BizTalk 2016 Feature Pack 1 – Installation walk-through & notes

Some side-notes on the BizTalk Server Feature Pack 1:

  • BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1 does not require you to have BizTalk Server 2016 CU1 installed.
  • Cumulative updates will take into account any BizTalk Server Feature Packs installed and will not break them. This effectively means that you do not need to re-install a CU after a Feature Pack installation.
    This does leave me wonder what will happen once they fix a bug in a Feature Pack in a CU.
  • You have to install it on each BizTalk Server in a BizTalk Group in order to upgrade the entire group. Preferably, you would keep all host instances disabled until all servers are updated. Keep a full backup of your BizTalk databases set nearby, just in case.

Below you can find a walk-through for the BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1 installation. This might serve someone for a document on how to install the feature pack.

Step 1: Download BizTalk 2016 Feature Pack 1

The BizTalk Server 2016 Feature Pack 1 can be downloaded from this URL:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=55100.

On the Microsoft download page it is actually named “BizTalk Server 2016 Update 1” and I don’t think that was a very good choice to be honest. I believe it will create confusion between BizTalk Server cumulative update packages and feature packs. Nevertheless, that’s the one you want!

Step 2: Install BizTalk 2016 Feature Pack 1

Start the executable:

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Click Next:

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Accept the EULA and click Next:

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If possible, participate in the CEI program:

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Not sure what they tried to achieve with this, but just click Next:

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Click Yes to agree with the restart of your Host Instances, the ESSO service, IIS Admin Service (if installed), WMI, etc…

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Patiently wait out until the install finishes:

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Click Finish to complete the installation.

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Step 3: Verifying the installation

Verify you can find the following event log in the event viewer:

Product: Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 – Update ‘Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Hotfix [KB 4014788]’ installed successfully.

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Windows Installer installed an update. Product Name: Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016. Product Version: 3.12.774.0. Product Language: 1033. Manufacturer: Microsoft Corporation. Update Name: Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016 Hotfix [KB 4014788]. Installation success or error status: 0.

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Windows Installer reconfigured the product. Product Name: Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016. Product Version: 3.12.774.0. Product Language: 1033. Manufacturer: Microsoft Corporation. Reconfiguration success or error status: 0.

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When you check Programs & Features, you can easily see if the Feature Pack is installed or not:

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Cheers,
Pieter Vandenheede

SQL Server Agent 2016 does not start with Shared Memory disabled

If you need to install BizTalk Server 2016, there is a big chance you will also install SQL Server 2016. Not only does SQL Server 2016 support the AlwaysOn capabilities that BizTalk Server 2016 might need, it comes with a much-welcomed upgrade to the support life-cycle. At the moment of writing, the latest service pack of SQL Server 2016 is SP1, which offers support until Jul 13 2021.

Installing BizTalk Server properly will require you to make some changes to the SQL Server Configuration as well. Specifically, you might want/need to disable the Shared Memory Protocol.

Shared Memory Protocol

The SQL Server Shared Memory Protocol per the MSDN documentation around SQL protocols:

Shared memory is the simplest protocol to use and has no configurable settings. Because clients using the shared memory protocol can only connect to a SQL Server instance running on the same computer, it is not useful for most database activity. Use the shared memory protocol for troubleshooting when you suspect the other protocols are configured incorrectly.

Basically, in the case your application is not hosted on the same server as your SQL Database Engine, it makes zero sense to enable the protocol. Therefore, it is considered good practice to disable the protocol and only enable the Named Pipes and TCP/IP protocol:

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The above screenshot gives an overview of how the protocol configuration at server side should look like. At Codit, we disable the protocol at server side, since it might pose somewhat of a security risk.

SQL Server Agent not running

While the above has been a good practice for many years and many different BizTalk versions and never gave us any issues, for SQL Server 2016 this meant that the SQL Server Agent (windows service) was stopping unexpectedly. Something that came to my attention while trying to configure the BizTalk SQL Jobs.

The below is a screenshot of the event log and the error logged:

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The error:

SQLServerAgent could not be started (reason: Unable to connect to server ‘SOMESERVER’; SQLServerAgent cannot start).

(Re)starting the SQL Agent service works fine, but after about a minute, we get the same issue and the service crashes.

After some google-Fu, I finally managed to find the culprit due to a message in the SQL Server log:

2017-03-27 13:33:18 – ! [165] ODBC Error: 0, Login timeout expired [SQLSTATE HYT00]

And with some further research, it seemed the ODBC version that ships with SQL Server 2016, which is ODBC v13.0, contains a bug that will prevent the SQL Server Agent from running with Shared Memory disabled!

