Well, it’s that time of the year to take a step back and look at the milestones we have achieved over the last 12 months and the lessons learnt over this period. It was a great year for BizTalk360 as a company where we not only focused on improving our flagship product BizTalk360 but also took the next step of introducing two new SaaS based product lines – BizTalk360 Cloud and ServiceBus360. This post comes as a continuation to our year end recap blog posts written over the last 5 years (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011) since starting BizTalk360.
Here are key items we are going to cover in the recap
- BizTalk360 – Major Releases (8.0, 8.1 and 8.2)
- BizTalk360 – Azure Easy Installer, Azure Marketplace
- BizTalk360 – Chrome Extension
- Revamped website, blog and documentation portal
- New Products Launch – BizTalk360 Cloud & ServiceBus360
- Events – INTEGRATE 2016, INTEGRATION Day, TechMeet360
- Integration Monday – over 40 episodes
- Company and Customers Growth
- What’s in store for 2017?
BizTalk360 Major Releases (8.0, 8.1, 8.2)
In 2016 we released 3 major versions of BizTalk360 – 8.0, 8.1 and 8.2 (with few minor patch releases addressing critical bugs). Let’s take a brief look at some of the key features that’s been shipped this year in each of these releases.
BizTalk360 Version 8.0
One Platform. Operations, Monitoring, Analytics Software for Microsoft BizTalk Server
We introduced Operations Dashboard in 8.0 to make sure BizTalk administrators feel pumped up when working with BizTalk server. We added the capability for users to build and customize their own dashboard(s) in the form of widgets. Users also have the capability to bring information from external sources such as CRM etc. into the dashboard.
Introduction of BizTalk360 Analytics
In 8.0, we introduced “BizTalk360 Analytics” – a capability that will allow customers not to treat their BizTalk server as one big black box. With BizTalk360 Analytics, you can visualize the key performance metrics in your BizTalk environment, understand the different messaging patterns, and construct your own dashboards with your desired metrics like transaction volume, failure rate etc.
Web based Business Rules Composer
We addressed one of the major gap in BizTalk Server Rules Engine by bringing a web based Business Rules Composer, which allows the business users to directly create, edit and deploy new rules in to production systems (with controlled security and governance) without the need of a BizTalk Developer.
Custom Notification Channels
In 8.0, we introduced a brand new framework/SDK called custom notification channels, which allows the users to create any custom notification channels and trigger alerts in case of any threshold violation. In addition to our existing notification channels (email, SMS and HP Operations Manager) we added two more out of the box notification channels – Slack and ServiceNow in 8.0.
Messaging Patterns Visualizer
As part of our Analytics capabilities, we introduced this new feature called Messaging Patterns Visualizer — the ability to visualize all the different messaging patterns that occurs in your BizTalk environment (without any external development). We overlay with some interesting facts like message count, average latency etc.
We exposed over 350+ REST APIs using which customers can retrieve information from their BizTalk environments. We have seen customers/partners bringing some innovative solutions using this exposed API’s, example How to create BizTalk360 Alerts during deployment with BTDF.
BizTalk360 Version 8.1
We released BizTalk360 version 8.1 in September with new features, and enhancements.
Azure Services Monitoring (Logic Apps, API Apps)
This is our first step in our long term vision of providing one unified tool to manage/monitor both on-premise BizTalk environments and the cloud counter part from a single place when it comes to integration. Customers who are using on-premise BizTalk server are slowly taking advantage of cloud based offering like Logic Apps and API Apps, so it makes sense for us to extend our monitoring and operating capabilities to Azure. In 8.1, we introduced Azure Logic Apps and API Apps monitoring.
MSMQ and Azure Service Bus Queue Monitoring
In 8.1, we added capability to monitor MSMQ and Azure Service Bus Queues. Customers can monitor various queue characteristics like the queue size, active count, dead letter count, journal count, queue status, schedule messages count, transfer messages count, transfer dead letter messages count etc.
Advanced Web Endpoints Monitoring
In order to keep up with the increasing demand of REST based API integration, we completely revamped our web end point monitoring capability. We included capabilities like POST support, query string, HTTP headers, XML/JSON, Response message validations, response time etc.
New Relic Integration
We provided support to view/transmit BizTalk Server Analytics information in the New Relic platform. BizTalk360 is also made available as a plugin in the New Relic marketplace. You just have to add your New Relic license key in BizTalk360 to connect BizTalk360 with New Relic.
Integrated BizTalk360 Troubleshooter
Troubleshooter is our key tool when it comes to support. It has various built in rules to verify/validate the BizTalk360 Installation. In version 8.1, we have integrated the troubleshooter tool within BizTalk360 to improve our support process.
ESB Exceptions for Itinerary Headers
In version 8.1, we added the capability for users to be able to resubmit ESB messages with itinerary headers. Users can also resubmit messages that were previously submitted for processing.
Managed Services Improvement
We pretty much revamped the managed services offering with a number of performance and stability improvements. If you are already using our managed services offering, you will get the feel of the new look.
BizTalk360 Version 8.2
We released BizTalk360 version 8.2 in October. The main focus of this release was all about performance improvements. We fine tuned performance across the board (front-end, back-end and database). In addition, we also introduced Advanced Tracking Manager in this release.
