BizTalk360 was announced for public technology preview yesterday, you can read more about it here https://www.biztalk360.com
There is one common problem across all the BizTalk customers. i.e there is no proper support tool for BizTalk. It’s a reality people are more passionate and interested in designing, architecting and developing the software and not enough attention is given to the afterlife of that application once it reaches production. It’s very important to focus on a production application, which represents customers business and credibility. BizTalk360 is all about managing that application that’s in production. There are some of common problems most of the BizTalk server customers face, BizTalk360 tries to address them
BizTalk360 is a web based rich internet application built using Microsoft Silverlight and WCF. Web based application means, you can centrally deploy it and no necessity to install all the BizTalk administration components on individual support persons desktop. Also, it comes with rich authorization module, which allows to give fine grained authorization to support people. No more remote desktop (RDP) access to all production servers, restrict users to only few BizTalk applications, or even provide only read-only access in the environment. The choice is yours.
Let’s see some brief introduction to some of the key modules of BizTalk360
BizTalk Environment Dashboard
This is the home screen of the application, as soon as you access an environment, you are presented with the environment dashboard showing various part of the system and their health status.It shows the number of applications, number of hosts, number of message boxes etc. in the environment. The green and red represents their respective health status, red is error, green is healthy. If there are any suspended instances in the environment, a red bar will appear with the count of total suspended instances and the last suspended date time.
BizTalk Application Dashboard
BizTalk application dashboard provides a single view into a particular BizTalk applications. The artifact headings are colour coded to represent their overall health. If there are suspended instances it will be highlighted on the dashboard.
Diagrammatic representation of Send Port
A picture is worth more than 1000 words, BizTalk360 come with diagrammatic representation of send ports (only send ports for V1, road map to include other artifacts like orchestrations, receive ports etc)
BizTalk360 allows to view the properties of all the BizTalk artifacts like send port, receive port, receive location, map, schema, application, pipeline, etc
Lack of tooling around “who did what” in the system is the number one challenge. In a production application it’s vital to log this information for various reason. BizTalk360 handles it seamlessly and provides views out of the box to see this information in your fingertips.
User Access Policy
If you are running one of your “AAA” rated application on BizTalk server, you want to control the user access in a fine grained way. You don’t want one of your junior analyst supporting the application to have administrator rights on production environment. You want to control things like
- Giving only read-only access to certain people,
- Blocking certain areas of the application like, not allowing user to suspend/terminate instances,
- Restricting users to only few BizTalk applications etc.
- Restricting users from starting/stopping application artifacts like (send port, receive location, orchestration) and host instances etc.
BizTalk360 takes care of all these requirements seamlessly with a full admin panel to control it, and also audit it.
BizTalk server is targeted for enterprise customers, so a typical BizTalk environment will have at least 4 servers (2 BizTalk, 2 SQL) in most of the cases
to support high availability. It’s vital to know your topology any time without digging through out of sync Visio documents. BizTalk360 provides a graphical view of your topology dynamically generated from your environment.
Advanced Event Viewer
One of the other problem application support people face maintaining BizTalk production environment is probing through various event logs across multiple servers in the group to diagnose problems. This is both time consuming and also a security risk allowing support people to have full access to the servers. BizTalk360 tackles this issue by providing a centralized event viewer functionality. It understand the topology of the environment, pulls all the event log information and presents it in a central place. The query builder is powerful as shown in the above picture.
Business Activity Monitoring portal
BizTalk360 also comes with a simple BAM portal, which allows users to get to BAM data from a single UI. Users can search for activities, see permission and activities time window. BizTalk360 utilizes the security mechanism provided by BizTalk BAM infrastructure, hence this will nicely complement your existing BAM investment.
Host Container View
BizTalk host is a logical container for various BizTalk artifacts. When it comes to scalability, administrator normally create multiple host and host instances and deploy them in various BizTalk servers. BizTalk360 provides a Host Dashboard, which allow users to see what’s running inside the host (host instance) at any point in time. From the above picture you can see it list the orchestrations, send port and receive ports that run inside a particular host. Read here for more info
BizTalk Server Characteristics
In a typical production BizTalk environment you’ll have 2 or more servers performing various activities like sending, receive, processing and tracking based on your requirements. BizTalk360’s BizTalk Server dashboard provides the characteristics of that server and it clearly shows “how the server is been utilized”. Apart from this the server dash board shows various other things like host instances running in the server, event viewer data, whether its web server etc.