BizTalk360 – Ready to function

|  Posted: August 8, 2019  |  Categories: BizTalk360

BizTalk360 is one-stop monitoring tool for monitoring your BizTalk environment. The BizTalk360 installation is a very quick process and does not take much time when all the prerequisites are met. For any software product, there would be some basic requirements that should be satisfied for its successful installation. BizTalk360 also has its own hardware and software requirements. In addition to these requirements, there are also some permissions and rules that need to be provided.

We have different documents that contain this information. But I thought it would be even more helpful for our customers if we have all this information in a single place. In this blog article, I would like to give a consolidation of all the requirements that one should make sure of before installing BizTalk360.

There are many considerations that need to be taken care of before installing BizTalk360, like where do you want to install BizTalk360, the service account permissions, the database creation, etc. Let’s look at each of them.

Installing guide for BizTalk360

BizTalk360, being a separate integration tool, always arises a query from the customers as to where we must install it. What is the best practice to install BizTalk360? It can be either installed on the same server where BizTalk is installed or in a standalone server.

The recommendation would be to install BizTalk360 on a separate server, rather than in the BizTalk server.

This will be useful in the performance perspective. The BizTalk server performance would not be hindered and BizTalk360 will notify the users when the BizTalk server is down. The important prerequisite for installing in a standalone server is that the BizTalk Admin Components must be installed beforehand in the standalone server.

BizTalk-Server-Installation

If these components are not installed, then the BizTalk360 installer will fail with the following error.

BizTalk360-Prerequisite-Check

The role of the service account in BizTalk360

One of the most important prerequisites for BizTalk360 is to configure a separate service account. The service account will be one that is used for the IIS App pool that will be created during the installation and also for running the BizTalk360 Monitor and Analytics service.

The recommendation is to create a dedicated service account, the reason being there are some permissions that need to be provided for this account.

The permissions would be:

  • Local administrator permission in the BizTalk360 server for starting the Monitor and Analytics service
  • Local administrator in the BizTalk and SQL server(s) for collecting the event log data and for disk and system resource monitoring
  • Sysadmin permission to the SQL Server for creating and updating the BizTalk360 database
  • Sysadmin permission for the BizTalk databases for monitoring and autocorrecting the SQL jobs. In case if you do not prefer to provide Sysadmin permission, you can provide SQLAgentOperator role for the service account for monitoring the SQL jobs and performing the autocorrect functionality
  • Member of all the BizTalk groups

Once you have created the service account, you will have to log in to the BizTalk360 server with this service account to install BizTalk360. Logging in with other users may result in other permissions related to the database as other users may not have the expected permissions as the service account.

Firewall ports and protocols to be checked

When you plan to install BizTalk360 in a separate standalone server, there are some configurations that need to be taken care in the security perspective. For example, there may be firewall rules that may restrict access to the server. For BizTalk 360 to be able to contact BizTalk Server, the MSDTC connection needs to be enabled in all the servers. BizTalk360 should be enabled with certain ports/protocols for communicating with the external servers.

Service-Feature

Next, make sure the below services are running in the server:

RPC

Also, make sure if custom ports are utilized for any service, unblock them as well from the firewall for the seamless working.

Ready to install BizTalk360

Once all the prerequisites are in place, you are now ready to install BizTalk360. The installation is a seamless process which would roughly take about 10-15 minutes when all permissions are in place.

You will have to make sure that you have logged into the server with the BizTalk360 service account. The reason for this is that when BizTalk360 is installed, the logged-in user will be created as a Super User in BizTalk360.

This Super User permission is required for the service account to perform certain automated processes like terminating/resuming service instances through Data Monitoring alarms and also for Analytics operations.

If for some reason, the installation fails, the first thing to be looked for the error, would be the installation logs.

Important configurations for BizTalk360

For BizTalk360 to be up and running, there are some configurations that need to be done. For example, the SMTP setting would be required for triggering the alert emails. You will need to create different users for accessing BizTalk360.

