BizTalk360 version 5.0 BETA with exciting features, available for download

Posted at: 8/31/2012 at 2:33 PM by saravana

Monitoring DashboardWe are exited to announce the immediate availability of BizTalk360 version 5.0 BETA. This is one of the comprehensive release for BizTalk360 with the following set of new capabilities, enhancements, performance improvements and bug fixes.

The development for this release is frozen and we dedicated the whole of September for regression testing, bug fixes and minor usability improvements.

For time being we got bullet list of features that's coming in 5.0, over the month of September we will put more articles and video covering the topics.

You can download 5.0 beta here http://www.biztalk360.com/Content/beta

New Capabilities:

  • Monitoring Dashboard
  • Backup - Disaster Recovery configuration visualizer
  • Process monitoring for receive locations and send ports (aka silence/inactivity monitoring),
  • HP Operation Manager Integration
  • Support for Message Box Viewer (MBV) 12
  • Run MBV anytime directly from UI
  • Write alerts to Event Viewer (in addition to email, SMS, HP Operation manager alert)
  • Disable individual alerts

Enhancements

  • Clear exception messages during first launch
  • Select ALL applications during user access policy setting, monitoring setting etc.
  • Enhanced UI for monitoring sub-services management
  • Email template cleaned up, so empty sections won't be displayed.

Performance Improvements

  • Better application loading times, trimmed down unnecessary data when not required
  • Improved Environment/Platform setting load times
  • Improved monitoring service by avoiding unnecessary DB calls and consolidated DB calls

Bug Fixes

  • Issue when same user assigned as super user both by Role and Individual user
  • Identity Mapping issue, when a user is removed from certain role.
  • Governance data filter in multi environment configuration
  • HTTPS end points monitoring when using test certificates
  • Chrome caching issue when new BizTalk360 upgraded to new version
  • Unable to set MBV schedules on Tuesdays
  • Typos and grammatical exceptions messages in couple of places

Earn $10 for each bug you report

We wanted to thank people who are willing to helps and get excited about releases. So, we are offering $10 for each bug you report during the BETA testing period (till 31st September). The general guidelines and procedures to log the bug can be found here.

/Saravana Kumar

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BizTalk360 Process Monitoring Capabilities

Posted at: 8/8/2012 at 10:48 AM by saravana

Our new 5.0 feature coming in October 2012 release.

The idea behind process monitoring is simple, you are expected to receive certain amount of messages via your receive location or expected to send certain amount of messages via your send port in your BizTalk environment. If that doesn?t happen then there is a business implication and someone needs to be notified. That?s exactly what process monitoring all about.
Let?s take a look at some example scenarios.

  • Your trading partner sends you some files via FTP every day. If you receive the file, everything works smoothly, but what happens if there is a problem on your partner end (ex: some firewall patch) and you didn?t receive any messages from them for couple of days.
  • Similarly on the transmit/send side, you are supposed to send so many messages per hour, or per business day to your back end systems like SAP or to your trading partners.
  • You may want to keep an eye on the sales threshold, for ex: you expect to receive certain volume of messages in your system every business day from your trading partner(s).
BizTalk360 process monitoring is designed to help customers tackle the above scenarios, without any custom development. You can configure it within few minutes, you can read the full story and detailed options in our blog. Sample screen shot below:

image

/Nandri
Saravana Kumar

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Kovai Limited signs strategic partnership with Tallan Inc

Posted at: 7/19/2012 at 12:10 PM by saravana

Kovai Limited the owner of BizTalk360 based in London, yesterday signed a strategic partnership agreement with Tallan Inc

image image

Often times customers are bombarded with information making their life harder to decide on the right tool for their requirements. Partner organisations are the ones who work very closely with the customers, understanding their business requirements. For the past few months we were actively engaged in partnering with right organisation, who got similar vision to ours, "delivering value to Microsoft BizTalk Server customers".

As part of the journey, we are very excited to announce our new partnership with Tallan, Inc.

Tallan is headquartered in Hartford, CT, and has offices in New York, Boston, Tampa, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Tallan provides custom application development and integration services to customers in the financial services, healthcare, retail, government, media and entertainment, and manufacturing industries. Tallan are Microsoft National Systems Integrator (NSI) and Gold Competency Partner in various competencies, especially Application Integration.

