BizTalk High Availability supported features in BizTalk360

|  Posted: February 5, 2021  |  Categories: BizTalk Server
Tags: BizTalk360

Introduction BizTalk Server is the middleware that is being used by many Enterprise customers. It has been evolved significantly from the initial version of BizTalk Server 2000 to the latest version of BizTalk Server version 2020. In a common scenario, BizTalk enables companies to integrate and manage automated business processes by messages between disparate applications, … Continue reading BizTalk High Availability supported features in BizTalk360

Introduction

BizTalk Server is the middleware that is being used by many Enterprise customers. It has been evolved significantly from the initial version of BizTalk Server 2000 to the latest version of BizTalk Server version 2020.

In a common scenario, BizTalk enables companies to integrate and manage automated business processes by messages between disparate applications, within or across organizational boundaries. BizTalk Server is playing a vital role to manage the data across the applications. So, to be sure that the business transactions are properly being processed, BizTalk Server availability is critical in the enterprise integration scenario.

BizTalk Group – High Availability

Microsoft has evolved the architecture of BizTalk Server to guarantee high availability in integration scenarios. Designing a BizTalk Server deployment that provides high availability involves implementing redundancy for each functional component involved in an application integration or business process integration.

BizTalk Server simplifies the implementation of these scenarios by conceptually separating the data from the hosts that process the data.

High availability for BizTalk Server involves running multiple host instances and clustering the BizTalk Server databases as follows:

BizTalk Hosts

BizTalk Server lets you separate hosts and runs multiple host instances to provide high availability for key functions such as receiving messages, processing orchestrations, and sending messages.

  1. Active-Active Deployment
  2. When BizTalk Hosts are deployed in multiple BizTalk servers, these hosts do not require any additional clustering or load-balancing mechanism because BizTalk Server automatically distributes workload across multiple computers through host instances.

  1. Active-Passive Deployment
  2. However, hosts running the receive handler for the POP3, MSMQ and FTP adapters require a load-balancing mechanism such as Network Load Balancing (NLB) to provide high availability

BizTalk Server Databases

High availability for the BizTalk Server databases typically consists of two or more database computers configured in an active/passive server cluster configuration.

The SQL Server Always On feature provides high availability through active/passive server clustering. With Windows Server Failover Clustering you can configure two database computers that are running SQL Server to create a SQL server cluster. Server clustering provides redundancy and fault tolerance for the BizTalk Server databases. Unlike load-balanced clustering, where a group of computers functions together to increase availability and scalability, server clustering typically involves a pair of database computers in an active/passive configuration so that one computer provides backup resources.

High availability BizTalk Server databases

Note: Organizations can adapt the following BizTalk Server architecture that suits their business requirement.

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BizTalk360 supports High Availability

Now, we understand the BizTalk Server High Availability options, let us see how BizTalk360 can help you keep track of BizTalk Server High Availability. The below list shows the BizTalk High Availability features and how you can keep track on them in BizTalk360.

BizTalk

BizTalk360

BizTalk Server Architecture

Topology

BizTalk Server High Availability

Server Availability Monitoring (BizTalk and SQL Server)

BizTalk Hosts

Host Throttling Monitoring

Host Instances

Cluster Host Instances Monitoring

Shared Disk

Cluster Disk Monitoring

NT Services

NT Services – High Availability

Topology

In the Topology feature, the BizTalk Server Architecture has been represented in graphical format. It will help to understand BizTalk High Availability in an easy way. In practice, architects design the BizTalk environment topology diagram using Visio or other graphical visualization tools. The BizTalk Server Architecture will be different in environments like SIT, UAT, Staging, Performance, and Production. It becomes time-consuming for administrators to update the topology diagrams. When more servers are added to the environment, the existing diagrams become obsolete and will not represent the real topology of the environment.

