Thursday, August 14, 2014

How to create multiple host instances on different servers?

We all know that a Host can have multiple instances created in different servers for load balancing. But how do we actually create multiple instances?

I have Server A. Installed BizTalk & SQL Server. It is up and running.

When I see the host instances, I have one In-Process & Isolated host instances created which are running in Server A.

If I want to create another instance of BizTalk Server Application on “Server B”, I go to Hosts -> Right click -> New Host Instance. But I don’t see “Server B”

To see, Server B here, install BizTalk Server on Server B. Go to BizTalk Server Configuration of Server B, check the box to use existing databases & give “Server A”s SQL Databases.

Click on Apply configuration and finish the process.

Now if you log into “Server A” -> Host -> BizTalk Server Application -> Right Click -> New Host Instance -> you will see “Server A” and “Server B”

The machines “Server A” and “Server B” have different BizTalk Servers installed but they both point to same message box.

By this way, even if one of the servers is down, the other host instance can still process the messages and helps balancing load.

Removing BAM Activity without Definition File

Recently I had a situation where I had to remove a BAM activity from one of the BizTalk Systems and there is no definition file available. But in order to remove the BAM Activity from BizTalk, we need the correct definition file. We use the below command to remove an activity from BAM Primary Import DB.

bm.exe remove-all -DefinitionFile:MyDef.xml

Since we didn't have the definition file, I wasn't able to remove the Activity. Luckily there is an option to get back all the definition files from BizTalk. It is documented here.

Below is the command:

bm.exe get-defxml -FileName:abc.xml

If you don’t specify the full path, abc.xml will be saved in the same folder where your bm.exe exists (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010\Tracking)

Note that the xml file “abc.xml” generated by the above command will have details of all the activities, views, alerts. You will have to edit the file and choose only the activity that you need.

An easy way to find the dependencies is – select the activity and search the XML file using the ID value

Once you get the Activity Definition file, you can regenerate the Excel file by using Import option in BAM Add-In

How to Add a Custom Section to BTSNTSvc.exe.config (BizTalk Server Config File)?

If you want to add a Custom Section to the BizTalk Server Config file BTSNTSvc.exe.config, follow these Simple steps.

1. Take backup of Existing Config File.
2. Add the following Section as the First Child of Root Node.

    <section name=”MyConfigSection”  type=”System.Configuration.NameValueFileSectionHandler, System, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089 “/>

3. Add your new Config Section below the </configSections>

eg: <MyConfigSection file=”C:\Test.xml”></MyConfigSection>

In case if you add any wrong section to the BTSNTSvc.exe.config file, you will not be able to start your host instance. You end up getting a weird error in Admin console which like below.

And below message will be shown up in Event Log:
Log Name: Application 
Source: BizTalk Server
Date: 9/29/2011 1:49:01 PM 
Event ID: 5410 
Task Category: BizTalk Server 
Level: Error 
Keywords: Classic 
User: N/A 
Computer: ABC 
Description:A failure occurred when executing a Windows service request.
Service request: Start 
BizTalk host name: BizTalkServerApplication 
Windows service name: BTSSvc$BizTalkServerApplication
Additional error information: 
Error code: 0x80131604 
Error source: mscorlib 
Error description: Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation.

How to get notified of BizTalk Errors?

This post will explain you how to get notified of any BizTalk Errors making use of Windows Task Scheduler and Event Viewer.

Task scheduler is a feature of Windows that help us perform a recurring task.

1. Open Task Scheduler. (by typing in the Start menu)
2. Right click the Event Viewer Tasks and Select Create Task.

3. Under General Tab, provide a name and description and leave other options as default. However they can be configured as required.

4. Under Triggers Tab, click on Create New.

Select “On an Event” value from the Begin the Task dropdown.

5. Select Custom and click on new event filter button.

6. Select the required Event Level.

8. From the Event Sources dropdown select all BizTalk, BAM, Orchestration, EDI Event Sources.

Some of the sources are as below.
  • Bam Event Provider
  • BAM Portal
  • BAM Web Service
  • BamManagementUtility
  • BAMWebServices
  • BizTalk DW Reporting
  • BizTalk Server
  • BizTalk Server Deployment
  • BizTalk Server EDI
  • XLANG/s’
9. Under Actions Tab, Select the appropriate option – For example, display a message or send a mail (if this option is chosen, you have to provide SMTP details).

