Monitoring BizTalk with HP OpenView

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Effective monitoring and operations processes are a very important part of running a successful Microsoft BizTalk implementation. In terms of monitoring a system, there are two core types:

Proactive Monitoring
This entails looking for conditions that may indicate that a problem will occur if the system is not given some attention. An example of this is that if the BizTalk Spool Size was continuing to grow over a period of time, there might be performance problems later. It is sometimes possible to see this condition happening long before performance problems start, and so corrective actions can be taken.

Reactive Monitoring
In this case, something has happened that is usually an exception type condition. The goal is usually to do something with this to correct it, or to raise it to an operator, if human assistance is required.

In many BizTalk implementations, the operations teams at the company that has implemented BizTalk Server will use Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) or System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) to monitor their BizTalk investment. This can be done very successfully by taking advantage of the specialized management packs that Microsoft produces for the products that are often used within a BizTalk implementation: mainly Microsoft BizTalk Server, SQL Server, and Internet Information Services (IIS). The management packs offer all of the key monitoring and management features you would usually want.

There is, however, a gap in the market where organizations have already made a significant investment in a monitoring solution from someone other than Microsoft. In this case, you, as an organization, really have three choices.The first choice would involve implementing SCOM in your organization, but then purchasing a connector to allow the existing monitoring system to connect to SCOM. This way, you can take advantage of the full features of the management packs that Microsoft produces. However, this can be relatively expensive because you have to buy SCOM and the connector.

The second choice is to try and implement any management packs produced by your vendor, and to complement the management pack with some custom alerts.

The third choice is to create your own management pack equivalent.

This paper examines a project at a large health insurance provider where monitoring of BizTalk 2006 R2 is done by using HP OpenView.

For those who have the resources to implement HP OpenView alongside System Center Operations Manager, this is a recommended approach because you can then take full advantage of the Microsoft management packs. However, the intention of this paper is to help those organizations that cannot implement System Center Operations Manager or Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) to work alongside HP OpenView, and to show how we were able to create our own monitoring solution.