5 Infrastructure Monitoring Mistakes Your Organization May Be Making

|  Posted: April 20, 2021  |  Categories: BizTalk Server 2020
Tags: BizTalk360

Over the last 6+ years of experience, I have noticed some of the important features which most of the organization missed to monitor. There are two major types of infrastructure, On-premise, Cloud BizTalk360 being an on-premise product is the one-stop monitoring tool to monitor the BizTalk environment. It not only monitors the BizTalk artifacts but … Continue reading 5 Infrastructure Monitoring Mistakes Your Organization May Be Making

Over the last 6+ years of experience, I have noticed some of the important features which most of the organization missed to monitor. There are two major types of infrastructure,

  1. On-premise,
  2. Cloud

BizTalk360 being an on-premise product is the one-stop monitoring tool to monitor the BizTalk environment. It not only monitors the BizTalk artifacts but also monitors the infrastructure as well.

In this blog, we will take a look at the top 5 Infrastructure monitoring mistakes your organization may be making in On-premise and how BizTalk360 helps in effective monitoring.

Most organizations know that they need to monitor their environment to ensure their application uptime and keep their business running. Yet, many applications still suffer from outages first reported by their customers due to small/big mistakes made with their infrastructure monitoring and how BizTalk360 solves.

Why Do You Need to Worry about Infrastructure Monitoring?

Let’s simply put, infrastructure monitoring is the oxygen to your infrastructure, collecting all the data for a complete picture of availability, performance, and resource efficiency.

Infrastructure Monitoring

Why Is This Important and Why Do You Need It?

Let’s look at the world today. As businesses have, and continue to, change the way they work, they are relying on their applications and services as their only revenue stream. Performance is mission-critical to these organizations.

On the flip side, let’s look at the end-user. Millions of people across the world have put a massive strain on these organizations’ digital properties – from unemployment claims and small business loans to telehealth and grocery shopping – these applications and services are mission-critical for an individual as they’re needed for their quality of life.

A major cause for infrastructure monitoring is being able to deal with these types of scenarios, proactively, which will prevent loss of time and money. Therefore, infrastructure monitoring is the essence of mission-critical applications

Here are some of the most common monitoring mistakes that you may make with the infrastructure,

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Windows Events

The Windows Event Viewer is an administrative tool found in all versions of Windows. It allows you to view events, errors, and additional important information about what’s happening under the hood in your operating system.

Windows Events

When you are using Windows, the operating system keeps a record of important and useful information about what is happening on the computer. This information is stored in a series of logs known collectively as the Windows Event Log.

Let’s say security breaches often go unnoticed for weeks or months, and some are never uncovered. Investigations usually show evidence of breaches in server event logs but because of the volume of data collected, it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Windows Server logs contain a mass of useful information but finding events that might indicate an operational issue or security breach requires a carefully planned auditing and monitoring strategy.

Need to take special care for monitoring the windows events.

For Windows events, In BizTalk360, the administrator can configure alerts for a particular event log/source(s) by defining a filter condition on the available event logs and request to be notified, when there are more than a specific number of alerts/warnings from the server. Refer to the articles for more details about speedy notifications and timely notifications.

Configure Alerts

SQL Server Jobs

A job is a specified series of operations performed sequentially by SQL Server Agent. A job can perform a wide range of activities, including running Transact-SQL scripts, command prompt applications, Microsoft ActiveX scripts, Integration Services packages, Analysis Services commands, and queries, or Replication tasks.

SQL Server Jobs

SQL Server Agent uses SQL Server to store job information. Jobs contain one or more job steps. Each step contains its own task, for example, backing up a database.

SQL Server Agent can run a job on a schedule, in response to a specific event, or on-demand. For example, if you want to back up all the company servers every weekday after hours, you can automate this task. Schedule the backup to run after 22:00 Monday through Friday. If the backup encounters a problem, SQL Server Agent can record the event and notify you.

We can simply find if a SQL agent is running when you go to the services window. But what if a job fails and it skipped to automate the task? We will not be notified until if we check manually. Usually, we have to create a PowerShell script or configure a Database email that will be used to check the job status and notify the status.

For SQL Jobs, BizTalk360 allows the administrators to set the threshold for Job State and Last Run. Also, as an out-of-box feature, BizTalk360 automatically enables the Job state if it is disabled. Refer to the following articles for more details on SQL jobs and NT Services.

Infrastructure Monitoring best practices

Server Availablity

In a real-world scenario, large enterprises will typically have one or more sets of deployed BizTalk environments. Whenever there is a failure in one of the servers, the server by itself will switch over to another server in high availability and cluster scenarios to make the server always available.

Typically, as mentioned earlier these complex BizTalk Server groups are configured for high availability and scalability keeping in mind the high volume of traffic. With such a setup, administrators will be under high pressure of making sure all the BizTalk Servers are up and running to process all the messages at the expected level.

