We are very excited to announce the addition of process monitoring capabilities to our forthcoming 5.0 release (expected: Oct 2012), solving another problem in the BizTalk puzzle.
What is process monitoring?
This is the name we derived ourselves, after looking at various alternatives like inactivity monitoring, silence monitoring, etc. Basically the idea behind process monitoring is simple, you are expecting certain amount of messages either via receive or to transmit, from and to in your BizTalk environment. If that doesn’t happen then there is a business implication and someone needs to be notified. That’s exactly what process monitoring is.
Let’s take a look at some example scenarios.
1. You trading partner sends you some files via FTP every day. If you receive the file, everything works smoothly. What happens if there is a problem on your partner end (ex: some firewall patch) and you didn’t receive any messages from them for couple of days. We in fact raised it as an issue and asked for product team to support it back in 2007. You can read the full story here. After 5 years we are coming with our own solution.
2. Similarly on the transmit/send side, you are supposed to send so many messages per hour, or per business day to your back end system like SAP or to your trading partner.
3. In a business sense you may wanted to keep a sales threshold, something like you expect to receive certain volume of messages in your system every business day from your trading partner.
BizTalk360 process monitoring is designed to help customers tackle the above scenarios seamlessly.
Setting Process Monitoring for Receive Locations
It’s going to be lot of pictures explaining the process, I believe pictures are worth more than 1000 words.
The new process monitoring capability is just an extension to our already existing state monitoring functionality. As you can see from the below picture, user can simply select the required receive location and click on the “Set Process Monitor” button.
A new “Process Monitor Setup” window will pop up as shown below, which allows users to create the required process monitoring for the selected receive location.
There are few things to highlight in the above picture
Name: A friendly name for your process monitor. Example: If you are expecting certain volume of messages during your morning business hours, you can name the setup as “Morning Slot”, “Morning transactions” etc.
Hourly/Daily: BizTalk360 process monitoring provides you the option to set process monitoring either on hourly or on daily time frame.
Business Day: You have full flexibility in defining your business day. In our example, we are interested to monitor the traffic only during morning hours, so we defined our business day for this particular setup as 8am to 1pm.
Monitoring Days: You can specify the days when you wanted to monitor. Example: You may be interested to monitor only during weekdays, or weekends or specific days like Mon, Wed, Fri etc..
The below picture shows how you can specify process monitoring for the whole business day (9am to 5pm, which is configurable to your business needs)
Multiple process monitors for the same receive location:
If you have noticed in the above picture, there are list of existing process monitors for the same receive location. BizTalk360 allows you to configure multiple process monitoring thresholds for the same receive location. Examples: Your processing volume may be different during the morning hours when compared to afternoon hours. You may also wanted to set a hourly monitoring threshold and a daily monitoring threshold. BizTalk360 caters for all these various combinations.
Once the process monitoring is configured and saved, the receive location list will clearly highlight with an alarm symbol and mouse over text as shown in the below picture that process monitoring is configured for that particular receive location.
The existing monitors can be managed easily by selecting the receive location with the alarm symbol and pressing the “Set Process monitor” button, which will bring the following screen, giving you the ability to edit/delete existing monitors and also create new ones if required.
Once the above process monitors are setup for your receive locations, BizTalk360 background services will keep monitoring for those thresholds and whenever there is a violation (Note: In this article we skipped some of monitoring configuration steps, you can read about it here) a notification will be sent to your notification channel. The below picture shows the email channel and the sample email message you’ll receive. Few things to look out for, subject line (Showing “DOWN” status with alarm name “Process Monitoring Check”, you can define your own name), Environment details, Application name, Receive location name etc..
The process monitoring capability is implemented using the tracking message in/
out events in the BizTalk tracking database. The only mandatory requirements for process monitoring is, customers should not have disabled BizTalk global tracking in the environment. There is no custom development, or any custom pipeline component is required to take advantage of this new capability.
Setting Process Monitoring for Send Ports
Setting up process monitoring for send ports is exactly identical to the the steps we have seen for Receive locations. The below picture shows the starting screen for send ports.
We are not going to bore you with the same details again, we hope you got the concept. If you need any further assistance or want to test drive it today, please reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org or via our contact us page.