Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Biztalk360 BRE Standalone Access to Assemblies

One of the problems with using a standalone server with Biztalk360 is the unavailability of assemblies. When you load the business rules page in Biztalk360, you may find it inaccessible with various errors stating that various assemblies could not be found.

To solve this, grab all dll's for any custom BRE components you use in addition to all the dll's under C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft BizTalk ESB Toolkit 2.1\Bin from another system if you use the ESB toolkit. A simple way to gac these assemblies on a server which doesn't have access to Gacutil is to copy these dll's to C:\Windows\assembly. At this point the problem still persists and I've tried restarting the Biztalk360 service. In the end I couldn't figure out how to get Biztalk360 to access these dll's. Wait another 24 hours at which point Biztalk360 will have access to the dll's and will work correctly.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Thoughts On Biztalk360

After a month of using Biztalk360, I thought I'd share a few of my experiences.

Standalone Installation

You have the option of installing Biztalk360 on a Biztalk server or as a standalone. A standalone installation will require that you install some Biztalk components and get your accounts and permissions right, in theory. In practice you'll find that various parts of Biztalk360 will not be functional. An example of this is if you use custom components in BRE, then BRE will fail to load. You'll then need to install the custom components on the standalone server. Another example is an inability to start/stop an application due to a bug in the Biztalk installation. Most of these problems can be avoided by installing on a Biztalk server as all the assemblies you need will already be gac'd.

Although it seems counter intuitive to put your monitoring tools on the system that will be monitored, you can let your system administrators use their monitoring tools to monitor the basic system and database availability and let Biztalk360 monitor the rest.

TL;DR avoid the grief of installing Biztalk360 as standalone. Install it on your Biztalk server instead.

BAM and ESB Portal

Both BAM and ESB in Biztalk360 are no-where near feature parity with the existing web sites in terms of functionality or usability. A pity since we use these features heavily, although I hear that there are updates coming which will close this gap. I think this is one area where Biztalk360 can really shine as the existing BAM & ESB portal are really dated, but nobody has the time to re-implement these to do a better job. I still find myself using the existing solutions because they are still better in most ways. I think this will change soon.


I've had a few problems with monitoring due to permissions related to the service account in use, but other than that it has been smooth sailing. The fine grain monitoring is excellent and in particular I love the process monitoring which allows you to check that a process has run and alert you if it hasn't. Massively useful for things such as daily processes.


I've had to call on support a few times and they are a pleasure to deal with. No problems here.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

ESB Import Failure: Microsoft.Practices.Modeling.Services

You've got your solution all tested and ready to go. You've practiced deployment on your test systems. You go to run BTDF to deploy the solution to your production system and you get an error about Microsoft.Practices.Modeling.Services being unavailable. This occurs at the step when BTDF is deploying one of your itineraries using ESBImportUtil.

The problem you'll find is that the tools folder doesn't exist at C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft BizTalk ESB Toolkit 2.1 in your production system. So go into the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft BizTalk ESB Toolkit 2.1\Tools\Itinerary Designer on your test system and copy the files

  • Microsoft.Practices.Modeling.Common.dll
  • Microsoft.Practices.Modeling.ExtensionProvider.dll
  • Microsoft.Practices.Modeling.Services.dll
to the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft BizTalk ESB Toolkit 2.1\Bin in your production system. Redeploy the solution and your itinerary should get through fine.