10. Based on the selected options, fill the appropriate details.

11. Select the appropriate settings required under settings tab.

12. Click Ok and save the details.

13. When an Error happens, an event is logged in Event Viewer. The task which was created above will be tirggered and a message is now shown (or a mail will be sent, incase if it is configured to do so).

Walkthrough using BizTalk HL7 Accelerator, Schemas and MLLP Adapter

This post will show you how to Setup BizTalk HL7 Projects, Create and use HL7 Schemas and basic configuration of MLLP Adapter.


1. Before we proceed, you should know what HL7 Message is. If not, just Google it.

In BizTalk Server, there is a schema supporting each type of HL7 Message. These schemas can be found once you install BizTalk HL7 Accelerator. They will be available in the below path.

<drive>:\Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk 2010 Accelerator for HL7\Templates\Schemas\V2.X\2.5 or any 2.x

Each folder in the above has various HL7 Schemas required for your EAI Solution.

2. To test the HL7 Solution (from the developer aspect) a HL7 Simulator is required. For eg: 7Edit. Download a trial version of this software for testing the sample application in this post.

This Resultant HL7 Message from our EAI Solution will be sent to 7Edit via MLLP Adapter (MLLP is the protocol that is used to Transport HL7 Messages. It uses TCP/IP Internally).

7Edit in turn gives us an HL7 (not BizTalk) Acknowledgement (ACK) / Negative Acknowledgement (NACK).

3. The ACK / NACK given by this 7edit will be captured by the TwoWayAckReceivePort which is created automatically when you install BizTalk HL7 Accelerator.

Please note that this TwoWayAckReceivePort is must to receive that ACK/NACK. If this port is not present in your Admin Console, it means that you didn’t install HL7 Accelerator properly.

This TwoWayAckReceivePort has one receive loacation TwoWayAckReceiveLocation that is configured to use BTAHL72XReceivePipeline.

Sample Scenario:

1. In this Post we receive a HL7 ORU (Observation Result) Message of Version 2.5.

2. Convert that message to an ORU 2.4 Version message.

3. Add the necessary MSH Segment (Every HL7 Message should have a MSH Segment. This is like Header).

4. Send the resultant 2.4 version Message to 7Edit using MLLP Adapter.

5. 7Edit will give us ACK/NACK.

6. Capture the ACK Message.


1. The HL7 Schema that we are going to use here is ORU_R01_25_GLO_DEF.xsd & ORU_R01_24_GLO_DEF.xsd. Each HL7 Schema has 100s of nodes and each of these nodes is of a particular complex Type. These complex types are in turn available in three separate schemas datatypes_25.xsd, segments_25.xsd and tablevalues_25.xsd.

Normal Convention is to Create a separate project for these common schemas and reference the dll of these common schemas project in the actual project that uses the main schema ORU_R01_25_GLO_DEF.xsd

i) Create an Empty Solution.

ii) Add a Folder to it named Common (or anything else). Right click the Common and Select Add new Project.

iii) Select BTAHL7V25Common Project and Click Ok.

iv) Repeat and add BTAHL7V24Common Project.

Alternatively, you can create an Empty BizTalk Project and add the common schemas datatypes_25.xsd, segments_25.xsd and tablevalues_25.xsd by yourself. These schemas will be in the location  <drive>:\Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk 2010 Accelerator for HL7\Templates\Schemas\V2.X\2.5 or any 2.x

2. To the 2.5 Version of the common project, add the MSH schema MSH_25_GLO_DEF.xsd. You can find this one in <drive>:\Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk 2010 Accelerator for HL7\Templates\Schemas\V2.X\2.5 location.

This schema is required for HL7 Pipeline.

3. Add an Empty BizTalk Project to the main solution and add the ORU_R01_24_GLO_DEF.xsd and ORU_R01_25_GLO_DEF.xsd (<drive>:\Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk 2010 Accelerator for HL7\Templates\Schemas\V2.X\2.5\Observation Reporting\ORU) schemas. Resultant solution should be look like below.

(Here the schemas come with Microsoft Namespace. Namespaces should be changed as required).

4. Add references of the two common Projects to the main project and try to build the solution. The solution should work fine.

