biztalk deployment best practices

Installing BizTalk360 in different Infrastructure models and its recommendations

Introduction

BizTalk360 is the one-stop solution for Microsoft BizTalk Server Administration, Monitoring and Analytics. The primary focus of the product is to manage the BizTalk Administrative tasks, easy BizTalk Application access and a more efficient graphical view to analyse tracking instances. BizTalk360 monitoring capabilities provide better control of the BizTalk environment with business transaction monitoring, BizTalk Artifacts monitoring, Platform Monitoring and Endpoints monitoring. BizTalk360 Analytics provides in-depth insight with charts of various performance metrics, throttling analyser and Reporting. In addition to these analytical capabilities, Analytics services have pushed the comprehensive analytical data to APM tools like New Relic, AppDynamics and Dynatrace.

BizTalk Server Architecture

BizTalk Server is an enterprise product that offers a tailor-made solution to communicate between applications in the organization or with external partner systems. BizTalk Server automates the business process that can transact the volume of messages. The scalable BizTalk Server Architecture infrastructure is required to handle the large volume of transactions. BizTalk Server supports different infrastructure models based on the business requirements of the enterprises that can adapt.

BizTalk Server Architecture

High Availability based on BizTalk Hosts

Most organizations have a multi-server BizTalk environment, receive handlers for the HTTP and SOAP adapters require a load-balancing mechanism such as Network Load Balancing (NLB) to provide high availability. Separate the BizTalk Nodes based on the different types of Hosts like Receive Host, Processing Host and Send Host. Scaling the number of servers depends on their business requirements. In smaller enterprises, BizTalk Hosts (Receive, Processing and Send) are available in two high available nodes (Node 1 and Node 2). In medium-sized enterprises, 1 set of High Available Nodes for Receive Host and another set of nodes for Processing and Send Hosts. In larger enterprises, infrastructure has scaled to multiple BizTalk Server (2- Send Hosts, 2- Processing Hosts and 2-Receive Hosts or more).

High Availability based on BizTalk Hosts

SQL Server High availability

In BizTalk Group setup SQL databases are configured in an active/passive server cluster configuration (high availability). In most common scenarios, BizTalk Databases (Management, message box, BAM, and Rules databases) are configured in one set of SQL Server clusters. Enterprise Single Sign-on database is configured in another set of SQL Server cluster nodes.

BizTalk360 Deployment options

You can choose the BizTalk360 Infrastructure that suits your BizTalk Server Architecture and Infrastructure Setup. Prerequisites of Hardware requirements vary based on the BizTalk Server Architecture and Tier of BizTalk360 license you have procured. For instance, the BizTalk group environment has more than 4 BizTalk Servers and two or more SQL Servers. This infrastructure model requires a higher hardware configuration in place.

Similarly, the network and software configurations are up to standard for the effective communication of Application Server, Database, and external endpoints. Here, you can have to deploy BizTalk360 components in the different infrastructure models. 

On-premises

Install the BizTalk360 components like Application Server, Windows Services (Monitoring and Analytics), and Database server in on-premises windows servers are in the internal domain.

The advantages of on-premises infrastructure have better performance since BizTalk Servers, SQL Server(s) and BizTalk360 are in the local domain.

The cons of this model are scaling out based on the requirement is time-consuming and updating the hardware accordingly.

High Availability

The users can opt to install BizTalk360 High availability for Web App using NLB. BizTalk360 Monitoring and Analytics services can install in multiple nodes. The active node windows services will do monitoring and analytical data collection.

In cloud Infrastructure

In complete cloud infrastructure like Azure/AWS, BizTalk360 components can be installed in a similar setup as On-premises including the high availability of Windows Services and including web components.

Pros of the cloud services,

  1. It is flexible to scale-up/scale-down the hardware configurations to support business requirements
  2. Cloud Resources has high availability of 99.9%, it reduces the downtime to zero percentage

Hybrid Deployment!

Deploying the BizTalk360 in Hybrid Infrastructure has the following possibilities

  1. BizTalk Servers and SQL Servers are deployed on the on-premises. Install the BizTalk360 components in Azure LaaS services or vice-versa deploy BizTalk360 in on-premises and BizTalk Servers, SQL Servers are hosted in Azure LaaS.
  2. Both BizTalk Group and BizTalk360 web components, Windows services are installed in on-premises infrastructure. BizTalk360 database can be configured Azure Infrastructure as Azure LaaS.

