Category Archives: BizTalk

My experiences with BizTalk Server

Error – “Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 is required”- Specify an alternate source path

Hello Everyone.

Recently, I wanted to setup BizTalk 2013 R2 system and while installing SQL Server 2014 I ran into below error –

Error Message – “Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 is required”.

Setup failed to find “Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1” and therefore we can’t proceed with the installation.

Setup failed to find "Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1" and therefore we can't proceed with the installation.

So, I went ahead and tried to install this Feature from Server Manager by following below steps –

  1. Open Server Manager and click on “Add roles and features”

Add Roles and Features Wizard

2. Select “Role-based or feature-based installation”

Add Roles and Features Wizard 2

3. Select appropriate server from the Server Pool

Add Roles and Features Wizard_ChooseServer

4. Select .Net Framework 3.5

Add Roles and Features Wizard_Select.NETFramework 3.5

5. Now you just need to confirm your selection and proceed with installation. But for me it showed below warning –

Warning – “Do you need to specify an alternate source path? One or more installation selections are missing source file on the destination server.”

Add Roles and Features Wizard_SpecifyAlternateSourcePath

If you ignore this warning and proceed with the installation, it will fail with below error.

Error Message – The source files could not be found. Try installing the roles, role services or features again in a new Add Roles and Features Wizard session, and on the Confirmation page of the wizard, click “Specify an alternate source path” to specify a valid location of the source files that are required for the installation. The location must be accessible by the computer account of the destination server.

FeatureInstallationFailed

So, the question against me was how to find and where to find an alternate source for .Net Framework 3.5 Feature. So, I spent lots of time on internet attempting to find same without any luck.

Finally I got a SQL expert who guided me with the solution, which is as below-

The alternate source path can be found in Windows Operating System media within below location –

<OS Media Drive>:\sources\sxs

Add Roles and Features Wizard_SpecifyAlternateSourcePath2

Simply say “OK” and proceed with the installation. It should be successful this time.

Add Roles and Features Wizard_FeatureInstallSuccessful

Later, proceed with SQL Installation, this time you will not receive the same error and installation will be smooth.

Hope this helps.

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BizTalk Server Migration from 2010 to 2013 R2- Why & How

This document is intended to give an overview of why & how migration from BizTalk Server 2010 to 2013 R2 can be accomplished. It also attempts to aggregate known issues or probable challenges which can erupt during this process.

Why to Migrate

Mainstream Lifecycle of BizTalk 2010 is going to end on 1/12/2016 post which Microsoft Support is limited and for extended support you will have to purchase Extended Support within 90 days of mainstream support end (which can be missed easily).

BizTalk Version Mainstream Support End Extended Support End
BizTalk Server 2010 1/12/2016 1/12/2021
BizTalk Server 2013 7/10/2018 7/11/2023
BizTalk Server 2013 R2 7/10/2018 7/11/2023

Read more about Lifecycle Information for Microsoft Server Products Support

There are lots of disadvantages of being in extended support:

  • Non-Security hotfix support will require extended hotfix agreement, purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending
  • You incident support will be chargeable
  • You cannot make warranty claims
  • You cannot request design changes and feature requests

You probably do not want to run your business on limited support, so it’s better to upgrade if your current version is already in extended support or your mainstream support is coming.

Planning Migration

Microsoft always claims that the upgrade will be seamless and will not affect anything. However, there is always a big risk of something going wrong. Because the stack we are upgrading has lots of things like Operating System, .Net Framework, SQL, BizTalk etc. so we need to be super careful.

Upgrade vs. Migration

Two approaches can be considered:

· Upgrading of the existing BizTalk Server 2010 Infrastructure to BizTalk Server 2013 R2(In House Upgrade)

· Building a new BizTalk Server 2013 R2 Infrastructure to co-exist with the existing BizTalk Server 2010 Infrastructure to allow for gradual migration of BizTalk Applications

Benefits of In-House Upgrade

This allows you to upgrade BizTalk within the existing infrastructure. For ex- If you have a standalone BizTalk Server 2010 server, you can upgrade Operating System, SQL, BizTalk etc. just by clicking on the installer and proceeding with Upgrade option.

For more details refer In-house BizTalk Upgrade or Upgrading to BizTalk Server 2013 from BizTalk Server 2010-2009

UpgradeImage

Disadvantages of In-house upgrade

· As many softwares like Windows OS, SQL, Visual Studio, BizTalk etc. needs to be upgraded, there is higher risk of failure.

· Generally we would like to upgrade/enhance the hardware as well (better CPU, RAM, OS to 64bit etc.) which is not possible in this case.