5. Create a map between the V25 and V24 versions of the schemas.

6. Create an Empty Orchestration. Add a receive shape and a receive port to receive the messages of the type ORU_R01_25_GLO_DEF.xsd schema. Set the Activate to True.

7. Add a transform shape to the Orchestration and Use the map create in step 4 and convert the v25 Message to v24 Message (of type ORU_R01_24_GLO_DEF.xsd)

8. Now you have the 2.4 Version of ORU_R01_24_GLO_DEF Message.

This message as such is not sufficient to convert it into an HL7 Message. Every HL7 Message should have an MSH Segment.

Now we should convert the ORU_R01_24_GLO_DEF Message into a real HL7 Message.

9. Create a new Multipart Message with 3 Body Parts as below.

i) BodySegments -> MLLPAdapter.ORUSchemas.ORU_R01_24_GLO_DEF (Should be the Primary Body Part. Message Body Part Property should be set to True)
ii)  MSHSegment -> BTAHL7Schemas.MSH_25_GLO_DEF (added in step 2)
iii)  ZSegments -> System.String

Note that the names should be given in the same way as mentioned. Hl7 Pipeline will be using the same names.

10. Create a new message of the Multipart Type created in step 9 and add a Message Assignment shape to the Orchestration to Construct the MultiPart Message.

11. Add the following code in the Message Assignment Shape.

v24MultiPart.BodySegments = v24;
str = @”<MSH_25_GLO_DEF xmlns=’’&gt;
    <MSH xmlns=”>

v24MultiPart.MSHSegment = xmldoc;

v24MultiPart(BTAHL7Schemas.ParseError) = false;
v24MultiPart(BTAHL7Schemas.SegmentDelimiter2Char) = true;
v24MultiPart(BTAHL7Schemas.ZPartPresent) = false;
v24MultiPart(BTAHL7Schemas.MessageClass) = “MessageClass2X”;
v24MultiPart(BTAHL7Schemas.MessageEncoding) = 65001;


i) v24MultiPart is the Multipart Message Constructed.
ii) Str and xmldoc are sting and XmlDocument Variables.
iii) V24 is message created out of the Map.
iv) A reference to the dll Microsoft.Solutions.BTAHL7.HL7Schemas (:\Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk 2010 Accelerator for HL7\Bin\) should be added.

12. Add a send shape to send the MultiPart message out.

13. Sign and Deploy the Application.

14. Create a new Receive Port and File Receive Location as shown below. Bind it to the Logical Receive Port of the Orchestration.

15. Create a new send port and set the Adapter to MLLP. Configure the Adapter as shown below. Bind this Send port to the Send port of the Orchestration.

In case if you don’t find the Pipeline shown below in your project, it might have got installed in Default Application. You have to move it to your Application. This Pipeline is responsible for converting our Multipart message into a HL7 Message.

16. Configure 7Edit to receive the HL7 Message sent by the above step.
Open 7Edit, Click on Profiles -> Add Profiles and create a new profile as shown below.

17. Finally create a send port to receive the Acknowledgement Sent by the 7 Edit. This ACK / NACK will be received by the TwoWayAckReceivePort that is created automatically when you install BizTalk HL7 Accelerator.

So, create a send port with File Adapter and set the Filter Condition pointing to TwoWayAckReceivePort.

18. Start the Application. Drop an input file of ORU 25 type in the input folder. Sample File is below.

<ORU_R01_25_GLO_DEF xmlns=”“>
    <PID_PatientIdentification xmlns=””>
      <PID_2_PatientId />
    <PV1_PatientVisit xmlns=””>
    <Observation xmlns=””>
          <CE_1_Text>Test Report</CE_1_Text>

19. You can observer that 7Edit receives the file and sends an Acknowledgement.

20. The ACK will then be received by the send port you created in step 17.

Now try testing this by yourself by modifying some of the steps and see what kind of errors you get. For eg – in step 9, try giving different names to Multipart message and see. This way you will be able to learn more.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Installing/Setting SFTP (SSH) Server on Windows Server 2008

There are many articles on setting up SFTP Server on Windows Server 2008 which can be found by googling. But none of them give a complete information on setup of Server and Client, Including Testing.

This post will show you how to setup SFTP Server and Client on Windows 2008 Server.

