Introducing BizTalk360 Cloud – A cloud based BizTalk Server monitoring solution

October 4, 2016

BizTalk360 Cloud

Today, we are super excited to announce BizTalk360 Cloud — a simple cloud-based BizTalk Server monitoring solution. BizTalk360 Cloud is designed in a way that you do not need any infrastructure on-premise. All you have to do is install a lightweight agent (around 4 MB) and configure monitoring for your BizTalk environment via our cloud portal. We are also giving a lifetime free account of BizTalk360 Cloud for you to get started.

BizTalk360 Cloud - BizTalk Server Monitoring (multi environment dashboard)

The story behind BizTalk360 Cloud

We started building the original BizTalk360 (let’s call it PRO for clarity) back in 2010. In the 5+ years of development with over 60 releases, we have added significant features to BizTalk360 that covers the breadth of operations, monitoring and analytics capabilities for BizTalk Server. In the last year or so, we started seeing scenarios where some customers do not need all the capabilities of BizTalk360 PRO, and there are some unique scenarios where a cloud based solution is appropriate. Examples include:

  • BizTalk Standard Edition customers with very limited traffic
  • Simple monitoring for non-critical BizTalk environments like UAT, Staging, Performance etc.
  • Getting a consolidated view of multiple BizTalk Environments in a single place
  • Consulting companies managing BizTalk monitoring for different customers
  • Quick access (read-only) to different BizTalk Environments across different geographic regions

BizTalk360 Cloud addresses all the above requirement in a seamless way. It also comes with the user management where you can easily configure who can access which environment within a team.

Take a look at this short 5 minutes overview video that gives you an idea of the potential of BizTalk360 Cloud.

Lifetime free account

We wanted to provide a lifetime free account for all BizTalk Server customers. You can sign up for an account and start adding as many BizTalk environments as you want. The value proposition of the lifetime free account is you’ll be able to access all the BizTalk environments you have configured via our web portal from anywhere in the world. Example: You want to take a quick look at all the deployed applications, the artifacts like receive locations, send ports, orchestrations and host instances and make sure they are running.

In addition to complete read access to the environment, in the free account, we also provide you with the option to monitor 10 artifacts for free. You might have some really critical artifacts like an FTP receive location or a core BizTalk Host Instance. These critical artifacts can be configured for monitoring using your free credits. You will start getting alerts automatically when things go wrong.

You’ll only start paying once you are happy with the product and if you want to monitor more than 10 artifacts. We feel that the free account will give a tremendous value for each BizTalk customer.

Pricing

One of the key objectives for us with BizTalk360 Cloud is to keep everything simple, that includes pricing as well. The pricing is determined by only one factor – the number of artifacts you wish to monitor. An artifact is any item that you want to monitor, which includes Receive Location, Send Port, Orchestration, Host Instance.

The below table shows you the current pricing of BizTalk360 Cloud (per month pricing, 20% discount is available for annual commitment).

Number of artifacts to Monitor 10 50 200 500
Price (per month) FREE $60 $240 $600

One of the great advantages of the pricing is that the number of artifacts you purchased can be shared across multiple environments. Example: If you have purchased 50 artifacts monitoring pack at $60/month, you can use that to monitor one or more environments, say, 10 artifacts in the first environment, 20 in second environment etc.

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Self Service Payment

In addition to keeping the pricing simple, we also wanted to make the payment option as simple as possible. BizTalk360 Cloud comes with fully integrated credit card payment option. Customers can simply use their credit card to purchase any paid plans. You are in full control — you can downgrade or upgrade your pricing plan at any time just by logging into the application without speaking to anyone in our sales team. The payment is handled by external payment gateway providers (full PCI compliant providers). We do not store any credit card information on our servers.

What can I monitor in the v1 of BizTalk360 Cloud?

The focus for BizTalk360 Cloud v1 is to create the infrastructure required for a cloud-based monitoring platform and to focus on the absolute core artifacts that require monitoring for any BizTalk solutions. We focused on things like reliability and scalability of the platform, payment solutions like credit card processing, ability to upgrade remote agents etc. Basically, a lot of effort has gone in building the platform. In terms of monitoring, in V1 you can monitor the state of BizTalk receive locations, send ports, orchestrations and host instances. The product comes with a rich monitoring dashboard and email notification channel. We also have user access management at the environment level.

What data do we transmit to the cloud?

While we were doing private testing with some of our customers, one of the important question that was raised was “What data do you transmit to the cloud?”. We can understand the concern customers might have if an agent is constantly transmitting something from their live environments. Just to clarify, the agent only transmits the technical metadata of your BizTalk Environment, that will include the following items:

  • Deployed BizTalk Application names and status
  • Receive Locations names and status
  • Send Ports names and status
  • Orchestrations names and status
  • Host Instances names and status

In addition, we also transmit some basic information about the environment like management database and instance names. We do not transmit anything more than these. We do not probe into any instance or message details in your BizTalk environment.

If this is a big concern for your team, then “BizTalk360 Cloud” may not be the right solution for you. You should consider using the full BizTalk360 PRO version where the product is installed on your own servers and no data gets transmitted outside your network.

What’s the technology behind BizTalk360 Cloud?

The entire BizTalk360 Cloud is hosted on Microsoft Azure. Behind the scenes, we use some exciting new technologies. We will probably take an in-depth look at the technology involved in one of the Integration Monday sessions in the future. We can quickly give you an overview at very high level how things work behind the scene:

  • You signup for an account and log into the BizTalk360 Cloud application
  • You create an environment in the BizTalk360 Cloud which gives an unique license key
  • You download and install the agent in any of your BizTalk Environment and use the license key
  • The agent will collect some key metadata (explained earlier) and transmit it to Azure Event Hub. We use the stand Event Hub SDK on the agent to transmit the data.
  • On the cloud, we have scalable Azure Event Hub processors, which pulls the data from Event Hub and pushes it into corresponding SQL server databases for the customer
  • Each customer data is stored in a dedicated SQL database. The data is not shared between customers.
  • We use SQL Elastic pool to keep all the customer and master database together and scale it as a single unit
  • We also have a dedicated monitoring service that gets provisioned for each customer. The monitoring services run as WebJobs.
  • The front-end BizTalk360 Cloud is a standard single page web application (SPA) built using some modern JavaScript stack
  • The front-end web applications are hosted in Azure as App Services with multiple instances for high availability

In addition, we also have few backend WebJobs taking care of sending emails, purging historical data, pre-provisioning resources on demand, handling payment events such as credit card expiry, failure of subscription payment etc. We also built our own internal tools to keep an eye on the health of the platform, ability to upgrade monitoring services across all customers, ability to upgrade DB changes across multiple customer databases etc.

As you can see, a substantial investment has been done in creating a highly scalable and reliable platform. It took us around 12 months to get to V1.

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What’s the road map for BizTalk360 Cloud?

The primary goal of BizTalk360 Cloud is to keep it as a very simple lightweight monitoring solution. In the upcoming releases, we will be adding more artifacts type like NT Services, Event Logs, CPU, Memory, Disk, Web Endpoints, etc. We are also very clear we will not pass any sensitive information from on-premise BizTalk infrastructures to the cloud.

If customers require advanced middleware monitoring options like Message Box, Tracking data monitoring, BAM monitoring, ESB/EDI data monitoring, auto correction etc then they will need to look into the full version of BizTalk360 (PRO).

Ready to start exploring? Open a free account and try out BizTalk360 Cloud.

You can also take a look at our product documentation, which goes bit more in detail about various features.

Author: 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.

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