Monday, November 4, 2013

BizTalk360 Proactive Monitoring beyond just BizTalk

We currently leverage BizTalk360 to help maintain our Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) implemented with BizTalk Server.  One of the things I especially like about BizTalk360 is it's proactive monitoring.  With the flexibility of BizTalk360, our production environment has been set-up with monitoring of:
  • BizTalk Applications - Receive Ports, Send Ports, Orchestrations, and Suspended Messages are all areas we are alerted to when there is a problem.
  • BizTalk WCF Services -  WCF Services for BizTalk Receive Locations hosted in Internet Information Services (IIS).
  • BizTalk Host Instances - Our BizTalk host instances are monitored to ensure they are in a started state.
  • SQL Server jobs related to BizTalk - monitoring the success of jobs like DTA Purge and Archive that help maintain the health of BizTalk.
  • Message Box Viewer (MBV) - a tool that can help identify problematic areas in your BizTalk environment, it is verified that the tool runs successfully every night.
Recently we came into an issue where the proactive monitoring alerted us to a number of applications with a high number of suspended messages.  After troubleshooting this for a while, it was determined that one of the subscribing systems (we use the publish/subscribe message pattern a lot) web services server had become overloaded and couldn't process any more incoming messages.  After the issue was resolved, we had a follow up meeting to discuss what we could do better in the future.  BizTalk360 came to the rescue!

BizTalk360 can be configured for not only BizTalk but other systems as well, especially if they have implemented web services.  How do you do this?  First open BizTalk360 and navigate to the "Monitor and Notify" tab and select the "BizTalk Environment" from the left menu pane:

Select the alarm that you want to set-up the alert for from the right hand pane "Choose Alarm" pull down option (You need to have already created an alarm in order to configure it).  Click the "Add new Web Endpoint" button:

The next step is to fill out the "Add new Web Endpoint for monitoring" form with the appropriate information like the "URL" field and the "Expected Return Code" field:

Once created, the alarm will trigger every time the expected return code isn't received.  In our case, the alarm is set-up to email not only the BizTalk team but the team responsible for the subscribing web service server.  This has also been enabled for all subscribing applications where web services are the main mode of transportation.  Kudos to the BizTalk360 team for their forward thinking on monitoring beyond the BizTalk environment!
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