Setup Files:

1. Background on SFTP can be found here.

2. There are many software available (both free and commercial Versions) for SFTP Server. Of them, I found FTPShell Server to be very simple one. This is available for free to try for 30 days. You can download a copy here. You can also Try FileZilla Server which is very simple to configure. But I think it doesn't support SSH2.

3. For SFTP Client, you can go with FileZilla FTP Client. You can get the free version from here.

4. Install both the files in a normal way.

Configure Server:

1. Open the FTPShell Server and click on Manage FTP Accounts.

2. In the new window, provide values for Port Number, Security Level, Central Home Folder Path (this is the folder in which your files from client will be saved). Rest of the settings can be left default. You can however control the other permissions as required.

3. Click save and start the Server in the main window.

Configure Client:

1. Open FileZilla Client and Go to File -> Site Manager

2. Add a new Site and give a proper name. Now fill in the details that have been configured in the Server (you may have to supply username and password if required). Finally click on connect.

3. You should then be able to connect to the SFTP Server. You can now upload any files from your local folder to the SFTP Folder.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How to find the Number of Persistence points used in the BizTalk Application?

Definition of Persistence points and its use can be found every where by googling.

But, how do we measure, the number of persistence points in our application?

It can be done through the Persistence Points Performance Counter in BizTalk Server.

To find this, Click Start -> Search for performance.

Soon you will find “Reliability & Performance Monitor

Alternatively you can find this in Start -> All Programs -> Administrative Tools -> Reliability & Performance Monitor

Open the Performance Monitor and Click on the + Sign. Or right Click & Select Add Counter.

This will open Add Counter Window.

Expand XLANG/s Orchestrations and select Persistence Points.

Finally select your host for which you want to track your Persistence points and Click Add.

Now, run your orchestration and you should be able to see the counter goes up, based on the number of persistence points your application use.

This counter will basically show  you, how many persistence points that the host has created since its previous restart. (Once host instance is restarted, this counter is set to zero)

Incase if you want to reset your Counter, just restart the host instance.

Reset BizTalk Server MsgBox Database – for all Developers

Did you find your Development Machine performing slowly, its time to clean up the Message Box and Tracking Data..
** This should be executed on the development/test machine only. Executing this in Production will lead to loss of data **
Here are few steps to clean up BizTalk Message Box Database.
1. There is a Stored Proc bts_CleanupMsgbox in BizTalkMsgBoxDb Database. By default this stored proc does nothing. It’s Dummy. This is to prevent accidental execution in the Production Server.
2. Execute a script to recreate bts_CleanupMsgbox. Script can be found at <BizTalk Dir>\Schema\msgbox_cleanup_logic.sql. This script should be executed in BizTalkMsgBoxDb Database.
3. Stop BizTalk services from the Services (Start -> Run -> Services.msc).
4. Reset IIS server incase if you have any running isolated host instances
5. Execute stored procedure bts_CleanupMsgbox on your message box database
This SP will take an input parameter @fLeaveActSubs.

Values for this should be ‘0’ or ‘1’. ‘1’ is the default in case if you don't supply a value.

Setting the value to ‘0’ results in clearing the active subscriptions and you may have to redeploy the application. Think twice before doing this.
The above will not clear off all the subscription but will mark for deletion .
6. Execute the stored procedure bts_PurgeSubscriptions on your message box database to purge them all.
7. Start BizTalk services
To clean up the Tracking data in BizTalkDTADb Database:
1. Stop BizTalk services from the Services (Start -> Run -> Services.msc).
2. Execute stored procedure dtasp_CleanHMData on BizTalkDTADb database.
3. Start the BizTalk services

Using BizTalk Server Config File - BTSNTSvc.exe.config

Assume that you have a Class Library where all the commonly used functions are written and compiled.
If that class library uses any keys from an app.config file, how will you add those keys in BizTalk Server Run time?
Answer is very simple.
BizTalk Server too has a config file which will be access during run time.
So, if you use any external library in any orchestration and if that External Library needs any key values from Config file, all those key value pairs should be copied to the BizTalk Server Config file for the Orchestration to run properly.
BizTalk Server config file can be found the below location.
32 Bit:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009\BTSNTSvc.exe.config
 64 Bit:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009\BTSNTSvc64.exe.config
So, next time if your external library is using any config file, make sure that all those keys are also there in BizTalk Server Config file.
Note: Once the config file is updated, host instance should be restarted to reflect the values.