January 2010 - Posts

Request For Speaker
28 January 10 01:52 PM | wmmihaa

The Host adapters is a very significant part of BizTalk. However, the knowledge about them are almost absent, which is unfortunate as they should be quite useful. A quick study among our biggest clients shows that many of them are still using mainframe/AS400, and find it challenging to integrate these with other systems and applications in- and outside there organization.

We are looking for someone with knowledge and experience from working with the Host Application and Host File adapter. If you are an “expert” in the field, and feel comfortable doing a couple of sessions about it - Please let us know, as we would like to invite you Sweden and come talk to our user group.

The BizTalk User Group Sweden is one of be biggest user groups, and we are proud to have had speakers like; Richard Seroter, Charles Young, Stephen W. Thomas, Jon Flanders, Darren Jefford, Paolo Salvatori, Brian Loesgen, Dwight Goins among others. The goal of the user group is to spread knowledge and get people and organizations to adapt to products and technologies related to BizTalk and Connected Systems Division.

Interested? Send me a mail and let me know.. 


Benchmark your BizTalk Server (Part 2)
10 January 10 11:00 AM | wmmihaa | 21 comment(s)

This post describes the installation process for the BizTalk Benchmark Wizard application. For more information read part 1.

The complete installation will include the following components:

  • BizTalk Benchmark wizard – The client tool from which you will run the tests
  • Three Hosts – BBW_RxHost, BBW_PxHost, BBW_TxHost
  • Three Host Instances
  • Two Adapter handlers for NetTcp
  • One BizTalk Application
  • Two Receive Ports
  • Two Send Hosts
  • One Orchestration

The installation process

Download the bits from Codeplex, and proceed with the normal installation. As the setup completes, your first step would be to install the BizTalk artifacts. These artifacts are the BizTalk components and bindings which makes up the testing scenarios. This is a two step process as you need to set up the hosts before you import the bindings.

BizTalk environment

You can run the scenarios on either a single-server installation or a two server installation. Regardless of the number of BizTalk servers in you group, you should not run it with more than two “active” servers, as it will otherwise not be covered by the benchmark values.


1. Setup Hosts, Instances and Adapter handlers

The hosts, instances and handlers are created through running a script. You need to run the script file using “cscript” as shown below, and I apologize in advance to the poor error messages you might run into. 

1. Open an command prompt window and navigate to [Installation folder]\Artefacts\BizTalk. By default, the installation folder is “C:\Program Files\Blogical\BizTalk Benchmark Wizard”.

2. In the BizTalk folder you’ll find a InstallHosts.vbs file. Execute it using the following parameters:

          NTGroupName - The name of the Windows NT group.
          UserName – The name of the user account running the service instances.
          Password – The password of the user account running the service instances.
          Receive Host – The name of the server where you want to run the receive host instance. 
          Send Host - The name of the server where you want to run the sen host instance.
          Processing Host - The name of the server where you want to run the process host instance.

          If you have a single box installation, your script command might look like this:

          cscript InstallHosts.vbs "BizTalk Application Users" “\MyUser” “MyPassword” “BtsServer1” “BtsServer1” “BtsServer1”

          If you have a multi server installation, your script command might look like this:

          cscript InstallHosts.vbs "MyDomain\BizTalk Application Users" “MyDomain\MyUser” “MyPassword” “BtsServer1” “BtsServer2” “BtsServer2”

          Running this script will create:

        • Three hosts (BBW_RxHost, BBW_TxHost and BBW_PxHost)
        • Three host instances
        • One send and one receive adapter handler for the WCF NetTcp adapter.

2. Import BizTalk MSI

1. Open the BizTalk Administration Console, point to the “Applications” node and import the BizTalk Benchmark Wizard.msi found in the same folder as the scripts above.

          This will create a “BizTalk Benchmark Wizard” application along with all ports and orchestrations.

2. Finally, run the BizTalk Benchmark Wizard.msi on all BizTalk servers to add the assemblies to the Global Assembly Cache (GAC).

Done, click [Start]-> [All Programs]->[BizTalk Application Wizard] - [BizTalk Application Wizard] to start the application.

