BizTalk Application deployment with VSTS

Microsoft has just released BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1. More information on the Feature Pack, how different it is from the CU’s and SP’s can be found here in Saravana’s blog.

You can download the entire article as a PDF document.
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1.

One of the nice features this pack contains is the ability to deploy BizTalk applications from Visual Studio Team Services. To have this working, you need to do the following:

  • Install Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1
  • Configure Visual Studio Team Services
  • Install an Agent on your BizTalk Server
  • Create a BizTalk solution

Install Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1

Installation of Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1 is straight forward. Just download the bits from this website:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=55100

After downloading, you can install the package with elevated rights. During the installation, from time to time no screens will be visible as the installation consists of a couple of packages.

Configure Visual Studio Team Services

After installing the Feature Pack, we’ll configure Build definitions in Visual Studio Team Services. If you don’t have it already, create a new account. You’ll end up with a site like: https://<youraccount>.visualstudio.com

Next, navigate to
https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemname=ms-biztalk.deploy-biztalk-application

Extension

On this screen, click Install. This will install an extension to your VSTS site, which enables you to deploy BizTalk applications from VSTS.

Extension added
Now, you’ll create a Build definition in VSTS, which is based on Visual Studio. For now, it will be good enough to have a definition only for building the solution and to copy the built files to a drop location.

We’ll also create a Deploy definition, which will contain the task to deploy BizTalk applications.

Task catalog

Install an Agent on your BizTalk Server

To be able to perform deployments on your BizTalk Server, you need to install an agent. This agent must only become installed on one BizTalk Server.
For VSTS, you navigate to this URL to be able to download the agent software:
After downloading, you can install and configure the agent. Before installation and configuration, make sure that your system meets the requirements. Check these here:
During configuration, you need to provide a Personal Access Token, which you must create in VSTS. More information on how to create such a token, can be found here:
The agent can be run both interactive or as a service. For testing purposes the interactive mode should work fine, but later on you could switch to service mode. The latter will consist of a Windows NT service.
You can decide to use interactive or service mode while executing the run command. This command has to be executed after successful configuration.

Install Agent

The agent will also show up in VSTS.

Agent in VSTS
The green bar indicates that the agent is properly configured and running.

You can download the entire article as a PDF document.
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1.

Create a BizTalk solution

Now we have VSTS and the agent in place, we can concentrate on Visual Studio. Start Visual Studio as an Administrator and connect with VSTS. You can now add a new BizTalk solution, which will also contain a project for deployment.

Add New Project
When creating such a solution, note that you should change the .NET Framework version to 4.6.1, otherwise you won’t see the new BizTalk Server application project type, which we will use for deployment.
The new project contains a file called BizTalkServerInventory.json which is used by VSTS during deployment.

BizTalkServerInventory
After you have created a BizTalk application, you can build it, add the dlls together with the files in the BizTalkServerApplication1 project to a zip file. Check in the zip file and make sure the local repository is synced with VSTS. In VSTS, make sure that the BizTalk Deployment uses the just created zip file for deployment.

DeploymentDefinition
Finally, schedule a new build and the BizTalk application will be deployed on the BizTalk server.
DeploymentLog

Summary

BizTalk team’s first ever Application Life cycle Management feature will help us to perform automatic deployments in an improved and easy way.

You can download the entire article as a PDF document.
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1.
Author: Lex Hegt

Lex Hegt works in the IT sector for more than 25 years, mainly in roles as developer and administrator. He works with BizTalk since BizTalk Server 2004. Currently he is a Technical Lead at BizTalk360.

  • Jaco Becker

    Man, this is incredible!!

    • Lex Hegt

      Certainly a great step forward Jaco!

  • Vanessa Segovia

    can it be used also in on-premise environments?

    • Lex Hegt

      Yes Vanessa! VSTS communicates with the on-premise agent to deploy the applications on-premise!

      • Vanessa Segovia

        So cool, thanks.

  • Alex

    This sounds great but there’s something I must be misunderstanding. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that you have to build and check in the binaries. Is it not possible to check in just the project source and have VSTS build and deploy?

    • Praveen Srivastava

      You need not to check-in the binaries, you can check-in the project source only and create the build agent for continuous integration.

  • Sudhakar Vangeti

    How do you use this in a multi-server environment with out agent being installed on the servers? I just want to have one build server for all environments and deploy the code from there..
    This new feature sounds like, we need to install the VSTS agent on each server of each environment if you have multiple environments.

  • prasadraj

    Hi Experts,

    While creating release definition in VSTS I am getting below release error message.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c71b0e3ceec873c1f61c93ab99fac1366f21dc11b25c70fcba8a6643070dc057.png

  • prasadraj

    Hi Expert,
    I tried single project into the same solution for Automatically deploy BizTalk Server applications using Visual Studio Team Services it is working fine.
    when iam trying to multiple projects into the same solution for Automatically deploy BizTalk Server applications using Visual Studio Team Services throwing an below release error message.
    VSTS + BizTalk Server 2016 with Feature pack installed.
    While creating release definition in VSTS I am getting below release error message, please help me to error message. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d2f50637537be7689c00350c15946d233f29f2fe60327a1d265226d63e2baf2c.png

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