You can read the full press release.

Over the next few weeks you'll see more such announcements from Kovai. We are actively looking for new partners around the world to bring on-board. If you work in the application integration area specializing in Microsoft BizTalk server and interested to become our partners and add value to your customers, please contact us at contact@biztalk360.com

/Saravana Kumar

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BizTalk360 blog Update

Posted at: 5/28/2012 at 7:18 AM by saravana

Over the last year or so most of my blog posts were predominantly dominated by posts related to BizTalk360. It wouldn't be a surprise for most of the readers, given my association with BizTalk360.

Now BizTalk360 has grown into a well known product with team working behind it and customers over 10 countries (we finally added UK to the list :-) and Finland), it's time to setup it's own blog dedicated to product updates and write some cool things around monitoring, support, operation and administration of both BizTalk Server and BizTalk360. That's exactly what we have done, you can reach BizTalk360  blog here http://blog.biztalk360.com and you can subscribe to the RSS feed here http://feeds.feedburner.com/biztalk360

There are some nice contents added recently,

Moving BizTalk360 contents to it's own blog will help me write more about my personal interests in this blog. I'm intending to write more about my entrepreneurial journey, stay tuned.

Once again, I request my 8k+ subscribers to give the same support to the new BizTalk360 RSS feed http://feeds.feedburner.com/biztalk360 please subscribe.

Nandri!

Saravana

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Are you using schedules/service windows in Receive Locations/Send Ports

Posted at: 5/21/2012 at 6:12 AM by saravana

There are some challenges in using BizTalk administration console if you are taking advantage of schedule/service window capabilities in BizTalk receive locations and Send ports.

If you are one of those customers with lots of scheduled receive locations and send ports, then you need to take a look at this blog post "BizTalk Receive Locations/Send Ports with service window - BizTalk360 can make your life easy"

Please add BizTalk360 RSS feed http://feeds.feedburner.com/biztalk360 to your reader to get product updates.

Nandri!

Saravana Kumar

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BizTalk360 first anniversary

Posted at: 5/7/2012 at 11:03 AM by saravana

In UK we got a policy of shifting the bank holidays that comes in the middle of the week to following Monday, so people can have an extended weekend. Last year's 1st May bank holiday was shifted to 2nd May, on that day we released our very first version of BizTalk360 CTP to public. Today is 7th May, alternative to 2012's 1st May holiday.

1st-anniversary

We introduced BizTalk360 with a very powerful tag line "Worlds first BizTalk production support and monitoring tool". We clearly understood, being first doesn't mean anything (Google is not the first search engine, iPOD is not the first MP3 player and Windows is not the first GUI OS to give few examples). It's all about innovation and constant improvement that either makes or breaks the product.

In the following chart we summarize our improvement over the last 1 year. We release 4 major versions in the past 1 year. We simply didn't increase the version number for every simple updates, each version came with substantial functionality that ease the life of BizTalk administrators and support people in a day to day activity.

v1.0 v2.1 v2.5 v3.2 v4.0 BETA
Release Date May-11 Aug-11 Oct-11 Feb-12 May-12
Features          
1 Web based console        
2 Application management        
3 Advanced Authorization        
4 Governance/Auditing        
5 Topology        
6 BAM Portal        
7 Query Instances        
8 Advanced Event Viewer        
9 Dashboards        
10 Platform Settings        
11 SQL Instance view        
12   Monitoring/Notification      
13   Clustered Host Instances Handling      
14     Knowledgebase    
15     Role based Security    
16     Message Box Viewer Integration    
17     Monitoring/Notification Improvements    
18       Graphical Message Flow  
19       Throttling Analyser  
20       SMS Alerting  
21       Tracking Manager  
22       Advanced Event View Improvements  
23         Custom SQL Queries
24         Monitoring plugin architecture
25         Monitoring Enhancements

In the past 1 year we got customers over 10 countries, covering various industry sectors. Most of the customers are large scale enterprise customers, some of them are well known retail brands. Never thought the shirts I wear and the world famous trainers I use for my tennis (companies) will become my customers one day!!.

I whole heartedly thank every one who helped us to achieve this milestone. All my MVP and community friends, my close family and friends. We haven't paused yet, we already started planning for what's coming after 4.0 (keep tuned).

