BizTalk Monitoring Tools

BizTalk Monitoring Tools

Introduction

Managing BizTalk can be done with the out of the box Administration Console, which focuses on BizTalk Group itself, managing applications, adapters,  and for troubleshooting purposes. It is not suitable for monitoring BizTalk, generating alerts and notifications. Commercially and through CodePlex there are products and tools available that can fulfill monitoring requirement for an enterprise/organization. These product/tools are:

System Center Operation Manager

Microsoft offers System Center Operation Manager (SCOM) enables overall end-to-end monitoring of your entire enterprise IT infrastructure and its applications (i.e. other server products like BizTalk, Exchange, and third party software). Through a single UI an administrator and/or engineer can monitor the health, performance and availability of data center environments – across applications, operating systems, hypervisors and even hardware through usage of management packs. SCOM uses the term management pack to refer to a set of filtering rules specific to some monitored application like BizTalk Server. This management pack after importing into SCOM offers two views one intended for BizTalk administrator/operator and one for Enterprise IT administrator:
  • Application View: A BizTalk administrator or operator is able with this view to monitor the state and health of various BizTalk Server artifacts and applications such as orchestrations send ports, receive locations, and so on.
  • Deployment View: An enterprise IT administrator is able with this view to monitor the state and health of the various enterprise deployments the machines hosting the SQL Server databases, machines hosting the SSO service, host instance machines, IIS, network services, and so on.
You can learn or evaluate SCOM through administration course Microsoft has made available:
The following resources will provide more background and information:

HP OpenView

HP OpenView provides software for large-scale system and network management of an organization's IT infrastructure. It is a suite of business computer management  programs from Hewlett-Packard (HP). An IT professionals can use OpenView to manage applications, device availability, network conditions and status, system performance, service and program maintenance, and storage resources. This is quite similar to what SCOM has to offer. You will find more information in the Whitepaper Monitoring BizTalk Server with HP OpenView.

HP OpenView is end-of-life-cycle however. In 2007 it was rebranded when it became part of HP Software Division.

Alternative solutions BizTalk Monitoring

Monitoring BizTalk can be done using SCOM or HP OpenView by administrators and issues can be diagnosed and resolved using BizTalk administration console with or without combination of other tools (BizTalk Server 2010 - Tools). To use SCOM solely for BizTalk monitoring might be too costly for mid-sized organization or even an enterprise. The product requires highly skilled people to implement and operate SCOM, and it has a steep learning curve. Besides the skillset it also requires an investments in fair amount of hard- and software. Since SCOM can monitor any Microsoft product, Azure and third-party products it would be waste of resources to just use SCOM for monitoring BizTalk. SCOM be a perfect combination with some tools listed in this article and/or HP OpenView.

Integration Platform Monitor


Integration Platform Monitor is a specialized solution to monitor BizTalk centric integration solutions. Formally this product was called BizMon and developed by Richard Hallgren. Last year May 2010 BizMon Integration Monitoring tool (BizMon) was acquired by Communicate Norge AS (Communicate), and is now owned, maintained and supported by Communicate. It is currently at version 2.0. The following resources can be used to download the tool, find guidance in usage and background information:

BizTalk 360


BizTalk360 is a web based BizTalk monitoring and support tool for Microsoft BizTalk Server. It addresses some of the common problems customers face today like governance/auditing, fine grained authentication, remote access and so on. The product has been developed by Saravana Kumar and is currently available in version 6.5. Version 7 is expected in September/October 2013. BizTalk360 supports version 2006 and up. It can be downloaded from the product site and is easy to evaluate on any BizTalk environment. The following resources reveal more background information and some user experience stories:

Minotaur


Minotaur is a complete end to end solution for monitoring BizTalk Server Enterprise solutions. Minotaur provides a web-based user interface with a simple and intuitive dashboard, providing your operations staff with a real-time view of their BizTalk environments. This product was owned and maintained by Raging Bull Tech, but 1st of November Inobits Inc has acquired Minotaur and will support it. It is currently at version 2.0.  Minotaur supports all BizTalk versions. The following resources can be used to download the tool, find guidance in usage and background information:

