We keep improving the features in BizTalk360 based on customer feedback in every iteration of the product. The focus of version 10 is the complete UI refresh and user experience improvements. After 4-5 years of the time frame, we are refreshing BizTalk360 now. The last time UI was refreshed in version 8.0 of BizTalk360 during 2016. Now it is time to do another major UI refresh to have a modern look & feel. Considering the product stability for another 10 years, we decided to move to the latest Angular technology. It allows us to upgrade the dependent client libraries to the latest version.
In this version, we have worked on new features and enhancements in the monitoring. We can see the key improvements in the monitoring section of BizTalk360. Monitoring is one of the core features of the product, each release we have implemented the new features and improved on the existing features. In a similar pattern, the following key features are implemented.
Key monitoring features in V10
- SQL Server Availability
- Data Monitoring Complete Revamp
- Monitoring Dashboard Improvements
- nSoftware STP/FTP support
- Custom Notification Channel is migrated to JSON from XML Format
- Unmapped Application Artifacts
- Monitoring Configuration
SQL Server Availability
It becomes a daunting task for the BizTalk administrators to continuously monitor the server availability and maintain the health of the BizTalk/SQL Servers. To overcome this challenge, BizTalk360 has Server Availability Monitoring to help the BizTalk Administrators to manage the high availability of servers.
SQL Server availability is introduced in version 10 of the product. BizTalk Server highly depends on the health of SQL Server availability. The administrator’s primary task is to manage the state of SQL Servers for the BizTalk Business process.
Server Availability monitoring can be configured based on their SQL Server Architecture either Windows failover cluster or stand-alone installation.
- The state of the server is determined using ICMP (Ping) or Telnet protocol, the user can choose either one of the protocols.
- All servers are down” – Alert option is configured in SQL Server windows failover cluster installation.
- “Anyone server is down” – Alert option is configured to standalone SQL Server installation. Once after the availability configuration, the user can visualize the monitoring state of servers in the monitoring dashboard. When anything goes wrong it can be alerted through email or notification channel.
Data Monitoring Dashboard
The Data Monitoring dashboard is redesigned to the grid view from the calendar view based on customer feedback. The existing Dashboard view has challenges like users can see the one-day results, group schedules, no export option, and the drill-down view is not possible. Keeping these challenges in the mind, we have done a prototype and engaged with customers to get feedback about the new design. Data monitoring dashboard new design will improve on user experience and feature extensibility.
Data Monitoring dashboard is implemented with key improvements as
- Single view to visualize the Data Monitoring / Process Monitoring schedule results.
- Users can export the results with the custom date range.
- Advanced Filter capabilities can be handy to see the drill-down results.
- Grouping schedules by Monitoring Type (Processing Monitoring, Message Box, etc), Alarms, Schedule Name
Monitoring Dashboard Improvements
Monitoring Dashboard UI is refreshed with a modern look & feel. This feature is vital for the customers to monitor the health of the BizTalk Group. Customers are displaying the monitoring dashboard on a large screen to know the status of artifacts in alarm.
Important changes in the monitoring dashboard are,
- Graphical representation of full and collapsed view is combined into a single view.
- PDF download option can be used to download the entire content.
- Dark or Light Theme modes are available in the graph representation.
- Fit to read or Fit to content option is introduced to visualize the graph based on preferences.
- The user experience of the Error or Warnings pane is improved with the intuitive user interface with expand/collapse of the pane, grouping of monitoring types.
- Improved filter capability will help to visualize the drill-down view.
- Alarm Status Indicates whether the selected alarm is Enabled/Disabled.
- The number of notification alerts sent among the configured alert count. The count is applicable only if the selected alarm is Threshold type.
nSoftware STP/FTP Support
From this version on, the SFTP/FTP location monitoring feature adds support to nSoftware Adapters (SFTP/FTP). The number of customers has requested the support of nSoftware SFTP/FTP. In addition to this enhancement, other key improvements in the File Location monitoring are,
- Multi-Factor Authentication is added to the existing Authentication
- Performance of fetching SFTP Adapter details is improved.
- Users are now allowed to edit the File Extension in SFTP
- BizTalk Macros in file mask is supported.
In BizTalk360, you can monitor the file count and directory size of the Send Ports / Receive Location with macros by keeping the BizTalk file mask configuration.
Custom Notification Channel
Custom Notification Channel configuration settings are converted to JSON from XML format. The JSON format is the lightweight and supported format in the Angular framework. It will improve the performance of UI rendering and easy maintainability. Configuration controls are added with validation and refreshed look.
Users who are using their custom created notification channel must convert the Global and Alarm properties from XML to JSON in the code. Once the conversion is done, must configure the notification channel in BizTalk360.
Unmapped Application Artifacts
The Unmapped Application Artifacts are moved into the Alarm Mapping ->Applications section from the monitoring dashboard. This will make easy navigation to the feature from Application mapping.
A new grouping of the menus will help the users to manage the configuration with ease of use. Few important monitoring configuration changes that are incorporated,
Manage SQL Server
In earlier versions, SQL Server configuration of Monitoring and Analytics features are handled in two different tables. It is difficult to manage the SQL Server Configuration in two different places. In version 10, SQL Server configuration is saved in a single place for all the sections.
Microsoft has deprecated the Publish Settings certificate to manage the Azure Subscription. Now, BizTalk360 supports the Service Principal method to access Azure Resources. Azure subscriptions are configured with Subscription Id, Tenant Id, Client Id, and Application Secret Key.
BizTalk Health Monitor (BHM)
BizTalk Health Monitor configuration can be managed from the Operations and Monitoring sections. In both places, users can manage the schedule of BHM Runs.
BizTalk360 Version 10 will improve the user experience with a nice intuitive UI. BizTalk360 Team has put a lot of effort for the past 15 months to make the product better. Improvements that we have bought in the monitoring section will help the customers to manage the BizTalk Group more efficiently.