Why did we build Azure Logic Apps Monitoring in BizTalk360?

Azure Logic Apps Monitoring 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”. Read the main article here.

Why do we need this feature?

Traditionally, a lot of system integration happened on-premise. When integration with partners or external systems was the need of the hour, this was achieved using SOAP/REST/HTTP/FTP/SFTP etc.

With the rise and adaption of cloud technologies like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, cloud solutions became more and more capable to support scenarios where on-premise systems needed to interface to the on-premise systems of your partner(s) or with SaaS solutions like Office365 and SalesForce.

Microsoft is positioning Azure Logic Apps as the integration platform in the cloud mainly for connecting SaaS based solutions like Dynamics 365, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Workday etc.

Since the introduction of the Azure Logic Apps adapter for BizTalk Server 2016 and Azure Gateway, it is possible to integrate your on-premise systems via BizTalk Server with Azure Logic Apps seamlessly. This opens up great possibilities — it opens up some 300+ SaaS connectors that are available to Azure Logic Apps that can be utilized from BizTalk Server. Also, vice versa you can make the 100’s of external SaaS systems to talk to your on-premise BizTalk Server.

So it becomes very important to have a management/monitoring platform that’s capable of supporting both on-premise BizTalk Server and Azure Logic Apps from a single place.

What are the current challenges?

Azure Logic Apps provide a great way to extend your integration scenarios and capabilities to the cloud. However, from an operational and monitoring perspective, the Azure Portal is yet another portal the BizTalk Administrators need to be aware of and fit in their daily tasks.

So, besides their on-premises oriented BizTalk Server monitoring, organizations now also need to monitor their Hybrid solutions (which involve Azure Logic Apps) as events might occur they want to know about.

Think of, for example, somebody could have disabled your Azure Logic App  (that’s part of your end-to-end integration scenario), which prevents the Azure Logic Apps from being executed. Also, executions of the Azure Logic Apps might fail or run very slow, indicating that some other system might be under stress.

As it would take too much time to regularly check this kind of scenarios to take place, an administrator just wants to be informed automatically when these kind of events occur. You can use some of the monitoring features of Azure Portal, but you’ll not get the end to end visibility and it will operate on silo without giving the full context.

How BizTalk360 solves this problem?

At BizTalk360, we are closely following the trends in the integration landscape. We can clearly spot the necessity of using Azure Logic Apps in enterprise integration scenario along with BizTalk Server.

Because of this, we brought the support for Azure Logic Apps with BizTalk360. In addition to Azure Logic Apps, we also support other relevant integration technologies in Azure like Azure Service Bus, Azure API Apps and Azure Integration Account with BizTalk360.

In this article, we will just focus on how you can monitor your Azure Logic Apps from BizTalk360. Azure Logic Apps Monitoring with BizTalk360 consists of the following two parts:

  • State Monitoring – Monitor whether the Logic Apps are in the expected state
  • Data Monitoring – Monitor whether the executions of Logic Apps take place as expected

State Monitoring of Logic Apps

A Logic App can have the following two states:

  • Enabled – an instance of the Logic App can be started by means of a trigger
  • Disabled – the Logic App cannot be instantiated by means of a trigger

Azure Logic Apps monitoring with BizTalk360 consists of checking whether the state of a Logic App reflects the Expected state. In most cases, a Logic App will have to be in the Enabled state, but there might be scenarios where you want to monitor for the Logic App to be in the Disabled state, which is often referred to as Negative Monitoring. BizTalk360 allows you to monitor for both states.

Azure Logic Apps Monitoring in BizTalk360

Auto Correct
BizTalk360 has developed the Auto Correct feature for state-bound artifact monitoring. The feature allows you to let BizTalk360 try to bring the state bound artifact back to the expected state, once the artifact gets into the undesired state. This feature exists for the following artifact types:

  • Receive Locations, Orchestrations and Send Ports
  • Host Instances
  • Windows NT Services
  • SQL Server jobs
  • Logic Apps

As you can see from the list above, Azure Logic Apps monitoring can be decorated with Auto Correct. In case the Azure Logic App can’t be get back to the expected state, BizTalk360 will try to bring it to the desired state. You can also configure a maximum number of retries in the BizTalk360 portal. This is to prevent BizTalk360 to constantly keep on trying to bring the Azure Logic App back to the expected state, in case of some problem.

Multiple Azure Subscriptions
You might have multiple Azure subscriptions which contain different Azure Logic Apps. You can register all the relevant subscription and attach them to corresponding BizTalk Server environments within BizTalk360. This provides a seamless management/monitoring experience.

Data Monitoring of Logic Apps

With Data Monitoring of Azure Logic Apps, you can monitor for example whether:

  • expected number of runs are met in a certain time frame
  • a number of failures occur during a certain time frame
  • number of billable trigger executions in a certain time frame

The above scenarios are just an example – there are many more combinations.

Data Monitoring of Logic Apps will be discussed in more detail in another article, but here we just wanted to reveal a bit of that feature.

Conclusion

With the rise of Hybrid integration solutions, the job of BizTalk administrators has extended to the (Azure) cloud. BizTalk360 helps these administrators by providing operational and monitoring support for a number of Azure services, thereby taking away the need to constantly have to check the Azure portal to be aware of the health of these services.

In this article, we discussed the state monitoring capability of Azure Logic Apps. If you want to read more about the other Azure services BizTalk360 supports, just follow the articles in the Why did we built series.

You can read more on setting up Azure Logic Apps monitoring on our Documentation portal.

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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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