Why did we build Advanced Tracking Manager for BizTalk Server?

|  Posted: April 25, 2018  |  Categories: BizTalk360

This blog is a part of the series of blog articles we are publishing on the topic “Why we built XYZ feature in BizTalk360”.

Advanced Tracking Manager for BizTalk Server

Why do we need this feature?

Being able to track messages and processes in middleware software like BizTalk Server can be used for few reasons, amongst them are:

  • be sure all processes run like expected
  • analysis of issues
  • debugging during development/test phase

However, especially for live environments, the best practice is that only limited tracking should be turned on, to prevent a performance penalty. Therefore, there needs to be a balance between the amount of tracking which is turned on and the ability for the BizTalk administrator to be able to do his job when it comes to analysis of issues.

In general, when no message context/content tracking is turned on and only the default tracking is switched on, you should be good.

To prevent performance penalties, it is obvious that it helps to have a good overview of all the tracking settings of the BizTalk environment.

What are the current challenges?

All BizTalk Server related tracking settings can be maintained in the BizTalk Server Administration console. However, the tracking settings are found in different parts of the console. For example:

  • the Group Level Tracking property is found  in the BizTalk Group Settings Dashboard
  • the BizTalk artifact settings are found at application/artifact level
  • Each artifact like (receive ports, send ports, orchestrations, pipelines etc) all come with their own UI to manage tracking.

This results in not having a good overview and easy maintenance of the tracking settings with the standard BizTalk Server Administration console.

How BizTalk360 solves this problem?

At BizTalk360 we decided to design one screen, which can be used for all tracking settings, enabling to have a good overview of all the tracking settings, meanwhile working as a central hub to configure all these settings.

We came up with the Tracking Manager screen, which can be found in BizTalk360 under Operations / Infrastructure setting.

As you can see from the screen, it contains an overview of all tracking settings. On a high level, the screen is divided into two parts:

  • Quick actions
  • Applications and Rules

The Quick actions allow you to easily turn on/off tracking on a global level for the BizTalk artifact types, but also to turn on/off group level tracking.

The second part of the screen allows you to view/configure tracking until the application level. If a more fine-grained configuration is needed, you can simply click on the application and set the desired tracking for one or multiple artifacts at once. The overall result of the settings will be reflected in above screen.

Also, maybe less familiar, Business Rules can be tracked. BizTalk360 enables you to easily configure these settings from the Rules tab page.

All in all, we can conclude that the Tracking Manager in BizTalk360 gives easy access and maintenance to all the tracking settings for BizTalk Administrators.

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Author: Lex Hegt

Lex Hegt works in the IT sector for more than 25 years, mainly in roles as developer and administrator. He works with BizTalk since BizTalk Server 2004. Currently he is a Technical Lead at BizTalk360.

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