One of the core capabilities of BizTalk360 is the ability to monitor and alert the health of your BizTalk environments. BizTalk360 monitoring/alerting capabilities are built keeping in mind both small and large organisation, with and without existing monitoring solutions in place.
Basic principle of BizTalk360 monitoring
Setting up monitoring using BizTalk360 is just a two step process done within minutes.
- Create a alarm
- Associate Artifacts (ex: BizTalk Applications) with alarm.
In BizTalk360 terms, an alarm is a very generic term. You simply specify the alarm channel (example: Email address(s)), whether you want a periodic regular alarm at set timings (ex: 4pm every day) also get alarm when an error condition is detected in the environment. You can also set the alarm to notify when the environment is up and running (on error correction) and restrict the number of alerts you want to receive. The following screen shot explains all these
BizTalk360 allows you to set multiple alarms based on your requirements. Following are some of the examples:
- BPM Environment Weekdays
- BPM Environment Weekends
- DR Weekly Check
- Services Team 10am Routine Check,
- Credit Processing Applications Daily Check
As you can see from the descriptive names, you can setup various alarms based on your requirements. Once the alarms are defined then BizTalk360 allows you to associate artifacts to that alarm.
One of the design goals of BizTalk360 alerting is simplicity, practicality and to keep the noise ( number of emails) to absolute minimum possible. BizTalk360 will do all the work in the background and produce just the consolidated summary highlighting the problem (straight to your inbox). Let’s take a sample scenario: There are 10 BizTalk applications deployed in your environment. You are responsible for supporting/monitoring 4 of them. In BizTalk360, to do this task all you need to do is create an alarm and associate those 4 applications you are interested for monitoring with the alarm. That’s it. You are done. The following screen shot shows the Alarm-Application association
For BizTalk applications, BizTalk360 treats the following conditions as threshold violation
1. Disabled Receive Locations
2. Stopped Send Ports/Orchestrations
3. Disabled BizTalk Host instances required for the application
4. When there are “n” number of suspended instances for application
Whenever it detects any violation it notifies the user(s) maintaining those applications. BizTalk360 got the ability to wait for “n” number of minutes before alerting (ex: It could be just an intermittent issue), it also got the ability to notify the users when the environment issues are fixed.
The email alert will have an application summary section at the top as shown in this diagram. Basically it shows health summary of all the applications you have selected in an easy to understand red/green/yellow status.
If the application contains any errors, then the email will contain details sections for that application with all the problems.
Clear email subject line highlighting the condition
BizTalk360 puts various subject lines in the email to easily identify the type of notification, which includes Regular, Down, UP and Test as shown in below snippets
This makes life easy to react to condition quickly. Example: When you see a “Down” alert you know the environment has violated some threshold condition, if you see “Regular”, may be you can ignore it for time being and take a look bit later.
Associating Message Box Viewer errors/warning
BizTalk360 allows users to schedule execution of Message Box viewer (ex: once a week, daily etc) in your BizTalk environment and allows to send notifications based on the errors and warning it produce. Ex: A production environment owner can setup BizTalk360 to send notification if MBV reports 5 critical errors or 10 non-critical warnings.
Ability to ignore artifacts from monitoring
It’s not always practical to have a very clean environment. People tend to have orphaned artifacts like unused receive locations, send ports, host instances etc for variety of reasons. Example: For health check after deployment, for debugging purpose, additional host instances (in disable state) etc
BizTalk360 caters for these scenarios by allowing the users to ignore artifacts from monitoring. Once the artifacts are ignored from monitoring, then their state will not affect the UI dashboards or notification emails.
Some of the common use cases for BizTalk360
Production/Test Environment owner:
You may be a test manager or production support manager owning an environment. As an environment owner you are always interested to keep an eye on the health of your environment. Ex: You want a regular update every week day at 10am. BizTalk360 monitoring can enable you to do this within few minutes.
Production support engineers:
You may be the support engineer responsible for “A” environment. As a support engineer you are interested in maintaining a healthy environment, example you don’t want too many suspended instances to get accumulated in the environment. You periodically check every 2 hours once for any suspended instances and clear them.
BizTalk360 monitoring can help you do this task seamlessly. You can create an alarm, and when associating applications with the alarm you can specify to alert you as soon as there are “N” numbers of suspended instances for the application.
BizTalk360 just doesn’t tell you when things go wrong; it also tells you when everything is good.
Temporarily shut down alerting for maintenance
1. When you are deploying/upgrading your application
2. Hardware failure you are working on etc
In those scenarios you don’t want to send false alerts to users.
Customize your email template
BizTalk360 comes with elegantly designed email template; it also provides the ability to customise it according to your requirements.
If in case you already got investment in big monitoring solutions like SCOM, HP Openview, Tivoli etc, we see BizTalk360 as a complementing technology. If in case you don’t have any such monitoring solution in place, then you should consider using BizTalk360 to proactively monitor your BizTalk environment.
Please note monitoring/alerting capabilities are just one of the capabilities of BizTalk360, there are numerous other things BizTalk360 is capable of. You can see the feature tour here.