Related articles:

Benchmark your BizTalk Server (Part 3) by Ewan Fairweather


Good luck!

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Benchmark your BizTalk Server (Part 1)
10 January 10 12:00 AM | wmmihaa | 4 comment(s)

Ever wondered if your BizTalk is all it can be?


Verifying your BizTalk Server installation is not an easy thing to do. So far the BizTalk Server 2009 Performance Optimization Guide is probably your safest bet. The Optimization Guide provides in-depth information for optimizing the performance of a BizTalk Server solution. However,  it won’t help you evaluate you BizTalk installation at runtime. To do this, you’ll have to continue analyzing it using Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL).

I’m not saying these aren’t good tools. In fact they are great. They are however quite extensive, and will ultimately not answer the question: “Do I get the expected workload through BizTalk?”.

Ewan Fairweather, together with some other smart people at Microsoft, have put together a comprehensive study about scaling out BizTalk. The principal is simple, test the same scenarios with different environments and quantify the scale out capabilities of one to four BizTalk servers and one to three message boxes.

The BizTalk Server 2009 Scale Out Testing Study provides sizing and scaling guidance for BizTalk Server. However, you’d find it challenging to compare your environment to these numbers as you haven’t got access to the same testing scenarios. And even if you did, you still couldn’t be sure you’ve configured it the same, and that you have been running the equivalent LoadGen scripts.

Four months ago, I contacted Ewan to ask him if he had some testing scenario I could run to evaluate the environment I was currently working on. He didn’t, but seemed very aware of the lack of such a “tool”. One thing led to another and we came to the conclusion we should make it ourselves.

- Today, four months later, we are happy to announce that BizTalk Benchmark Wizard is publicly available on Codeplex.    

The goal has been to make an easy to install and simple to use, wizard-like application with which one could test a BizTalk environment– and compare the result to the study. One of the challenges where to scope the project, and prevent ourselves from solving problems already addressed in tools such as LoadGen and PAL. For instance, BizTalk Benchmark Wizard is NOT

…a load tool

Although it does create load, it only does so against ONE receive host. The application could work against multiple receive hosts, in fact the earlier versions did, but it required a much more complex setup process from the user. We came to the conclusion that if your environment measures up using only one receive host, it most likely would do so using multiple hosts.

By setting these limitations, it also simplifies the comparison of environments and benchmarking them against the result from the Microsoft Study.

…an analyzing tool

The tool does not analyze any eventual problems or bottlenecks. Neither does it give any hints or advice of how to solve them. It does however collect Perfmon counter data from each of the servers, both BizTalk and SQL. If your environment fails the test, you can analyze the data using the PAL tool.

How it works:

  1. After the user has started the application and specified the BizTalk Group, the tool analyzes its configuration, finding all the BizTalk servers, Messageboxes etc.
  2. Secondly, the user gets to select one of two scenarios: Messaging or Orchestration. Each scenario has a set of tested environments such as
    • Single server (2*Quad CPU, 4GB RAM)” 
    • “1*BTS (1*Quad CPU.  4GB RAM) + 1*SQL(1*Quad CPU, 8GB RAM)”.
    • “2*BTS (2*Quad CPU.  8GB RAM) + 2*SQL(2*Quad CPU, 16GB RAM)”.
  3. The user selects the environment which most resembles his/her own.
  4. The user then starts the Indigo Service, a console application hosting a service which will be called from the BizTalk Send port.
  5. As the user clicks “Run test”, the tool continues to start ports and orchestrations. It will also start the Perfmon collector sets if the user has chosen to create those.
  6. As the test proceeds the user can monitor the counter values through the gauges (CPU utilization, Received msgs/sec and Processed msgs/sec). The default test duration is 30 minutes, with a warm-up of 2 minutes.
  7. Finally, the user is presented a result, which is either Succeeded or Failed.  


Related articles:

Benchmark your BizTalk Server (Part 2)

Benchmark your BizTalk Server (Part 3) by Ewan Fairweather

If you pass the test, you can proudly submit your result to the the High Score list. “E.W.N” seams to be the one to beat…

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