This approach is only suitable for small businesses with simpler integration.

Migration

Here the BizTalk environment must be recreated on an operating system supported by BizTalk Server 2013 R2 and later all other upgraded applications needs to be deployed.

Steps to perform Migration

1) Recreate BizTalk Servers 2013 R2 environment with desired and supported Hardwares and Softwares.

BizTalk Server 2013 R2 Supported Softwares

Microsoft Windows Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1.
Internet Information Services (IIS) The version that comes with the operating system. KB 224609 lists the versions.
Microsoft .NET Framework .NET Framework 4.5
Microsoft Visual Studio Visual Studio 2013
Microsoft SQL Server SQL Server 2014 or SQL Server 2012 SP1

Refer Hardware and Software Requirements for BizTalk Server 2013 and 2013 R2 for more details.

Follow How to install & Configure BizTalk Server 2013 R2 document for installing and configuring BizTalk.

2) Upgrade existing BizTalk Applications to latest version

a) Copy all the existing projects(folders) to newly created BizTalk 2013 R2 Servers

b) Open each solution one by one which needs to be migrated in Visual Studio 2013, this will automatically open a migration wizard. Make sure Target Framework is .Net Framework 4.5 for all projects. Finally a “Migration Report” will be generated, as shown in pic below. Go through the report to see if it has any error message.

MigrationPopUp

Migration Report

c) Ensure to change the .Net Framework versions for all related class libraries (helper class/dlls) manually to .NET 4.5 versions, by default Helper classes (Class Library) will not be upgraded.

HelperClass.NetFramework

d) Rebuild all the applications and fix any build errors.

e) Upgrade/Replace any obsolete method with their latest version. Ex- Use “System.Configuration.ConfigurationManager.GetSection” instead of “System.Configuration.ConfigurationSettings.GetConfig”.

f) You may also have to upgrade/modify your code to incorporate changes occurred in Standard External Libraries.

Ex-In our case we were using older version of “Microsoft Enterprise Library” dll which was later upgraded to 6.0 which made us to change our implementation/code as well.

g) Ensure to modify deprecated Adapters. For example SQL & SOAP adapters are deprecated in BizTalk 2013 R2, so they must be replaced by their corresponding WCF Adapters.

Note: – Deprecated doesn’t mean non-availability, it means that though you are able to use these adapters in current version of BizTalk but in future version they might get removed. Microsoft even may deny providing support. Ex- SQL adapter was deprecated with BizTalk Server 2009 was released and is now unsupported in BizTalk Server 2010 onwards.

Read here for more details.

h) Take necessary steps for upgrading any other dependencies if required.

Later these applications can be used for regular deployment in any BizTalk environments.

Note: – All Applications should be thoroughly tested in all Pre-PROD environments.

Ideally Migration Effort is minimal as most of the work is done by the wizard, but BizTalk being a middleware depends on many external systems like Databases, SAP, SFTP etc. and so the main cost/effort is of Thorough Testing.

Also, if you decide to perform Code Refactor/Enhancement efforts will be increased accordingly. For example- If you have any SOAP Web Service (.asmx) and you want to upgrade it to WCF (.svc) it will need extra efforts.

Hope it helps.

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Very Strange behavior of XML Disassembler- Property Promotion not happening properly