Server Availablity

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.

What if the entire node goes down? We all know if we missed noticing the server down what will be the business impact. Do we have any methods to find the failure? Usually no, we have to actively watch the server’s availability.

Usually, some organizations will create a PowerShell script to ping the server’s availability.

For the Server Availability, BizTalk360 can monitor the BizTalk Server availability. Availability monitoring solves the most important problems of the BizTalk Administrators. This feature will answer the question “Are the BizTalk Servers up and running?”. BizTalk administrators can choose the option when to receive the alert; either if one of the BizTalk Servers in the group has gone down or only when all the servers in the group have gone down. Refer to the article for more details.

BizTalk Server Availablity

CPU, Disk Usage and Memory

It’s important to make sure the physical infrastructure of your environment like servers, disks, CPU, memory, etc., are healthy for proper functioning.

Performance is one of the main aspects to be considered in any software. In the heaviest traffic network involving servers with a huge volume of message transmissions, it is important to check for the throttling conditions and identify the source for throttling to take corrective measures.

Infrastructure Monitoring best practices

A server’s health can be determined by many factors, out of which CPU, disk, and memory are among them. Measuring the utilization of the hardware resources within each device in your organization is key to evaluate both the efficiency of devices and the impact of resource consumption on end-user experience.

BizTalk Server makes use of several different Microsoft technologies, each of which can consume a significant portion of the memory, disk, and CPU resources available on the BizTalk server and the SQL server that contains the BizTalk Server databases. Monitoring these counters is essential for the smooth functioning of the servers to continue the tasks without any hindrance.

Most of the organizations will miss monitoring the usage at the early stage and monitor the usage manually.

For CPU, Memory, and Disk

The resources monitored under this section are CPU and Memory usage of the BizTalk and/or SQL Server. You can configure BizTalk360 to alert you when the CPU and Memory go below the specified threshold percentage.

Also, BizTalk360 can monitor the cluster disk, the Network server will get the active SQL server and the associated disk. In BizTalk360, you can view the currently active node, you can start monitoring the disk in the clustered server by enabling them for monitoring. Once after the failover, the network server name will automatically switch to the currently active node, and BizTalk360 disk monitoring will get switched to the active node and start monitoring.

 BizTalk360 disk monitoring

Spool Space

The spool table is one of the important tables in the BizTalk Message Box database. The MessageBox database has three essential functions. It stores subscriptions and tracking information and it delivers the messages to the services that match the subscriptions. The MessageBox database is a host platform that stores the queues and state tables for each BizTalk Host. The MessageBox database also stores messages and message properties.

Spool Space

We all aware that every message that we transfer that goes through the system will touch the spool table.  The growth of the spool table will fluctuate heavily depending on the type of processing you are doing.

Let’s take an example: If you are debatching a large message say 1MB of file size, all of a sudden you’ll see 100 to 1000’s entries in the spool table and once the processing is complete, you’ll see everything cleared. The important aspect here is, your processing servers (orchestrations, send ports) can keep up with the load and clear the messages as soon as possible. In a healthy environment, the size of the spool table will be pretty much zero, unless you have some long-running orchestrations and errors.

If the size of the spool table is growing up, then there is a problem in your environment. It could be SQL locking, or your application servers are not clearing messages fast enough, or your external line of business applications are not processing fast enough, too many errors, etc.

Usually, to monitor it we have to create a PowerShell script and configure a Database email to check the table size and notify the status.

For Spool size, You can monitor the spool size of the database using the Database Query results by configuring the query which returns the scalar value based on the condition. If there is any deviation in the query results then BizTalk360 will trigger an alert notification. refer to the article for more details.

Alarm BizTalk environment

New Era

We welcome the era of BizTalk360, where you can avoid the creation of multiple PowerShell scripts and Database emails for various conditions.

New Era

It’s pretty simple to create and monitor the Infrastructure monitoring. You do not need to switch to different applications, worrying about monitoring, notifications that have been sent for the problem.

All the above Infrastructure monitoring can be handled by BizTalk360 in a single application.

Conclusion

I hope the above features will give an idea of the top 5 Infrastructure features that we miss to monitor and why it’s important for monitoring in most organizations in On-premies.

Biztalk360, the single platform to have total control over your BizTalk Server environment, one unified tool for BizTalk server production support. BizTalk360 addresses some of the common problems organizations face today while managing a BizTalk infrastructure for day-to-day operations. Typical problems include things like providing fine-grained security/authorization to the operations team, consolidating the number of tools used for operations, easy to configure and manage monitoring, advanced dashboards, productivity tools, health check tools, etc.

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Author: Sivaramakrishnan

Working as Senior Product Support Engineer. Train your mind to find POSITIVE in everything. I believe the quote from Steve Jobs "Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Never let go of your appetite to go after new ideas, new experiences, and new adventures"

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