Null Adapter – Keep it clean

Tired of receiving unwanted messages in BizTalk?

Responses from ”Solid-Response” send ports or maybe other messages with some kind of status like ”In-Progress” might not be interesting or useful.

One common way to take care of situations like above, is to route them to a send port which writes them to a ”trashcan/dummy” folder” together with a scheduled task job to run a clean-up script every night. The setup is common even in production environments. Without a fully working clean up stored on C: – you have a recipe for disaster.

NullAdapter-FilterToFolder

The solution should be considered as a hack. It can work, but requires attention from BizTalk operators, supervising disk size and changes to the environment (change of permissions, etc.) might have fatal consequences.

Null Adapter from Integration Software to the rescue

If you use our free BizTalk Null Adapter from Integration Software instead, you can easily configure the send port to consume (void) those unwanted messages.

NullAdapter-FilterToTrashCan

The only sign left of the message is if tracking is enabled or you opt to write to the event-log. Remember to set the event log to cycle, additional information about the event log can be read here.

More information and download.

Installation and Configuration

Extract the files from the downloaded zip file. Run Install.exe:

NullAdapter-Install

 

Answer ‘y’ when promted:

NullAdapter-Install-Cmd

 

Add the adapter in the BizTalk server:

NullAdapter-AddAdapterInBizTalk

 

Configure the Null Adapter in the BizTalk server:

NullAdapter-AddAdapterInBizTalkConfig

 

Configure the send port:

Null Adapter - Send Port

 

It is also possible to write to the local Event Log when consuming messages in the Null Adapter. Note that if you have multiple processing BizTalk nodes the event will be logged locally on the BizTalk server sponsoring the send operation.

Null Adapter - Send Port Configuration

 

If you have tracking enabled it will show up like this under Tracked Messages:

Null Adapter - Tracked Messages

 

If the message body is tracked you can of course the message content:

Null Adapter - Message Body

Using the enterprise wide logging capabilities of Integration Manager is a much better option for your logging requirements. The BizTalk tracking database is not designed for long term storage.  Integration Manager is designed for long term archiving with very easy to setup search fields for self service operations. Integration Manager replaces the need for error prone and costly BAM solutions.

 

Example of a logged message processed by our Null Adapter from within Integration Manager:

Null Adapter - Integration Manager

 

The content of the logged message:

NullAdapter-IntegrationManagerViewMessage

 

If you would like to know more about Integration Manager, please feel free to contact us at info@integrationsoftware.se.

Good luck!

 

Log events and messages from BizTalk to Integration Manager

Get insights and Control!

This post describes the steps necessary to log messages from BizTalk to Integration Manager. Integration Manager has great, out-of-the-box support for Microsoft BizTalk Server. Integration Manager replaces the need for costly and bad performing alternatives like BAM, SCOM and many other 3rd party products.

The need to log events and messages flowing through the systems integration platform is ever growing and growing. This is due to systems integrations becoming more and more important for the business. Providing the business people with the data they need in order to innovate their business is crucial.

Microsoft BizTalk Server is one integration platform for enterprise application integration (EAI) and business-to-business (B2B) integration.

 

 

This blog post assumes you have basic knowledge in administering Microsoft BizTalk Server and Integration Manager, as well as a working instance of BizTalk and Integration Manager.

 


Prepare the BizTalk Server Environment

Simply enable tracking on receive and send ports within your applications in order for Integration Manager to log all the events/messages going through your Microsoft BizTalk Server.

Screenshot 1 - Enable Tracking on Microsoft BizTalk Server

Screenshot 1 – Enable Tracking on a Microsoft BizTalk Server receive port

Integration Manager can also be used from within Orchestrations and pipeline stages. Thiscapability uses our LogAPI which we will cover in another blog post.

The question we often get asked is how we affect existing BizTalk applications. The answer is – we don’t.

  • Integration Manager only requires BizTalk’s tracking to be enabled on ports of interest.
  • No pipelines / pipeline Components required.
  • No BAM activities
    Integration Manager offers you a way to retrieve any kind (XML, EDI, CSV) of logged message content by using either the context values or the messages’ body (This will be covered in another blog post).
  • No solution/project requirements
    • No analysis
    • No design
    • No code
  • No MSMQ queues

Prepare Integration Manager

Integration Manager’s logging service has a thread that copies data from Microsoft BizTalk Server’s tracking database (usually BizTalkDTADb). For Integration Manager to get the data from the database we need to enable the log feature in Integration Manager and provide it with the correct connection information to Microsoft BizTalk Server’s management and tracking database.

You can do this by opening up the configuration application (see screenshot 2 below), open the system settings (see screenshot 3) and check the checkbox saying “Copy messages from BizTalk (BizTalk Tracking Enabled)” and fill in the required connection information for both the management database (BizTalkMgmtDb) and tracking database (BizTalkDTADb) (see screenshot4).

Integration Manager - Configuration Application

Screenshot 2 – Starting Integration Manager’s configuration application

Integration Manager - Configuration Application - system settings

(Screenshot 3 – Open up system settings)

Integration Manager - Configuration Application - biztalk settings

Screenshot 4 – Setting up Microsoft BizTalk Server settings

Finish by pressing the Save button and close the Integration Manager configuration application.

Start the ‘IM Logging’ Windows Service.

Integration Manager will now first sync end Points (Send Ports, Receive ports/locations, etc.) in BizTalk with Integration Manager and then to copy all the data from your tracking database to Integration Manager’s logging databases. This is a continous process meaning that you can have a short windows (3-4 days worth of data within the biztalk tracking database)

Use the admin-view in Integration Manager or create custom log views to search for any event/message logged via Microsoft BizTalk server. You get access to not only an event that indicates that something has been logged, you get also access to the message itself and the context values.

event context BT compared to IM

Screenshot 4 – showing message details in BizTalk Management Console and Integration Manager

Key Takeaways

Using Integration Manager to log & archive events/messages from Microsoft BizTalk Server is easy and gives you the control and insights you need in order to run your business – simply follow the simple steps explained above and you are good to go.

By using Integration Manager and its job for copying events/messages from BizTalk’s tracking database you can keep the “Purge & archive” SQL job to save data for just 2 to 3 days, since the data is copied to the log databases of Integration Manager – keeping the performance affection low.

No BAM activities – Integration Manager as already explained above, does not need any BAM activities. Integration Manager has ways of getting the values you are interested in by using the messages’ body or context values. The values can be retrieved from historic events/messages as well! (Will be covered in an upcoming blog post).

Integration Manager has long time storage – Every transaction can be kept forever as long as you have the disk space. We will create new databases as we go to keep the system performant independent of the total amount of data being kept. There might be legal demands to keep for example outgoing invoices for 7 years – we can guarantee that for you.

To read more about Integration Manager logging click here.

Sponsoring BizTalk Usergroup Sweden

Integration Software is now sponsoring BizTalk Usergroup Sweden.

The goal with BizTalk Usergroup Sweden is to increase the understanding and knowledge around Microsoft products and solutions from Connected Systems Division through community-driven contributions, mainly around BizTalk and related.
The information is distributed by mainly presentations and demos performed by volunteering participants and invited known Swedish and International speakers and experts.
The target group are individuals with technical background and interests, as well as from consulting organizations, interested in system integration on the Microsoft platform.

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