NOTE: BizTalk360 got it's own blog now, so if you want to keep up to date with product improvements, please subscribe to http://feeds.feedburner.com/biztalk360

Nandri!

Saravana Kumar

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BizTalk360 BETA 4.0, with most anticipated features released

Posted at: 5/4/2012 at 7:29 AM by saravana

Yesterday we announced the immediate availability of BizTalk360 V4.0, you can download it and start using it straight away from here http://www.biztalk360.com/Content/beta

Now BizTalk360 got it's own blog, please subscribe http://feeds.feedburner.com/biztalk360 to get regular updates on our progress.

One of the major improvements we have made for BizTalk360 v4.0 is extending our monitoring capabilities.

System Resource Monitoring

In previous version, customers were able to monitor all the artifacts related to BizTalk Applications (send ports, receive locations, orchestrations, and host instances status) + they can set alerts based on Message box viewer report (when critical or non-critical errors above certain level). But with BizTalk360 v4.0, customers can monitor and get alerted in various areas as listed below

1. BizTalk Applications (simple)
2. BizTalk Applications (Advanced)

  • Send Ports
  • Receive Locations
  • Orchestrations
3. BizTalk Servers
  • NT Services
  • Disks
  • Event Logs
  • System Resources (CPU, Memory)
4. SQL Instances
  • SQL Jobs
5. BizTalk Environment
  • Host Instances
  • Web Endpoints (WCF/SOAP services, HTTP endpoints)

6. Message Box Viewer

We have written a detailed blog post with lots of pictures showing various functionalities in detail in our new official BizTalk360 blog

http://blog.biztalk360.com/post/2012/05/04/BizTalk360-v40-Beta-Extended-Monitoring-Capabilities.aspx

Now BizTalk360 got it's own blog (http://blog.biztalk360.com/), please subscribe http://feeds.feedburner.com/biztalk360 to get regular updates on our progress.

Nandri!

Saravana Kumar

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BizTalk360 v4.0 BETA available for download - Custom SQL Queries

Posted at: 5/3/2012 at 6:25 AM by saravana

We are very pleased and excited (as always) to announce the immediate availability of BizTalk360 version 4.0 beta. You can download it from here http://www.biztalk360.com/content/beta

The core focus for 4.0 is enhancing the monitoring capabilities of BizTalk360 to infrastructure related things. As a bonus we also included the ability to maintain/execute custom SQL queries within BizTalk360. In this article, we will see the capabilities of Custom SQL Queries and in the next post I'll cover the monitoring enhancements

Custom SQL Queries:

When you are actively managing a BizTalk environment, the BizTalk admin and support people typically maintain a bunch of custom SQL queries as their armour to check the health of the system. You can see some of the good resources here for useful BizTalk SQL Queries biztalkadmin, biztalkadminsbloggingtechnet. At the moment there is no easy way to maintain those queries, and you always need to access SQL management studio to execute them, and more than that you need to provide permission for users to execute those queries across various SQL instances and databases. We wanted to make this task easy for BizTalk admins and support people using BizTalk360.

We added a new link to our data section called "Custom SQL Queries" in our navigation tree, as shown in the below picture.

BizTalk Custom SQL Queries - Navigation

Once the user click on the link, "Custom SQL Queries - Report" screen will be displayed. The screen contains a combo box with list of pre-defined SQL queries as shown below. The user (BizTalk360 admin user) will have the ability to add new SQL query, or modify/delete existing queries.

Custom SQL Queries - Report

The user simply select the query from the combo box and the result will be displayed in the grid below. Example: In the below screen user selected the query "Sendports NOT Started", which brings all the send ports in the environment that are not in started state, as shown below.

Custom SQL Queries Report

Custom SQL Query management:

BizTalk360 comes with set of inbuilt SQL queries, we are planning to add more queries to the default install over the future releases. BizTalk360 comes with complete query management capabilities. As shown in the below window, BizTalk360 administrators can add new query, modify/delete existing query, using this simple screen.

Custom SQL Queries Management

Benefits of Custom SQL query functionality:

There are few great advantages of this functionality. 