BizTalk Server Architecture

BizTalk360 overcomes this problem by understanding the complete infrastructure of the server platform and plots the dynamic topology diagram of the BizTalk server environment. The diagram is intelligently created; if a new server component is added to the environment, BizTalk360 immediately updates the topology diagram with the new component. This eliminates the need for administrators to manually update the topology diagrams created using Visio and avoid the problem of having outdated diagrams.

Server Availability Monitoring

BizTalk Server Availability

In a real-world scenario, large enterprises will typically have one or more sets of deployed BizTalk environments. Each BizTalk environment has one or more BizTalk application servers that handle all the message processing. That means that these servers are crucial for the well-being of the processing of your business processes.

BizTalk Server Availability

In any complex BizTalk Server group configuration, there are high possibilities that, for various reasons, 1 or more servers can go down. It becomes a highly daunting task for the BizTalk administrators to continuously monitor the server availability and react to the downtime quickly. To help administrators to overcome this challenge, BizTalk360 has the BizTalk Server Availability Monitoring functionality.

SQL Server Availability

Like BizTalk Server Availability, SQL Server Availability (SQL Server Always On) is important in BizTalk Integration scenarios. To monitor SQL Server Availability, a new feature is going to be introduced in the upcoming BizTalk360 version 10.0. BizTalk Server highly depends on its SQL Server databases for storing messages, picking them up for processing, maintaining the state and configuration of all kinds of artifacts, and many other tasks. Therefore, it is crucial that BizTalk Server can access its databases via SQL Server. Especially in Production environments, often Fail-over Clusters or Availability Groups are used for SQL Server high availability. BizTalk360 provides SQL Server Availability monitoring to understand if SQL Server is working like expected.

Host Throttling Monitoring

The Host Throttling Monitoring feature helps the Administrator to monitor the performance of BizTalk Hosts in the BizTalk Group. The BizTalk360 monitoring service will notify the customers if there is any throttling happening in their environment through various notification channels like Email, Slack, ServiceNow, etc.

Host Throttling Monitoring

Monitoring Clustered Hosts Instances

To achieve high availability for adapters that cannot have multiple host instances running at one point in time, BizTalk allows you to cluster hosts using Windows Failover Clustering. This will make only one host instance running for the clustered host and in case of any failure, it will failover by running the host instance in a different server.

BizTalk360 has the capability of monitoring clustered host instances. Setting up monitoring for clustered instances is the same as monitoring all other artifacts in a BizTalk Server environment.

Monitoring Clustered Hosts Instances

Cluster Host Instance monitoring can be achieved with the state ‘At Least One Active’. Monitoring on this expected state will keep a watch on the clustered host instance, to see if one of the two host instances is active at any point in time. If no host instance for the clustered host is active, BizTalk360 will trigger an alert and a notification will be sent to your notification channels. 

Shared Disk Monitoring

Monitoring the Clustered (Shared) Disk is an important feature that helps Administrators to manage the high availability resources in BizTalk and SQL Servers. To prevent running out of disk space, it is generally a good practice to monitor those disks. You can set up disk monitoring of the BizTalk server(s)/SQL server(s) configured with the cluster network name. This allows alarms to generate alerts when the server in a cluster setup goes down.

Cluster NT Services Monitoring

Through Failover Clustering, you can make almost anything highly available. This does not only include programs and applications, but you can make any Windows NT Service running on the cluster highly available – even if it is custom service or from a third party. You can add the SQL Server Network Friendly Name or Physical Node separately in the monitoring and notification section. When you have added the Network Friendly name then there is no need to add the physical cluster node. BizTalk360 will monitor both nodes under the Network Friendly name which achieves the cluster NT Services monitoring.

Cluster NT Services Monitoring

Conclusion

In this article, we have covered the individual features that support High Availability in a BizTalk Group. We wanted to give a consolidated overview of the features in BizTalk360 that support High Availability of both BizTalk and SQL Server in BizTalk360. Hope this article gives insights into the BizTalk360 features that support BizTalk High Availability. Happy Integration!

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