BizTalk360 v4.0 Beta – Extended Monitoring Capabilities

|  Posted: May 4, 2012  |  Categories: BizTalk360

Yesterday we announced the public availability of BizTalk360 v4.0 beta, which can be downloaded here http://www.biztalk360.com/Content/beta

One of the core capabilities we focused on v4.0 is to provide extended monitoring capabilities for BizTalk environments. We also built a robust plugin model underneath, so customers can write their own monitoring plugins.

Our objective for BizTalk360 monitoring is to make it as simple/intuitive as possible. We wanted customers to setup BizTalk monitoring  in minutes/hours, rather than weeks/months.

All the monitoring concepts from v3.2 still applies, as explained in this blog post we simply extended the capabilities to new areas and introduced a plugin model. Let’s take a look at various monitoring sections we have introduced in 4.0

Creating Alarms:

An alarm is a very generic principle in BizTalk360. You simply specify the notification channel (example: Email address(s)), SMS numbers),  whether you want a periodic regular notification at set timings (ex: 4pm every day), and/or get notifications whenever a threshold violation condition is detected in the environment. You can also set the alarm to notify when the environment is up and running (when someone fixes the problem and environment is back to normal). Create alarm screen also allows you to setup some properties for threshold violations alarms like

1. How you long the threshold condition should persist before sending alerts,

2. How many alerts you want

3. Notify when the previous threshold condition is corrected.

The following screen shows, how you can create a new alarm.

BizTalk360 Create New Alarm

Monitoring Sections

Once the alarms is created, the user then can subscribe to various monitoring sections they are interested in. BizTalk360 v4.0 comes with following monitoring sections and we can easily keep adding more monitoring plugins.

1. BizTalk Applications (simple)
2. BizTalk Applications (Advanced)

  • Send Ports
  • Receive Locations
  • Orchestrations

3. BizTalk Servers

  • NT Services
  • Disks
  • Event Logs
  • System Resources (CPU, Memory)

4. SQL Instances

  • SQL Jobs

5. BizTalk Environment

  • Host Instances
  • Web Endpoints (WCF/SOAP services, HTTP endpoints)

6. Message Box Viewer

1.BizTalk Application (Simple)

The goal for this section is to setup monitoring for BizTalk applications quickly. If your requirements are very straight forward with the following threshold condition

1. All Send ports must be started

2. All Receive Locations must be enabled

3. All Orchestrations must be started

4. All host instances related to the application must be running

5. There must be less than “N” number of suspended instances/application.

Note: You can ignore certain artifacts from monitoring if required.

Then you can simply select the alarm and specify the list of applications you want to monitor, set the number of suspended instances limit and click save. You started monitoring BizTalk applications in less than 10 mintues times.

BizTalk Application Monitoring (simple)

2. BizTalk Applications (Advanced)

For certain customer, the requirement for BizTalk application monitoring is slightly complicated. Examples Include:

1. They wanted certain receive locations to be in disabled state, starting it may have business implications. It only done by administrators at certain times.

2. In a similar way, they wanted certain send ports and orchestrations to be in a specific state (example: enlisted, stopped, unenlisted etc).

The below screen shows the configuration for one application.

The orchestration is showing RED, because our expected status is “Stopped”, but the current operational state is “Started”

BizTalk Application Monitoring (Advanced)

Whereas the Receive locations are healthy, because both our expected state and current state are supposed to be “Enabled”

BizTalk Application Monitoring (Advanced)

BizTalk360 also displays the overall application status (The big RED “Critical” icon), whether it’s healthy or critical or not configured based on all the plugin’s input. In our case it’s RED because the orchestration status is critical.

3. BizTalk Server Monitoring

This section covers some of the core things you typically monitor on a BizTalk Server. V4.0 comes with 4 plugin’s to monitor and notify Disks, NT Services, System Resources and Event Logs. Over the next few releases we’ll add more plugins like Config file checking, IIS application pool etc

The overall configuration for monitoring and notification is identical for all sections in BizTalk360 (similar to BizTalk Applications Advanced options), you set expected state and the system monitor for it.

Disks:

As shown in the below picture, BizTalk360 automatically picks up all the disks in the BizTalk server, you simply need to specify the warning and error level in %. Once the disk reach those level, you’ll get notifications.

Disk Monitoring

System R
esources:

You configure the core system resources (CPU and Memory) for threshold violation in your BizTalk Server(s). You can setup error/warning level, BizTalk360 will monitor for those violations and send notifications on violation.

System Resource Monitoring

NT Services:

You can set expected state for your NT Services, you can set the service expected state to be either Running, Stopped or Ignore. Whenever the system violates this condition, BizTalk360 will send alert notification. The important thing to note so far is, BizTalk360 allows you to configure negative states (ex: Stopped, Ignore) as part  of your monitoring.

NT Services Monitoring

Event Logs

BizTalk360 comes with a powerful event log monitoring capability. You can configure various rules based on your requirements. Example:

You can configure if there are 10 MSI installation events in the last 30 minutes then trigger notification.

or

Whenever a host instance is started/stopped so many times in last 60 mins etc

Event Log Monitoring

Event Log Monitoring

4. SQL Instance Monitoring

This sections covers monitoring requirements of SQL instance. v4.0 ships with SQL Jobs monitoring plugin, in the future versions we’ll be adding more plugins in this section like data/log file sizes, SQL query, etc.

SQL Jobs

Based on the same configuration/monitoring theme, you can set the expected state of the SQL jobs. It’s important to have the ability to verify disabled states, for example not all the SQL jobs that ships with BizTalk Server are supposed to be in enabled state

ex: MessageBox_Message_Cleanup_BizTalkMsgBoxDb (details here) is not scheduled and is started by MessageBox_Message_ManageRefCountLog_BizTalkMsgBoxDb job. Do not manually start this job.

SQL Jobs monitoring

5. BizTalk Environment Monitoring

This sections allows you to monitor things are BizTalk environment level. v4.0 ships with Host Instances and Web Endpoint monitoring plugins.

Host Instances:

You can configure to monitor host instances to be in a very specific state. Example: Started, Stopped, Disabled etc. In some cases having the host instances in a disabled state is the correct configuration for your environment. BizTalk360 makes this threshold check seamless.

BizTalk Host Instance Monitoring

Web Endpoints

Being an integration platform, it’s common requirement for your BizTalk applications to connect to some third party internal/external web services or http end points using WCF/HTTP adapters. So, it’s become important to check the availability of those endpoints periodically for a healthy operation. BizTalk360 web endpoints monitoring is designed exactly for that reason. You can add your web endpoints and their expected state. BizTalk360 will then monitor and send notifications if the end points are not returning the desired HTTP codes.

Web Endpoint monitoring

Web endpoint monitoring

6. Message Box Viewer

This sections is inherited from our previous release, users can set monitoring and notification based on the message box viewer report. You can specify something like, if MBV reported 5 critical error or 10 non-critical errors, then send alert notification.

message box viewer monitoring

Email Message

Now, let take a quick look at the email alert you’ll receive based on the monitoring configuration. One of the design goals for us is to keep the whole monitoring and notification capability as simple as possible. As part of the strategy we wa
nted to keep the email simple and straight forward. A sample email is shown below

BizTalk360 Email Notification

BizTalk360 Email Notification

We believe the new monitoring capabilities in v4.0 will help customers to setup monitoring for their BizTalk environment. As I mentioned you will be able to setup monitoring in hours rather than days/weeks.

Nandri!

Saravana Kumar
Founder – BizTalk360

Author: Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

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