Challenges in Hybrid Infrastructure deployment

In distributed computing, there are some infrastructure challenges concerning network latency and data latency.

Network latency

Few customers have installed the BizTalk360 components in the Azure LaaS infrastructure. Administrating, monitoring their BizTalk environment is on-premises from BizTalk360 installed in the cloud. Communicating the BizTalk databases like BizTalk Management database, Message Box and BAM primary databases) is have network latency (data transfer) that causes the performance impact while fetching BizTalk Artifacts, Adapter properties from the BizTalk Management database. To overcome this challenge, set up the Cache Sync framework between on-premises and Azure services. It leads to infrastructure maintenance and shoots up the administrative cost.

 In an on-premises setup, consider the BizTalk Server/ SQL Servers communication to read/write data in SQL database files causes the lower performance. Some of the general performance issues are

  • High I/O during peak hours
  • Slow queries due to insufficient memory
  • Concurrency issue from locking or blocking.

Troubleshooting the concurrency issue is the challenging one with Hybrid infrastructure. The administrators should take care of latencies when they deploy the solution with this model.

Best Practices in Deploying BizTalk360

Some of the best practices in deploying the BizTalk360 in your landscape; It’s varied between the users, based on their BizTalk Architecture, No of Applications (Artifacts) and SQL Server Configuration.

Use Case#1: Install the BizTalk360 in Standalone Server(s)

BizTalk deployment best practices

Installing the BizTalk360 components in the standalone BizTalk360 Server(s) in on-premises/Cloud Infrastructure in which both BizTalk and SQL Servers are nearer to each other is the best deployment option. This architecture has provided better flexibility in managing and monitoring the BizTalk Servers. It can be monitored, even though your BizTalk Servers are down. In addition to this deploying your BizTalk360 Monitoring and Analytics services in multiple servers provides high availability of managing and monitoring the BizTalk environment. To know more about the BizTalk360 High availability installation, go through this article.

It is a better deployment option when your BizTalk group has more BizTalk Servers (more than 2 Servers) and SQL Servers. This architecture will reduce I/O throughputs of BizTalk SQL Servers/SQL Servers when BizTalk360 services fetch event log information through WMI calls, performance data (Perfmon) from a greater number of servers leads to higher I/O Disk utilization. BizTalk360 services can contact BizTalk/SQL servers to get the information of individual BizTalk/SQL Server(s) alone.

Use Case#2: Install the BizTalk360 in BizTalk Servers

BizTalk deployment best practices

In BizTalk Group Topology, you have 2 BizTalk Servers that are in high available nodes. To this model, you can install the BizTalk360 Web components, Monitoring and Analytics in both nodes of the BizTalk Server. It makes BizTalk360 Components as high availability. This deployment reduces the maintenance effort and the infrastructure cost.

Note: If you have more BizTalk/SQL Servers, deploying the BizTalk360 in standalone servers is the better option (Use Case#1) which will reduce the I/O throughputs of BizTalk Servers.

Use Case#3: Split the BizTalk360 Instances

As a best practice, you can deploy the BizTalk Group of Production environment in a separate BizTalk360 Instance. In that production BizTalk360 instance, if you have deployed more than two BizTalk Groups, you can move the BizTalk Group(s) into another instance. This has been easy for the Administration, Monitor the BizTalk Group(s) in a Single BizTalk360 Instance. It provides better manageability and high performance of the tool. Consider one of BizTalk Group downtime affects the BizTalk360 monitoring. In this scenario, monitoring of other Production BizTalk group(s) should not be affected by this incident.

You can opt to install BizTalk360 in the separate Instance for lower BizTalk environments like Staging, QA/Dev. It can provide flexibility if anything goes wrong in the production environment, you can replicate the scenarios in the lower environments. Separate Instance of BizTalk360 has another advantage, you can always deploy a newer version of BizTalk360 and make sure everything is fine with your business scenarios. Then you can upgrade to the latest version of the product in the production instance.

Note: If you want to know the instructions to install BizTalk360 in different architecture, follow this installation guide.

Conclusion

Hope this article provides insight about deploying BizTalk360 in On-premises and Cloud Infrastructure. And explained the best practices in installing BizTalk360 in your landscape with different use cases. Suppose you are a new BizTalk360 audience, you can try the latest version of BizTalk360 to Administrate, Monitor and get depth Analytical insight of your BizTalk group!