Biztalk is Microsoft’s Integration and Process server (sometimes referred to as an Enterprise Service Bus), is now in its 2010 edition and seems to be going from strength to strength 10 years after it hit the market. I’ve worked with versions 2004 and 2006 R2 of Biztalk in the past for EDI projects and it’s a great product with a lot to offer. It has custom adapters for connecting LOB systems and is heavily integrated with the .NET Framework, especially WCF. The great thing about this new version of Biztalk is that the installation is easier than ever. Installation has become simpler with each release since Biztalk 2006 – I remember Biztalk 2004 being a nightmare to install when it came to its prerequisites installations (SQL Server SP’s etc).
For Biztalk 2010, al the prerequisite components required are downloaded for you by the installer (if you don’t already have the .cab files available on the disk) and the once the installation has finished (it takes about 15 minutes), the basic server configuration option ensures you are up and designing Biztalk applications in a very short time by auto configuring single sign on and setting up all the databases and service accounts for you using the single account specified on the first page of the configuration screen.
In terms of the audience for this post, if you are a newbie to Biztalk and wish to follow along with the configuration steps, hopefully this is simple enough for you. I do reference certain Biztalk features without explaining them in any detail so the more experienced developers may feel more at home having setup previous installs of the server. In terms of environment for this install, I am using a Windows 7 machine and will be setting up a single server as no pre-existing Biztalk server environment exists to join with on my network. I already have .NET 4, Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 installed. In terms of the software component pre-requisites for the install, here is the list:
– Microsoft SQL XML 4.0 with Service Pack 1
– Microsoft Office Web Components
– Microsoft ADO MD.Net 9.0
– Microsoft ADO MD.Net 10.0
– Setup runtime files
– Enterprise Single Sign-On Server
– Enterprise Single Sign-On Administration
– Microsoft Primary Interoperability Assemblies 2005
Features Being Installed:
– BizTalk EDI/AS2 Runtime
– Windows Communication Foundation Adapter
– Business Activity Monitoring
– Windows Communication Foundation Administration Tools
– Developer Tools and SDK- Documentation
– Server Runtime
– Administration Tools And Monitoring
– Additional Software
– Business Rules Components
– BAM Alert Provider for SQL Notification Services
– BAM Client- BAM-Eventing
Installing Biztalk 2010
Now I’m assuming you are either installing a paid for version of Biztalk or are trying out the trial offered on the Microsoft Biztalk site and so have the legit zipped installer package. Once you have the installer package extracted to your disk, select the setup.exe file from the BT Server folder. The install should be pretty self explanatory. Select the features you wish to try out and select install. Grab a coffee whilst this screen does its thing:
Don’t worry about the installers lack of interaction with you. Biztalk installs the required server components first and allows you to configure the server databases and register the server components later, which is what we’ll walk through now using the Biztalk Server Configuration tool. This can be found in your program folder in the start menu:
The initial configuration screen will ask what mode of configuration you wish to proceed with. In this case, we are choosing ‘custom’ as the basic mode performs all of the configuration for you and that’s not much use when we’re trying to understand the configuration process. Supply the screen with your SQL Server instance name and also provide a windows account for use by the Biztalk service. If you use an account that is part of the local or domain administrators group, you will be warned of the security risk related to doing so, but you can continue. It isn’t advised to be using an administration account for a production Biztalk installation. Select the ‘Configure’ button to view the following screen (note – this image was taken post configuration so shows items already configured. Your screen will contain red circles illustrating non configured features):
The first of the server features to configure is single sign-on as most of the other features require this for their configuration. Select Enterprise SSO from the tree, enable single sign using the check box provided and create a new SSO system. Doing this will create a new single sign on database (SSODB) onto the SQL Server specified. A SQL Server login for the SSO Administrators group is also created. As well as the database, the single sign-on service will be set. I am using the same service account specified earlier.
Before leaving SSO, ensure you set a SSO backup password and a location for the backup.
Biztalk Server Group
Next we join or create a Biztalk Group. Your Biztalk server needs to be part of a group enabling you to manage your Biztalk server infrastructure at the group level. In this instance I’m installing to my development machine only so will be creating a new Biztalk Group which I will manage from this machine. Enable the Biztalk Server Group and then create a new group. If you’re familiar with Biztalk you’ll see the configuration for the Management and Tracking databases and of course, the all important MessageBox database. Again, specify the database names (I always stick to the defaults) and select your Biztalk role to windows group mappings for Biztalk Admins, Operators and B2B Operators.
Next up, we have the critical Biztalk runtime. This is the engine of Biztalk and deals with processing and routing of messages into the messagebox and out of the system. You may also be paying for your Biztalk server on a runtime basis (license per runtime). Ensure the ‘Register the Biztalk Server runtime components’ checkbox is ticked. Biztalk applications are hosted within a process host so whilst registering the server runtime, leave the ‘BiztalkServerApplication’ and ‘BizTalkServerIsolatedHost’ checkboxes ticked. Both of these are in-process hosts, so will need a windows account to run on. I’m using the same account used for SSO.
Biztalk Rules Engine
If you’re going to creating rule policies / vocabularies etc, you need to activate the Biztalk Rules Engine. The rules engine allows you to abstract the business rules from your orchestrations (processes) to enable easy management of rules away from the process itself. Rules are such things as ‘if PO cost is greater than £500.00 and cost centre = ‘101ADM’ then do this’. Ensure ‘Enable Business Rules Engine on this computer’ is checked and specify the business rules database store (again I would recommend leaving the default ‘BizTalkRuleEngineDb’).
Business Activity Monitoring [Portal]
BAM is the business activity monitoring side of Biztalk. It allows you to monitor certain business KPI’s against your process instances so that business stakeholders have real time updates on how their business is doing. Monitoring of course is one of the key elements in process management and is one of the core drivers for process improvement. If you plan on using BAM, enable it and confirm the database names. As this is my development server, I won’t be adding BAM Alerts at this time, even though I do have SQL Server
Notification Services installed. Last up on BAM and the configuration in general, we will be enabling the BAM portal. This is the window into the activity data produced by BAM Services and is hosted on the local IIS server. This section deals with some of your web server settings and for now I will be adding the site to my Default Web Site on IIS (version 7). You can of course setup your own site / application pool for this.
In this instance I have chosen NOT to install the BizTalk EDI/AS2 runtime as I’m not planning on creating any X12 or EDIFACT documents anytime soon and unless you are familiar with these areas or are actively using Biztalk to deal with EDI files it’s best not to install this feature. The AS2 part of this relates to HTTP security (AS1 – SMTP, AS3 – FTP).
Applying The Configuration
So… I’m all done with my servers configuration. I have configured my Biztalk installation and am ready to Apply my configuration preferences. Select ‘Apply Configuration’ from the top left of the server configuration window. Biztalk will present you with a summary of your configuration choices as shown below:
Once you proceed, the configuration will take a minute or two and once completed, you will be presented with a list of green ticks (hopefully) against your server features. Any problems will show up with the familiar red circle with cross. Typical issues can involve database rights and authentication using the windows account credentials provided.
Once the server has been configured, we can check all is well by opening up the Biztalk Server Administration application. This is the application for managing your deployed Biztalk Applications and all of their artifacts. Expand the Biztalk group and if all is well, you should see the default Biztalk applications and artifacts list as shown (notice we connect to the Biztalk Management Database for this info):
Another useful check is to boot up Visual Studio 2010 and check that Biztalk project template is available to you:
Congratulations, you are ready to begin creating XML Schemas, WSDL, Orchestrations, Custom Pipelines and more.