While working on a pipeline component I encountered a very strange behavior of XML disassembler. I had few promoted properties which I was trying to access in a pipeline component in Validate stage after the execution of XML Disassembler. As we all know that the Pipelines are executed in sequential manner and the output of one pipeline component is used as input to the next one in the sequence(except in Disassemble stage). ( Read more- Understanding Pipeline Execution). So, ideally after execution of XML Disassembler, Promoted Properties should be accessible in later stages. But shockingly there value was NULL. Now let’s have a look into my sample BizTalk application for better understanding. I have a simple schema in which both the properties are promoted- Source&PropertySchema Emp & Property Schema Image I created a simple pipeline component where I tried to read values of ID and Name from message context using below code and later promoted “ReceiveFileName” FetchingPromotedProps Fetching Promoted Properties in Pipeline Component Image Created a simple Custom Receive Pipeline with XML Disassembler and later used my pipeline component in Validate Stage. ReceivePipeline Receive Pipeline Image But strangely when I tried to fetch the promoted properties found out that it’s returning NULL as shown below. PromotedPropsAsNullAfterCommentingTheReadOperation Promoted Properties as NULL in Pipeline component Image Cause:- After some research got to know that it’s a known behavior. Basically, the XmlDisassembler does not read through the incoming message immediately.  It waits until some later component or the MessageBox reads it.  This is done for various performance reasons like memory consumption, etc. So, since my custom pipeline component is next in line, when it gets the Message, data has not yet been read by the XmlDisassembler even though it passed that Stage in the Pipeline, so it hasn’t had a chance to Read and Promote any Context Properties.  This is by design, and what you are seeing is a known side-effect. Its accomplished by wrapping the data in a custom Stream class.  That is why it only gets read and processed when some other component reads it. Solution/Workaround:- The easiest option would be to just do you work with the Properties in an Orchestration. If you absolutely have to use a Pipeline Component, then you will have to somehow force a Read by the XmlDisassembler. For example in our pipeline component we have read the values using below code and forced a Read/Promote by the XmlDisassembler. //Reading message data using XML Document. System.Xml.XmlDocument xmlDoc = new System.Xml.XmlDocument(); xmlDoc.Load(originalStream); Using XMLDoc can have performance implication as the complete message will be loaded in memory, so you can use the below code as well. //Reading message data using Stream, this will not have any performance implication. System.IO.MemoryStream ms = new MemoryStream(); originalStream.CopyTo(ms); ms.Position = 0; inmsg.BodyPart.Data = ms; As shown in below image.  PromotedPropsAfterReadingTheValueUsingStream  Promoted Properties containing Value After performing Forced Read by XML Disassembler Image   Check the discussion over the same issue- XML Diassembler component is not doing property promotion   Hope it helps.   Download the sample application from here. Word version of this blog is here.  

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Implementing Correlation (Property Promotion) without any Common Element

I recently encountered a scenario where I had to implement correlation without any common element between the outgoing and incoming messages. Generally we implement correlation by Initializing and following correlation on the same element.

Let’s come to our sample for better understanding.

We have two schemas “Candidate” with fields as CandidateID, Name City and Status and “Employee” schema with fields as EmployeeID, Name, ReportingCity and ReportingManager.

We need to initialize correlation for CandidateID and follow correlation on EmployeeID. But as these are two different elements so they can’t become one CorrelationType. However they hold the same value.

Candidate, Employee & PropertySchema

 Candidate, Employee and Property Schema Image

Solution: – I created a PropertySchema with one element as “UniqueID” and promoted CandidateID and EmployeeID against it.

How to achieve it:-

  • Create on property schema with one element as “UniqueID”
  • In Candidate schema, Right click on CandidateID-> show promotion ->Property Fields -> Click on top right corner a folder like icon (Add new Property Schema) and select the property schema created in first step.
  • Now click on the CandidateID and “Add”. This will add the property for CandidateID field as shown below.

PropertyPromotion

Property Promotion Image

  • Perform the same steps to promote EmployeeID field as well present in Employee Schema.

Let’s have a look into the final schemas. If you notice in the Properties section you will find PropertyName = “UniqueID”. It means EmployeeID or CandidateID will be promoted against UniqueID field present in Property Schema.

Employee Schema

EmployeeSchema

Employee Schema Image

Candidate Schema

CandidateSchema

Candidate Schema Image

Let’s create our Orchestration to meet our requirement. Only important thing to notice is how the correlation set is created and later used.

CorrelationSet

Creating Correlation Set Image

Later in Orchestration I have initialized Correlation while sending the Candidate information for approval and followed the same while receiving the Employee Info (Approved Candidates)

Orchestration

 Orchestration Image

Some interesting things:-

Created a test file with CandidateID = 1 and processed the same.

PromotedPropertiesOfCandidateSchema

Promoted Properties of Candidate Schema Image

Subscription Filter on Correlated Receive shape:-

https://CorrelationWithoutCommonElement.PropertySchema.UniqueID == 1  And

http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2003/system-properties.ReceivePortID == {6D17881D-4468-4EFD-A4EB-A05327E8DAE7}  And

http://schemas.microsoft.com/BizTalk/2003/system-properties.MessageType == http://CorrelationWithoutCommonElement.Employee#Employee

Correlated Receive shape has an instance subscription i.e. an instance of Orchestration is waiting for a particular type of message.

The main motive of this sample is to demonstrate how to do property promotion if you don’t have any common element.

Hope it helps.

Download the sample application from here. Word version of this blog is here.

 

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Accessing Orchestration Variables in Maps

Many times we feel the need of using Orchestration Variables in Maps. But there is no straight forward way to achieve it.

Below are the two ways through which we can achieve the same.

