Monitoring Clustered NT Services with BizTalk360

|  Posted: February 27, 2020  |  Categories: BizTalk360

We are happy to announce that BizTalk360 extends its support to monitor Cluster NT services. Currently, you can monitor the cluster SQL server components like Disk, system resources, event logs.

Consider this scenario, the Clustered SQL server is running under node 1 and the cluster NT service “Enterprise single sign-on” is running under node 2. Before, we cannot monitor clustered NT services through BizTalk360. As we are valuing each customer request, we brought this capability in BizTalk360 based on customer feedback.

Monitor-SSO-Services-BizTalk360

Cluster-NT-Service-Monitoring-BizTalk360

Clustered NT Service in SQL Server

Through Failover Clustering, you can make almost anything highly available. This does not only include programs and applications, but you can make any windows service running on the cluster highly available – even if it is custom or from a 3rd party. These can be created, managed by and integrated with Failover Clustering using the Generic Service resource type. Generic Service resource type allows us to manage Windows Services as cluster resources. 

Consider that,  one service is identified as the active node which is running the production workload, and the other is a passive node. If the active node fails, the passive node becomes the active node and begins to run the operation with some minimal failover downtime and without any distraction. BizTalk Server admins/support people find this would be a cumbersome task to monitor the clustered NT services every time through RDP connection to all servers. To make their support life easy, we have implemented this feature in BizTalk360.

From now on, you can monitor those generic windows service in BizTalk360.

How to Configure Clustered Windows Services in BizTalk360?

In BizTalk360, you can monitor the Clustered Windows Services which is configured as a Generic type.

From this version, you can add SQL server Network Friendly Name or Physical Node separately in the monitoring and notification section. When you added the Network Friendly name then there is no need to add the physical cluster node. BizTalk360 will monitor both nodes under the Network Friendly name.

If you are monitoring Physical Node, where you can directly add a Physical Node for monitoring through which you can able to view the services which are available under the Physical Node.

Using Network Friendly Name

SQL-Server-Name-BizTalk360

Using Physical Node

SQL-Server-Name-Physical-Node-BizTalk360

When the SQL server network Friendly Name is added (Settings->Monitoring and notification->SQL Servers for monitoring) for monitoring, then the active and passive nodes will get listed in the grid (nodes) column. BizTalk360 intelligently will pick up the active node and start monitoring. For easy reference to the user, the currently active node is highlighted in green color as per the below screenshot.

Active-Node-Highlighted-BizTalk360

When you have added the network Friendly Name then there is no need to add the physical cluster node names. BizTalk360 will monitor both nodes under the network Friendly Name.

If you are monitoring Physical Node, where you can directly add a Physical Node for monitoring through which you can able to view the services which are available under the Physical Node.

Monitoring-Physical-Node-BizTalk360

Monitoring the Clustered Windows Services in BizTalk360

BizTalk360 allows users to monitor the Clustered NT service using the option “AtleastOneActive” state.

If this state is assigned as the Expected State, then the monitoring service will verify that at least one service is active, guaranteeing that the service is running in another node and no downtime happened.

From this version, as additional information, we have added the Server name and Clustered option in the grid view. It is useful to easily filter the clustered and non-clustered services. So that, we can easily filter and identify the clustered and non-clustered services.

For Cluster NT ServiceCluster-NT-Service-BizTalk360

You can monitor both clustered and non- clustered services under network Friendly Names or Physical Nodes. Non clustered service in the same network Friendly name will appear as per the below screenshot.

Cluster-Service-BizTalk360

Only for clustered SQL Server and BizTalk Server, the server name/ clustered column will visible.

Setting up the “AtleastOneActive” State in Clustered NT service

The user can set the “AtleastOneActive” state only for clustered NT service in a high availability environment. You must select both active and passive window services for setting the “AtleastOneActive” as it is clustered NT service.

The “AtleastOneActive” state will monitor the configured NT services and will check if anyone of the NT service is active. It will check for anyone of the NT service is up and running. In case if both the clustered NT service is down then it will send the exception alert as below :

Consider that, if you are configuring the AtleastOneActive state for Clustered NT service. When suddenly, one service’s expected state changed to Running or stopped state. Then BizTalk360 automatically updated the expected state as “Do not monitor”.

AutoCorrect Functionality in Clustered NT Service

AutoCorrect is one of the best features in BizTalk360. It helps you to get relief from a manual effort by auto-starting the services if it goes down.

For example, if you have 2 services under node 1 and node 2 respectively. From 2 services, any one of the services needs to be in the active state for performing the auto-correct operation. It’s a tedious task for the admin/support people to start the services manually if both of them go down. To overcome this problem, autocorrect functionality is the best solution.

In the case of clustered service, autocorrect needs to be enabled for all the services in different nodes. If all the services are down, from the next monitoring cycle BizTalk360 will try to auto-heal any one of the services. On the first attempt, it will try to start the service in node 1. If the service is started successfully then it skips autocorrecting in node 2. This happens vice versa if node 1 fails to start. BizTalk360 will try to start any one of the services until it reaches the maximum attempt count. You can also reset the auto-correct by setting the reset interval.

Autocorrect-Clustered-NT-Services

Autocorrect functionality can be set for both clustered and non-clustered services.

Autocorrect-Clustered-Non-Clustered

For AtleastOneActive, if we configure autocorrect for node 1. Then it automatically replicates to node 2.                                                                                         

Monitoring the Clustered NT Services in BizTalk Server

BizTalk Server as well has both clustered and non-clustered NT services.  However, monitoring them doesn’t need any special configuration in BizTalk360. 

For example, enterprise SSO is a critical part of the overall Microsoft BizTalk Server infrastructure because BizTalk Server uses SSO to help secure information for the receive locations and provides services to store and transmit encrypted user credentials across local and network boundaries, including domain boundaries. SSO stores the credentials in the SSO database. Because SSO provides a generic single sign-on solution, middleware applications and custom adapters can leverage SSO to securely store and transmit user credentials across the environment.

if an SSO server fails, and if you have other BizTalk Server computers (and therefore SSO servers) running the same host instance, the other SSO servers continue doing their work. This means that the master secret server still functions correctly, and therefore the BizTalk Server processing continues.

BizTalk-Server

Today’s dynamic business environment demands such flexibility because of workload fluctuations.

Consider a scenario if node A has an “Enterprise Single sign-on” service which is configured for monitoring. Let say, node A went down, then BizTalk360 will automatically pick up the currently active node B for monitoring the “Enterprise Single sign-on” service. BizTalk360 will help us in getting efficient work, flexibility and will not lose any information during Failover scenarios.

As like SQL Server Clustered NT Service monitoring. BizTalk360 extends its capability for BizTalk Servers NT services as well.

Conclusion

BizTalk360 will always work from the customer’s feedback. Clustered NT service is the best solution for many failover scenarios. The upcoming version of BizTalk360 will ease your way of monitoring the Clustered NT service in the SQL server and the BizTalk Server.

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