1. User can execute the query from single management tool. No necessity for SQL server management studio

2. Central Query repository, that makes maintaining queries easier. No more SharePoint or Wiki

3. The end users (support people) don't need to have access to SQL. The queries will be executed in the context of service account, so only the service account requires access.

4. You can include queries against any SQL instance/Database. As long as the service account got access to them.

In the next article we'll cover the big functionality of BizTalk360 v4.0, extended infrastructure monitoring capabilities.

Nandri!
Saravana Kumar
Founder - BizTalk360

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BizTalk Administration Special - User group meeting 10th May 2012

Posted at: 4/30/2012 at 1:25 PM by saravana

Finally we managed to secure our next user group meeting on 10th May 2012. We settled for the theme BizTalk Administration Special. In recent month, there are whole lot of traction around BizTalk administration and operations. Guys at BizTalk Administration Blogging (http://biztalkadminsblogging.com/) are doing a great job in promoting the importance of a BizTalk administrators role in an organisation.

Event Information:

When: 10th May 2012, Thursday, between 6:30 to 9:30pm

Where:  Customer Meeting Room 05
Microsoft, Cardinal Place
London

Registration Link: http://ukcsugmay2012-eorg.eventbrite.com/

Let me introduce Tord Glad Nordahl. Tord is from Norway, working for Bouvet ASA. He is establishing himself as an expert in BizTalk administration area. He is conducting the famous BizTalk Deep Dive course across the world. He got a dedicated blog for BizTalk Administration at http://biztalkadmin.com I met him few months ago in Netherlands during a user group presentation. We bounced back and forth few emails and he kindly accepted to come and present in London.

We are going to have 2 sessions focused on BizTalk administrations. First Tord is going to focus on insisting developers should keep BizTalk Administration in mind while building solutions. Next I'm going to present BizTalk360 (http://www.biztalk360.com ) and show how it can improve the efficiency of administration, operations and monitoring side of BizTalk environment. Both the sessions will complement each other.

London user group is special for us, this is where we announced for the first time in public about BizTalk360 exactly a year ago (http://ukcsbugmay2011.eventbrite.com/). It's one year on, with 3 major releases (v1.0, v2.5, v3.2) and the fourth one coming end of May.

Please register for the event if you are in/around London. We guarantee it will be worth while of your time.

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BizTalk360 Live Webcast - Current State and what's coming in vNext

Posted at: 4/10/2012 at 6:38 AM by saravana

We released version 3.2 of BizTalk360 on 7th of February with bunch of interesting features. Straight after that we merged ourselves on the our 4.0 version which is due to be released end of May.

Live Web Cast : 18th April 2012. Details and registration can be found here.

The main focus for 4.0 version is to expand BizTalk360 existing monitoring capabilities to other core infrastructure related areas like disk space, NT services running state, SQL jobs running state, system resources like CPU, Memory, Event Log patterns etc.

The other important thing we included in 4.0 is a plug-in architecture, monitoring sections can be written in isolation and can be plugged-in into BizTalk360 core monitoring system. These is super useful for customer who got very specific monitoring requirements. Example: One of customers want to do some sequence of steps,

1. Get a value of the element in the config file using xpath,
2. Check the database for some relevant value based on the previous config file value.
3. Alert if the database value is not expected value.

In the past BizTalk customers always got some custom in-house solution to do these kind of things. But now you can easily create such custom monitoring in BizTalk360 and make it part of your overall monitoring solution.

Why not SCOM Monitoring?

There is no question an enterprise monitoring solution like System Center operation manager(SCOM), HPOpenview or something equivalent can do these kind of jobs, but there are some real practical challenges.

1. They are complex products in themselves, and requires considerable knowledge to set it up

2. They are general purpose monitoring products and they look heavy and complicated for some of the basic scenarios

3. It's often time consuming to setup SCOM or HPOpenview in an organisation, which could range from weeks to months.

With BizTalk360 our focus is to to concentrate only on Microsoft BizTalk Server related areas. We try to keep it as simple as possible. Our focus is to setup BizTalk environment monitoring in few minutes or hours, NOT days, weeks or months.

Come and join our BizTalk360 Live Webcast on 18th April 2012, and check for yourself what we have to offer. We are doing two session on the same day to cover east and west time zones. The details of the event and registration can be done here.

Nandri!

Saravana Kumar

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