Advanced Tracking Manager
In the previous versions, Tracking Manager was only a read-only view of all the tracking configuration information at the application level. In 8.2, we improved the functionality to be able to enable/disable tracking on the artifacts like Receive Ports, Send Ports, Orchestrations, Schemas, Pipelines, and Policies of the BizTalk Application directly from the BizTalk360 UI.
BizTalk360 in Azure
BizTalk360 Azure Easy Installer
For customers who are using BizTalk Server in Azure, we wanted to make it super simple to install and configure BizTalk360. In order to achieve this we created “BizTalk360 Azure Easy Installer ”, a one line PowerShell command that will download, install and configure BizTalk360 in less than 15 minutes with zero touch.
BizTalk360 in Azure Marketplace
BizTalk360 is now available in Azure Marketplace. All you need to do is search for “BizTalk360” within Microsoft Azure Portal and simply follow the onscreen instructions and you will have a brand new BizTalk360 machine provisioned in just minutes. Read this blog post to understand why we invested in taking BizTalk360 to the Azure Marketplace.
BizTalk360 Chrome Extension
At BizTalk360, we always look for ways to improve the productivity of our customers. We launched a handy Google Chrome extension for BizTalk360, with this add-on, you can configure and access multiple BizTalk360 environments and seamlessly search and access blogs and documentation portal all in one place.
Revamped website, blog and documentation
We also put a great deal of effort in 2016 in revamping our website, the blog and documentation portal. Often times these areas are over looked and do not get the attention required. We added 100’s of new documents and important improvements like support for multi versions.
New Products Launch
In 2016, we launched two new product lines (in addition to BizTalk360) – BizTalk360 Cloud and ServiceBus360. Both these new products are SaaS-based solutions. I’ll give you a brief highlight of the products –
BizTalk360 Cloud is a simple cloud-based BizTalk Server monitoring solution. It’s designed in such a way that you don’t need any specific infrastructure to get started with the product. You have to install a light weight agent, configure monitoring for your BizTalk environment via the BizTalk360 Cloud portal. That’s it! You can get started with using BizTalk360 Cloud for free with our lifetime free account.
One Platform. Operations, Monitoring, and Analytics* software for Microsoft Azure Service Bus
We made the General Availability announcement of our third product ServiceBus360 in December. ServiceBus360 was launched at the MVP Summit in Redmond by Dan Rosanova and Clemens Vasters from the Microsoft Product Group. ServiceBus360 is a simple platform to manage your Azure Service Bus namespaces. Currently, the version 1.0 of the product offers operations and monitoring capabilities for Azure Service Bus resources such as Queues, Topics, Relays, and Event Hubs. You can get started with ServiceBus360 for free with our lifetime free plan.
INTEGRATE 2016 – London
We partnered with Microsoft and organized one of the biggest Integration focused event between May 11 – 13 with 24 speakers. The turnout for the event had staggering numbers – 380 attendees, 187 Companies from 22 different countries. For the very first time, we also arranged for Live Streaming of the event. You can watch all the videos from the event and download the presentations from here.
Integration Day Bengaluru
As a part of our TechMeet360 community initiative, we decided to host a one day Integration focused event in Bangalore (Bengaluru), India along with Microsoft. This was the first time such an event has been organized in India. You can download the presentations from the event here.
As most of our readers are aware, Michael Stephenson and I started Integration User Group a couple of years ago and managed to consistently bring a weekly webinar on interesting topics in Microsoft Integration Stack. This year we managed do about 40 new webinars. Take a look at all Integration Monday past events.
Company and Customers Growth
At the end of the day what matters is GROWTH. Growth solves all the pain points and keeps everyone motivated.
In terms of team size, we have grown from 35 employees in end of 2015 to 48 employees in the end of 2016. As a product company, our growth is not measured in terms of number of employees we add. However, it’s based on the number of customers we acquired and revenue we generated. In 2016, we increased our customer base roughly by 25%. We added about 120 brand new customers. In addition, we also had a lot of current customers expansion like more internal licenses, utilization for their other geographical/departments needs, and upgrade to platinum tiers. We received some awesome review feedback provided by our existing customers, you can view them here in G2 Crowd website.
What’s in store for 2017?
For 2017, we are going to be super focused. As the size of the team and products line up increases, it’s crucial to keep our focus sharp. At a very high level, we will continue to invest in BizTalk360, mainly in the direction of moving it as hybrid tool to manage, monitor and analyse both on-premise BizTalk and Azure Integration areas. Now that ServiceBus360 is out in the public and initial framework is done, we will focus on ramping up the engineering efforts in bringing new features. Our target is to release 1 new feature every week.
We already started planning for INTEGRATE 2017. Announcements related to this event will follow shortly. We are also going to get involved in Global Azure Bootcamp and Global Integration Bootcamp events. We have also sorted out the Integration Monday speaker line up for the first 4 months of 2017. We will continue ramping up India focused events like TechMeet360 to build awareness in Integration space.
All these product updates, events that we organized across the world in 2016 would not be possible without the support from my family, friends, employees, and our customers. At this juncture, as the year 2016 closes and a brand new year 2017 unfolds, I would like to thank each and everyone personally for being a part of this successful journey. I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2017.