Introducing BizTalk360 Version 8.1 – (Logic Apps, API Apps, Service Bus, MSMQ, New Relic)

September 14, 2016

BizTalk360 Version 8.1

Back in Feb 2016, we released our major overhauled version “BizTalk360 v8.0” with the introduction of “One Platform”, a single platform for Operations, Monitoring and Analytics of Microsoft BizTalk Server.  The major investment we made in 8.0 (about 14 months) in terms of user interface/navigation structure and back end work is helping us now to bring more new features into the product in a systematic way. Today we are delighted to announce the availability of BizTalk360 version 8.1, with the introduction of  new features, enhancements, bug fixes and the complete overhaul to our “BizTalk360 Managed Services” portal.

New Features in BizTalk360 version 8.1

  • Azure Services Monitoring (Logic Apps, API Apps)
  • Queue Monitoring (MSMQ, Azure Service Bus)
  • Advanced Web Endpoints Monitoring
  • New Relic Marketplace Integration
  • In-built BizTalk360 Troubleshooter
  • BizTalk360 Managed Services (overhauled)

Azure Services Monitoring (Logic Apps, API Apps)

We are seeing the emergence of hybrid integration (On-premise + Cloud) scenarios coming to the main stream. Majority of the BizTalk Server customers are either planning or already using some of the related cloud technologies like Azure Logic Apps and API Apps as an extension to their existing BizTalk integration solutions. As a validation to this statement, during INTEGRATE 2016 event, while announcing BizTalk Server 2016, the product group demonstrated the introduction of Azure Logic Apps adapter.

We wanted to provide a unified monitoring experience for customers who are using both on-premise (BizTalk) and Cloud (Logic Apps, API apps) solutions within a single place. There are numerous use cases where the on-premise integration extends to the cloud and you wanted to monitor them as a single unit. If anything fails in the cloud (say for example, a core Logic App or API App is not running), you wanted to get alerted. That’s exactly what we have achieved in BizTalk360 version 8.1 release. We focused a lot on user experience. For example: When you point to API App for monitoring, BizTalk360 tries to understand the swagger definition and shows you all the operations available in the API.

In the future, we will be adding support for other related Azure technologies like Stream Analytics Jobs, Web Jobs etc. The below screenshot shows how you can configure monitoring of Azure API apps using BizTalk360 version 8.1.

BizTalk360 Monitoring Azure API Apps

Queue Monitoring (MSMQ, Azure Service Bus)

In majority of the integration solutions, Queues will form the heart of the system. Typically queues will be used for any reliable store and process scenarios. Use cases include taking orders from the web directly and storing it in a queue for later processing by downstream systems via BizTalk. MSQM, IBM MQSeries, Azure Service Bus Queues are some of the commonly used queuing technologies along with BizTalk. In BizTalk360 version 8.1, we are introducing support to monitor MSMQ and Azure Service Bus Queues. For MSMQ, you’ll be able to monitor queue size, active count, journal count, and dead letter count.  For Azure Service Bus Queue, you’ll be able to monitor Queue Status, Queue Size, Messages Count, Active Messages Count, Schedule Messages Count, Dead Letter Messages Count, Transfer Messages Count and Transfer Dead Letter Messages Count.

In the future, we will be adding  support for IBM MQSeries. Azure Service Bus Queue monitoring configuration screen

biztalk360 Queue Monitoring

Advanced Web Endpoints monitoring

We had web endpoint monitoring (ability to monitor any HTTP based URL’s) for very long time in BizTalk360, right from 6.x. In fact, this is one of the key monitoring component used by a lot of our customers. They monitor various end points like Dynamics CRM, underlying legacy web services, modern REST services etc. In past couple of years, we have received numerous feedback related to the web endpoint monitoring capability enhancements and in BizTalk360 version 8.1, we covered pretty much everything that’s been asked for.

In the previous versions, customers were able to monitor only HTTP URL for GET and response status code.  However, in the new advanced version, you have the ability to configure HTTP GET and POST requests, you can choose the version of HTTP, add query string parameters, post some data on POST, and add HTTP headers. On the response side when validating, in addition to HTTP status check, you can now verify specific content in the response. If your payload is XML/JSON, then you have a bit more control of setting XML/JSON Xpath’s to look for specific values. Now you can use proxy settings in the configuration if required, you can configure authentication mechanism like BASIC.

Overall, you should able to pretty much do any kind of monitoring required for your HTTP based endpoints using the advanced web endpoints monitoring capabilities in BizTalk360 version 8.1. You can see the detailed description of advanced web endpoints monitoring here in the TechNet wiki BizTalk Server: How to monitor HTTP, SOAP and REST web services endpoints.

Advanced web endpoints monitoring request and response verification configuration screen shots.

BizTalk360 - Advanced Web Endpoints monitoring

New Relic Integration

We often get to see quite a few of our large scale customers utilizing modern SaaS-based Application Monitoring/Analytics platforms like New Relic, AppDynamics etc., for their global enterprise analytics/monitoring requirements. But these platforms have pretty much zero footprints when it comes to BizTalk Server. In BizTalk360 version 8.1, customers can easily enable BizTalk360 to transmit BizTalk Server analytics data to the New Relic platform. We also built a lot of custom dashboards within New Relic for you to visualize the data we are transmitting. You can see the details about BizTalk360 in New Relic marketplace.

BizTalk360 - NewRelic Integration

In-built BizTalk360 Troubleshooter

We introduced a standalone version of BizTalk360 Troubleshooter (WinForms application) a long time ago. This has been one of our core tools when it comes to BizTalk360 support. Whenever a support ticket is raised, we normally ask customers to run the BizTalk360 troubleshooter tool and send us the details. In BizTalk360 version 8.1, we deeply integrated troubleshooter within BizTalk360. We also enhanced the capabilities so that it becomes much easier to troubleshoot any issues. You can also easily download the analysis report and email it to us.

In-built BizTalk360 Trouble shooter

BizTalk360 Managed Services improvement

BizTalk360 Managed Service offering is an add-on service on top of BizTalk360 mainly used by consulting companies. It allows them to manage and monitor multiple customer BizTalk environments via our Cloud based managed services portal. We identified a number of improvements, stability & performance improvements over a period and we completely revamped the managed services offering in BizTalk360 version 8.1. Customers who are using the managed service offering will see improved user interface and navigation.

Download Link, Licensing and Release Notes

Apart from all the major improvements highlighted above, we also made few minor enhancements to existing features and some of the high priority bugs raised by customers are packaged. You can view the full release notes of BizTalk360 version 8.1. If you are an existing customer, please send an email to support@biztalk360.com to receive the download link. As long as you have an active subscription, you can upgrade free of cost to BizTalk360 version 8.1. MSMQ features are available in the Gold tier, all Azure Services monitoring, New Relic integration are available in the Platinum tier, and advanced web endpoints monitoring is available for everyone right from the Bronze tier.

If you are new to BizTalk360, you can get 8.1 version and try it free for 14 days in your own environment.

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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