Hyper-V – Reducing the cost of your BizTalk 2009 farm – really?


Interesting post on Nick Happleston’s blog entitled: Hyper-V Dramatically Lowers the Price Point for BizTalk 2009 which talks about how Microsoft’s virtualisation technology enables enterprises to deploy BizTalk in a cheaper configuration. It makes reference to Chris Romp’s blog entry BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Hyper-V Guide, but applies the same principles to BizTalk 2009.

My only issue with the cost reduction is that it revolves around the fact that BizTalk is licensed based on the number of physical processors on the box it’s running on. Based on this assumption, you can have a box running Hyper-V where you pay for 2 processors regardless of how many BizTalk boxes are deployed on it. You can therefore double or quadruple the size of your BizTalk farm without incurring additional license fees. The theory is sound, but although the BizTalk roadmap talks about the features of the new version, but doesn’t go into details on licensing implications of the new version. Also, I have one fundamental issue with it.

The question that needs to be asked is “Why are you scaling your BizTalk farm?” If you’re doing it because of performance implications, than 4 virtual BizTalk boxes aren’t going to run any quicker than 2 virtual BizTalk boxes on the same hardware. If you’re doing it because of logical groupings within your application, then you’re not using BizTalk Groups correctly (this is a feature that allows you to deploy different BizTalk applications across multiple servers). You’re certainly not doing it for resilience as you’re running on the same hardware regardless.

So, interesting post; but not quite sure I see the point.

Announcing BizTalk Server R3

For all those out there still working in the Microsoft integration space, keep your eyes open for the next iteration of BizTalk Server 2006. I’ve just picked this up from Andy James’ Solidsoft blog:

Today, Steve Martin announced a few details about the next version of BizTalk that will be available in early 2009. The release will be BizTalk Server 2006 R3, and is an incremental release of BizTalk and not related to the future Oslo releases. In the main this is a this compatibility release to support the 2008 wave of products.(Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio.NET 2008). Expect a CTP later in the year and full release after SQL 2008 goes gold. Additional features include:

  • New web service registry capabilities with support for UDDI (Universal Description Discovery and Integration) version 3.0
  • Enhanced service enablement of applications (through new and enhanced adapters for LOB applications, databases, and legacy/host systems)
  • Enhanced service enablement of “edge” devices through BizTalk RFID Mobile
  • Enhanced interoperability and connectivity support for B2B protocols (like SWIFT, EDI, etc)
  • SOA patterns and best practices guidance to assist our customer’s implementations

Read more from Steve Martin here…

It’s always good to get a product refresh especially with a product that utilises technologies that are still evolving. Watch this space.

BizTalk Server R2 and Beyond

Microsoft are holding
a webcast
to talk about R2 of BizTalk
on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 8:30 AM – Wednesday, August 30, 2006 9:30 AM
Pacific Time. If you’re into BizTalk, it’s a must-see. Here’s the blurb:

BizTalk 2006 Release 2 (R2) is due out in the first half of 2007, with early preview
code to be made available soon. R2 includes a number of enhancements to BizTalk Server
2006, including native support for EDI, a new set of services supporting RFID technology,
the WinFX Adapter Framework that provides a common basis for building integration
adapters that can be consumed by a variety of client applications, and a number of
Line of Business adaptors built on the framework that allows communication with SAP,
Siebel, and Oracle DB. Come hear about the new capabilities R2 brings to BizTalk Server
2006, where we are taking BizTalk Server beyond R2, and opportunities to engage with
Microsoft today on BizTalk.

Kudos to Nigel for the link

Where’s adm_OtherBackupDatabases then ?

Here’s an interesting BizTalk 2004 bug we came across today. Essentially, if you try to keep your BizTalk installation lean and choose not to install certain features, then the packaged backup jobs fail because of a missing table in the database. The actual error message in the event log reads:

Description: SQL Server Scheduled Job ‘Backup BizTalk Server’ (0x2CA1BE52A58C7045893DEC5F25FAAA6B) – Status: Failed – Invoked on: 2004-03-25 11:43:48 – Message: The job failed. The Job was invoked by User SA. The last step to run was step 1 (BackupFull). The job was requested to start at step 1 (BackupFull).

Which tells you that the job failed .. but finding out WHY is another matter. We started tracing through the code and figured out it was failing with an Invalid object name ‘adm_OtherBackupDatabases’ error message. Not finding a stored procedure or table with that name in BizTalkMgmtDb, I popped adm_OtherBackupDatabases term in Google and lo and behold, the first entry was an MSDN article about a known bug in BizTalk Server 2004.

Read more about it here: BUG: The “Backup BizTalk Server” SQL job fails with an error because the adm_OtherBackupDatabases table is not created

What’s new in BizTalk Server 2006

Came across a webcast called “What’s new in BizTalk Server 2006” by Jeff Wierer. Here’s the blurb:

Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 is coming soon?are you ready for it? BizTalk Server 2006 improves on its predecessor in all dimensions of application-to-application, business-to-business, and business-process automation. Learn about the enhancements BizTalk 2006 introduces in the runtime engine, including support for in-order message processing, non-atomic interchange, execution of pipeline from an orchestration, and creation of error handling orchestration for automatic error processing. We demonstrate the new BizTalk 2006 POP3, Web Services Enhancements 2.0, and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services adapters, and describe the enhancements in the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol adapter to support attachments and the ‘follow up’ flag.

Watch it here