Using BTDF to Deploy Pure WCF Services

The BizTalk Deployment Framework (BTDF) is widely used as a tool for managing the complex deployment requirements for BizTalk Server integration solutions. With each iteration, it gets better & better. The latest version (still in Beta) now supports BizTalk Server 2013 R2.

Of course at Mexia we use this tool quite regularly for our clients, enjoying the simplicity it affords in automated deployment and management of environment-specific configuration. However, the ESB that we often provide our customers includes more than just BizTalk applications; it includes some services implemented in pure WCF. Although these services do utilise BAM for tracking and SSO for configuration management, those features do not require the empty BizTalk application that is generated from using the BTDF.

After consultation with BTDF author Thomas Abraham and some helpful tips on this thread, I spent some time putting together a BTDF project file that would deploy just the bits that are needed for WCF – and nothing more. It has been very successful so far, providing for a consistent build definition and deployment process across the entire ESB platform.  I’d like to share it with you here.

But before we go into the details, there are a few things you need to be aware of regarding this solution: Read more of this post

BizTalk Services – EDI Agreement Deployment Errors

This week I’ve been frustrated by “unknown exception” errors whilst trying to deploy an X12 EDI agreement to Windows Azure BizTalk Services. The generic message was of course extremely helpful in isolating the problem:

WABS_AgreementDeploymentError

(“Error: An error occurred while deploying the agreement. Details: Service encountered an unknown exception..”)

It happened that a recent tweet by Microsoft MVP Sam Vanhoutte proved that I wasn’t alone in my angst, as did this entry on the MSDN Azure forum. Unlike SGSJWS however, switching browsers didn’t solve my issue. Sam’s helpful advice to check all configuration items, however, did eventually lead me to closer inspection where I discovered the cause.

Read more of this post

BizTalk SQL Agent Jobs – Configuration Errors

In a previous post, I talked about how to configure the BizTalk SQL Agent jobs responsible for backing up the databases and purging the tracking data. These jobs are not configured by default, but their operation is essential for keeping your BizTalk system running smoothly.

Today, I inherited a developer VM at a new client with a warning that it was “running a bit slow…”.  Upon investigation, I discovered that the Backup BizTalk Server job had not been configured, so I promptly set about doing that task. However, I uncovered an error once I tried to run the job the first time:

Executed as user: NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM. The statement BACKUP LOG is not allowed while the recovery model is SIMPLE. Use BACKUP DATABASE or change the recovery model using ALTER DATABASE. [SQLSTATE 42000] (Error 4208)  BACKUP LOG is terminating abnormally. [SQLSTATE 42000] (Error 3013).  The step failed.

Read more of this post

Configuring the BizTalk SQL Agent Jobs

One of the things people often forget to do when installing BizTalk into an environment for the first time is to configure and enable two critical SQL Server Agent jobs:

  • Backup BizTalk Server
  • DTA Purge and Archive

These jobs are not enabled by default because they both require you to supply UNC paths to the backup and archive file locations, respectively.  While backups and archiving may not seem like the most immediate priority (especially in non-production environments), it is nonetheless essential that these jobs run successfully as they keep the BizTalk databases “lean & mean” by purging old data. I’ve seen client tracking databases grow to over 200GB in size when the latter job is not running properly (the Microsoft recommended size is <5GB!!)

Read more of this post

WEBCAST: Using SSO for Application Configuration in BizTalk

Recently posted a new webcast on how to use the built-in features of Enterprise Single Sign-On to store and manage your custom application configuration in BizTalk:

http://youtu.be/n5RflNzXcfA

There are many options for application configuration within BizTalk Server. This webcast shows how to use the out-of-the-box features of SSO to host secure, distributed configuration within customised application containers.

More webcasts to follow on the Brisbane BizTalk User Group YouTube channel.

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