You can refer to the implementation of best practices here.

Best practices on a performance perspective

For any software product, the performance would be the foremost priority. Some of the performance measures that can be taken up for enhancing BizTalk360 would be:

  • Configuring only the required sources in the Advanced Event Viewer so that the database growth is controlled
  • Maintaining the appropriate purge duration to remove the historical data based on the business needs
  • Enabling only the relevant performance counters for Analytics performance data collection

Upgrade and Migration Scenarios

  • What happens when you upgrade BizTalk360 to a new version?
  • What happens when you migrate your BizTalk server?
  • Let’s have a look!

Upgrading BizTalk360

A new version of BizTalk360 is released every quarter with new features and enhancements picked up based on customer feedback. The release would also include certain bug fixes as well.

It is important that customers upgrade their BizTalk360 to the latest version to be in line with the release and enjoy the new features.

Things to be taken care while upgrading BizTalk360:

  • You should log in with the BizTalk360 service account to the BizTalk360 server
  • The license needs to be deactivated
  • The database should be backed up so that in case of any errors, the old database can be restored
  • Once after the successful upgrade, it is important to clear the browser cache and then launch BizTalk360

In a scenario where there might be some problems during the upgrade, the customer could have uninstalled and reinstalled BizTalk360. In this case, they would have restored the old database and the following error would occur.

restore-database-error

Here, we can see that the application has been upgraded but not the database since the old version of the database has been restored. The suggestion here would be to run the SQL scripts from the next version seen in the error from C:\Program Files (x86)\Kovai Ltd\BizTalk360\Service\SQL folder. Please note, if there is more than one script that needs to be executed, then they should be run in the same sequence.

Upgrading BizTalk Server

Customers might migrate from a lower version of BizTalk Server to a higher version, say for example from BizTalk Server 2013 to BizTalk Server 2016. There are some configuration changes that need to be done at the BizTalk360 side as well to point to the new BizTalk environment. The below steps need to be followed in the BizTalk360 box when you migrate the BizTalk server.

  1. Deactivate the license in BizTalk360 first before migration
  2. Install the new version of BizTalk admin components in BizTalk360 server
  3. After migration, update the environment details to point to the SQL instance which contains the BizTalk databases
  4. The below tables need to have the BizTalk version changed appropriately and the MS_BizTalk_install_location should be updated

b360_admin_BizTalkEnvironment -> BizTalk Version

b360_admin_GlobalProperties -> MS_BIZTALK_VERSION & MS_BIZTALK_INSTALL_LOCATION

You can export the alarms from the old BizTalk360 environment and import them to the new environment. The mappings will also get imported to the new environment. If you are using BizTalk360 v8.8 or later, then you can export the user settings as well.

  1. Modify the alarm mapping to point to the artifacts in the new environment

Migrating BizTalk360 database and application

When the BizTalk360 database is moved to a new server, the connection string needs to be modified in the following config files:

  • Web.config
  • BizTalk360.Monitor.exe.config
  • BizTalk360.Analytics.exe.config

For more details, refer to the article.

BizTalk360 additional details

The integrated Troubleshooter in the BizTalk360 UI will provide you with the complete details of BizTalk360 like the connection string, installation location, and the database.

biztalk360-components

biztalk360-component

Conclusion

Once all the setup and configurations are in place, it is a quick and seamless task to install/upgrade BizTalk360. The customer suggestion and feedback are always heard and addressed, which helps us to improve the product and provide better service.

Happy monitoring with BizTalk360! 😊

Author: Praveena Jayanarayanan

I am working as Senior Support Engineer at BizTalk360. I always believe in team work leading to success because "We all cannot do everything or solve every issue. 'It's impossible'. However, if we each simply do our part, make our own contribution, regardless of how small we may think it is.... together it adds up and great things get accomplished."

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