monitoring with HPOM consoles instead of adapting to a new processes.

BizTalk360 Alert Configuration

The following screen shot shows the alerts coming in HPOM consoles, when you open the alerts you can see detailed description of the issues embedded in the alert.

HP Operations Manager - Console

HP Operations Manager - Message Properties

Disabling notifications to HP Operation Manager

In some scenarios you may want to temporarily stop either complete monitoring or just disable alerts going to HP Operations manager. BizTalk360 provides few options to disable alerts.

  • Stopping monitoring for predefined time
  • Stopping specific Alarm
  • Stopping alerts going specifically to HP Operations Manager

The following three screen shots show the above three options

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About Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

  • Leonid Ganeline

    Hi Saravana,
    What about a similar integration with Microsoft Operations Manager?

    • http://www.facebook.com/saravanamv Saravana Kumar

      If someone commits for such requirement we probably will do it one day. We got indirect integration with SCOM with the new release. A notification can be sent to Event Viewer with specific EventId, SCOM can be configured to pick up those events and display it in the console. The same technique can be used for other monitoring platforms as well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pradeepkumar.earla Pradeep Kumar Earla

        Saravana, this is exactly how SCOM works today