  1. Is to create a dummy schema with Elements which needs to be used in Maps. In below example I have created a dummy schema with Element as “Age” because I wanted to access intAge variable in Map.
  2. Is to assign some dummy value in map and later assign the actual value in Message Assignment shape. In below sample I have assigned “Null” (from String Concatenate functoid) and later within the Message Assignment shape assigned the value from Orchestration Variable (intAge).

Which method should be chosen depends on below points.

  • 1st technique should be used when you need this variable extensively like to perform some DBLookup etc. In below example “intAge” value is used as a lookup value and required in making decisions.
  • 2nd technique is preferable when you want to populate few fields without much processing.

Now let’s come to our Example.

In this post I will use this sample BizTalk solution and try to portray both the techniques.

Here we receive a simple XML having information of a person like- “Name”, “DateOfBirth” and “City”. In Orchestration will calculate the Age of the person and in Map on the basis of it’s value we will decide whether person in eligible for Voting, Marriage and Drinking or not.

Source&DestinationSchema

Source & Destination Schema Image

As I needed value of Age variable to make decisions in Map, so I created another schema with just one element “Age” as shown below-

AgeSchema

Age Schema Image

Created msgAge by below code-

xmlDoc.LoadXml(“<ns0:Person xmlns:ns0=’http://UseOrchestrationVariableInMaps.Age’><Age></Age></ns0:Person>&#8221;);

msgAge= xmlDoc;

msgAge.Age= intAge;

Now next step is to create a map which takes two schemas as input- Input schema and Age Schema and generates one Output Schema.

  • Drag and drop the Transform shape
  • Double click -> New Map-> Select two in Source Message(msgAge & msg In in our case)
  • Select output schema as destination.
  • Check the box to launch BizTalk Mapper.

TransformShape

Mapper Image

This will generate a map with two parts (InputMessagePart_0 & InputMessagePart_1), under “Root” record. It actually generates a multipart message with parts referring to each input/output message.

Now in map you can play around with the value of Age element. In our sample application I am performing below checks on its value.

  1. Age >=18 -> Eligible for Voting
  2. Age >=22-> Eligible for Marriage
  3. Age >= 25-> Eligible for Drinking Alcohol

Don’t miss to see the irony here- In India being few months younger to 25 years allows you to marry a girl or choose your Prime Minister of country (& other representatives) but makes you criminal if you drink alcohol.

Read more about how to develop and test maps with multiple source and destination schemas here.

Map

Map Image

Now let’s demonstrate the second technique to assign values in Orchestration.

For this you need Message Assignment shape along with Transform shape in Construct shape as shown below.

AssignValuesInMessageAssignment

Message Assignment Shape Image

In Map assign Null(or any other dummy value) to all those elements for which Orchestration variables are required. For example in our sample Age element is assigned as NULL using string concatenate functoid.

Later in orchestration using Message Assignment shape assign the required values as shown above.

Hope it was helpful.

Download the sample application from here. Word version of this blog is here.

 

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How to Subscribe the Response Message of 2-Way (Request- Response) Send Port

Many times we have face a situation when we want to see the response received from a 2-way send port (request- response) after calling a web-service, performing some database operation etc. using two way send port. Normally such a scenario arises during testing phase.

There are multiple ways to subscribe to the response message received from the 2-way send port but the easiest option is explained below.

Benefits of below implementation:-

  1. It doesn’t requires any code change
  2. It doesn’t affects the original flow of the application

How to do it :-

Just create a Send Port with Filter Condition as

BTS.SPName = <Name of the 2-way Send Port>

Filter Condition on Send Port - > BTS.SPName = <Name of the 2-way Send Port>

Filter On Send Port Image

How does it works:-

Whenever a two way send port publishes the response back to message box, it promotes two properties

  • SPName: – This context property holds the name of the Send Port which has published this message to MsgBox. We are exploiting this property only.

Context Property of the Response Message PublishedContext Properties of Response Message Image

  • Correlation Token: – For a two way send port End Point Manager (EPM) creates Instance subscription for receive shape with subscription for Correlation Token.

In BizTalk we have two subscriptions – Activation and Instance.

Activation Subscription: – A new instance of the subscriber is created when a message is received. For example first receive shape in Orchestration with “Activate = True”.

Instance Subscription: – Incoming message is routed to an already-running instance of the subscriber. Unique instance ID is stored in the subscription table in the master Message Box.

For example correlated receive in Sequential or Parallel Convoys or in two way send port.

I have created a sample application which consumes a simple “Hello World WCF Service”.

Download the sample application here.

Don’t forget to edit the binding files before running the test.

Get the MSWord version of this blog from here.

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