Welcome back to a new post about BizTalk Server Tips and Tricks! And this time I would like to talk about a very important topic for BizTalk Administrators: BizTalk MarkLog tables.
All the BizTalk databases that are backed up by the ‘Backup BizTalk Server’ job, which means all the default BizTalk databases (SSODB, BizTalkRuleEngineDb, BizTalkMsgBoxDb, BizTalkMgmtDb, BizTalkDTADb, BAMPrimaryImport, BAMArchive and BAMAlertsApplication) with the exception of the BAM Star Schema database (BAMStarSchema), have a table called “MarkLog”.
The only thing that these tables store, is a timestamp in a string format (Log_<yyyy>_<MM>_<dd>_<HH>_<mm>_<ss>_<fff>) that tells you each time the ‘Backup BizTalk Server’ job performs a backup of the transaction log of that specific database.
Note: This task is performed by the 3rd step (MarkAndBackUpLog) of the ‘Backup BizTalk Server’ job
So, each time this step runs, by default each 15 minutes, a string is stored in that table. Unfortunately, BizTalk has no out-of-the-box possibilities to clean up these tables. The normal procedure is to run the old Terminator tool to clean it up, which nowadays is integrated with the BizTalk Health Monitor.
BizTalk Server Tips and Tricks: How to properly maintain BizTalk MarkLog tables
Both of them (they are actually the same tool) has two major problems:
- Using these tools, it means that we need to stop our BizTalk Server environment, i.e., downtime for a few minutes of our entire integration platform.
- If we look at the description of the task, these tools execute: “PURGE Marklog table”, it says that this operation calls a SQL script that cleans up everything in Marklog table – and maybe this is not the best practices in terms of maintaining your environment.
This information is important and useful for the BizTalk Administration team, for example, to keep an eye on the backup/log shipping history records to see whether the backup is working correctly and data/logs are restored correctly in the standby environment.
As a best practice: you should respect the parameter “@DaysToKeep” present in the 4th step (Clear Backup History) of the ‘Backup BizTalk Server’ job, i.e., clean everything on that table older than the days specified in the “@DaysToKeep” parameter.
How to properly maintain BizTalk MarkLog tables?
To address and solve this problem, I end up creating a custom stored procedure in the BizTalk Management database (BizTalkMgmtDb) that I called “sp_DeleteBackupHistoryAndMarkLogsHistory”. This stored procedure is basically a copy of the existing “sp_DeleteBackupHistory” stored procedure with extended functionalities:
- It iterates all the databases that are backed up by BizTalk and delete all data older than the days define in @DaysToKeep parameter
/* Create a cursor */ DECLARE BackupDB_Cursor insensitive cursor for SELECT ServerName, DatabaseName FROM admv_BackupDatabases ORDER BY ServerName open BackupDB_Cursor fetch next from BackupDB_Cursor into @BackupServer, @BackupDB WHILE (@@FETCH_STATUS = 0) BEGIN -- Get the proper server name EXEC @ret = sp_GetRemoteServerName @ServerName = @BackupServer, @DatabaseName = @BackupDB, @RemoteServerName = @RealServerName OUTPUT IF @@ERROR <> 0 OR @ret IS NULL OR @ret <> 0 OR @RealServerName IS NULL OR len(@RealServerName) <= 0 BEGIN SET @errorDesc = replace( @localized_string_sp_DeleteBackupHistoryAndMarkLogsHistory_Failed_sp_GetRemoteServerNameFailed, N'%s', @BackupServer ) RAISERROR( @errorDesc, 16, -1 ) GOTO FAILED END /* Create the delete statement */ select @tsql = 'DELETE FROM [' + @RealServerName + '].[' + @BackupDB + '].[dbo].[MarkLog] WHERE DATEDIFF(day, REPLACE(SUBSTRING([MarkName],5,10),''_'',''''), GETDATE()) > ' + cast(@DaysToKeep as nvarchar(5) ) /* Execute the delete statement */ EXEC (@tsql) SELECT @error = @@ERROR IF @error <> 0 or @ret IS NULL or @ret <> 0 BEGIN SELECT @errorDesc = replace( @localized_string_sp_DeleteBackupHistoryAndMarkLogsHistory_Failed_Deleting_Mark, '%s', @BackupServer + N'.' + @BackupDB ) GOTO FAILED END /* Get the next DB. */ fetch next from BackupDB_Cursor into @BackupServer, @BackupDB END close BackupDB_Cursor deallocate BackupDB_Cursor
Steps required to install/configure:
- Download the SQL script from BizTalk Server: Cleaning MarkLog Tables According to Some of the Best Practices and create the sp_DeleteBackupHistoryAndMarkLogsHistory stored procedure against to BizTalk Management database (BizTalkMgmtDb)
- Change and configure the 4th step of the ‘Backup BizTalk Server’ job – “Clear Backup History” to call this new stored procedure: sp_DeleteBackupHistoryAndMarkLogsHistory
Note: Do not change or delete the “sp_DeleteBackupHistory”!
Credits: Tord Glad Nordahl, Rui Romano, Pedro Sousa, Mikael Sand and me
Stay tuned for new BizTalk Server Tips and Tricks!