Frends Helium


FRENDS Helium is a web-based monitoring tool for your BizTalk Server installations. This product is owned and maintained by company Frends. It is currently at version 1.1. Helium supports BizTalk Server 2009 / 2006 R2 / 2006 environments. The following resources can be used to download the tool, find guidance in usage and background information:

Codit Integration Dashboard


The Codit Integration Dashboard is a web based management tool that allows functional key users to monitor and manage the integration processes of their own business domain. This product is owned and maintained by company Codit. It is currently at version 3.22 and supports BizTalk Server 2006 and up. The following resource can be used to find more information:

Moesion


Moesion is new product target to provide monitor capabilities to tablets and/or smart phones. This product is owned and maintained by company TellagoStudios. It is currently at version 1.0 and supports BizTalk Server 2004 and up. The following resources can be used to download the tool, find guidance in usage and background information:

BizTalk Control Center


BizTalk Control Center (BCC) is a remote BizTalk monitoring and management application. BCC can be used to deploy, monitor and administer BizTalk Artifacts. It is a CodePlex project maintained by Naveen Karamchetti and Kutub Shikora. It is currently at version 3.2 and supports BizTalk 2006 and up. The following resources can be used to download the tool, find guidance in usage and background information:

BizTalk Processing Monitor

BizTalk Processing Monitor (or BPM) tool enables you to monitor message flow through your BizTalk systems. Most monitoring software mentioned in this article monitor for example the availability of endpoints. Important to know if your endpoints are up-and-running, yet this does not guarantee that messages actually are flowing through your system. BPM provides that insight and in case of any interruptions, the user will got notified. Tool is currently in its public beta.

AIMS Innovation

AIMS is a platform technology which monitors and analyzes traffic that flows through a multi-system bus and presents it graphically. The solution provides monitoring and alerting, web-interface, a topological map and trend analysis. The drill down capabilities enable the user to focus on specific applications or components, processes or problem areas. Color-coding of the nodes and edges enables the user to quickly check and verify the status of the BizTalk server and integrations. The alerts are based on trends: AIMS for BizTalk Server will alert the users if the trends shows signs of values outside calculated normal deviations. For instance, a given process shows signs of increasing traffic over a period of time, thus posing a threat in regard to load on the server in the future if this trend continues. AIMS for BizTalk Server will, without setting any thresholds, alert the users that there is a possible threat, based on analysis of historical data for the process and the calculated trend.

Nagios with op5 Monitor

Nagios is an open source computer system monitoring, network monitoring and infrastructure monitoring software application, which is based on Linux. Nagios offers monitoring and alerting services for servers, switches, applications, and services. It alerts the users when things go wrong and alerts them a second time when the problem has been resolved.

The following BizTalk artifacts can be monitored with a plugin, which is developed by op5:

  • Ports
  • Send ports
  • Queues
  • Location
  • Orchestrations
  • Cluster Host Instance process
  • Spool size
  • MSDTC process

In addition to this it's also possible to monitor BizTalk related metrics and performance counters.

More information can be found at the following resources:

Conclusion

SCOM and HP OpenView both offer end-to-end monitoring of your entire enterprise IT infrastructure and its applications and are part of a suite of products. Focus of both products are enterprise wide and for some organizations too costly to implement when it comes down to solely monitoring BizTalk Server. SCOM and HP OpenView can be a good combination, where one can benefit from BizTalk Management Pack. When organizations do not have either of these in place and desire to have a monitoring solution in place they can opt for one of the alternative tools, which all offer a web-interface, support latest BizTalk versions and some offer a broad set of extra features. These tools also can be combined with SCOM/HP OpenView as they complement them. There are quite a few options when it comes down to implement a monitoring solution and it is worth exploring each option and look at offers of all products and tools. In case it comes down to comparing products or combining them that review resources in this article can be worthwhile your time.


See Also

Read suggested related topics:

Another important place to find a huge amount of BizTalk related articles is the TechNet Wiki itself. The best entry point is BizTalk Server Resources on the TechNet Wiki.
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