ODBC Drivers

To check the version of the ODBC drivers on your machine, there is actually a page on Microsoft Docs: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/database-engine/configure-windows/check-the-odbc-sql-server-driver-version-windows

Mine said:

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Note: 2015.130.x = v13.0

We now need to upgrade ODBC to version v13.1. You can download ODBC v13.1 from the Microsoft website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=53339

After upgrading, the Drivers tab mentions v2015.131.x = v13.1

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And, as expected (and hoped), the SQL Server Agent service now start successfully and keeps running:

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Let me know if this helped you or if you have any questions.

Cheers!
Pieter

BizTalk 2016 Webinar – Facts and Features

Let’s dive into the new BizTalk Server 2016 and summarize its enhancements and newest features. Learn how BizTalk 2016 allows a much easier integration towards the cloud. BizTalk 2016 also supports for high availability both on premises and on Microsoft Azure with SQL Server AlwaysOn. You will hear about the platform upgrades and various updates around BizTalk tooling, operations and monitoring.

To conclude, I will help you find an answer to the key question: whether or not you should upgrade to BizTalk 2016.

Watch the webinar below:

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

Cheers,
Pieter

Earned MCSA SQL Server 2012/2014!

msft_partner2016Codit is a Microsoft Gold Partner in Application Development, Application Integration and Cloud Platform and a Silver Partner for Data Analytics.

This means we are required to have staff certified, which in turn requires us to take (and pass) Microsoft exams once in a while. This is not mandatory on a personal level, but still it is necessary for some people in order to retain or even improve our Microsoft Partnership.

Although it may be a lot of work to prepare for the exam, most of us are quite keen on getting certified actually. As one of the more ‘senior’ guys at Codit, I try to get certified or pass an exam at least once a year. Although it means that you will need to do some research, buy and read … and re-read the book(s), spend additional time looking up facts on MSDN, etc… I do agree it’s a nice recognition to have passed an exam.

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In the last years I have been able to pass 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 and 70-462 Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 Databases. Both exam preparations were actually great ways to get some recognition on working with SQL Server since 2001 (the year I graduated).
Along the way I have learned and picked up a lot from (ex-)colleagues, numerous blogs and various sources and books. Still, I was shocked at how much I was still able to learn by grabbing and reading the preparation books, doing the exercises, watching SQL courses on Pluralsight and looking up more information. It was an invaluable experience, learning so much. Some of it already came in very handy during the last year.

Since a couple of years Microsoft features the MCSA. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. One of the tracks is MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014.
It requires you to pass 3 exams: the ones mentioned above (70-461 and 70-462) and one other. Although it mentions 70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 as the third exam, you can actually substitute it with any of the following as well:

Since I don’t feel that much for BI in SQL Server, I thought it was a good idea to certify for C# and took the Programming in C# exam last week.

mcsa-sql

With great pride I can now tell you that I also passed this last exam and earned the MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 title!

It even comes with a badge! :^)

I can only recommend it to be honest: I learned a great deal and find it very valuable in my day-to-day work.

If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll be happy to share my experience with you.

Now that SQL Server 2016 is out, Microsoft is already working on an upgrade path. Not one, but two! I know what is on the menu for 2017-2018! ;^)

BTUG.be XL – BizTalk 2016 Slidedeck

Earlier this evening, I had a great time at BTUG.be, while presenting my session on BizTalk 2016.

I presented the new features in BizTalk Server 2016 RTM and a few takeaway from SQL Server 2016. More specifically, and in-depth, on SQL Server AlwaysOn support for BizTalk Server 2016 on-premise and in the Azure cloud, as well as an intro on the new Logic App adapter and how to install and connect it to your on-premise BizTalk Server.

Thanks to my company, Codit.eu, for providing me the opportunity to be there!

As promised there, please find my slide deck below via SlideShare:

Contact me if you have any questions regarding the slides, I’d be happy to answer you.

The other speakers there were Glenn Colpaert (session about Azure Functions), Kristof Rennen (session on Building scalable and resilient solutions using messaging) and Nino Crudele (session on Holistic approaches to Integration).

As always, it was nice to talk to the people present. A big thank you to BTUG.be for having me again!

Enjoy the slide deck!

Pieter

TMIL Nov 2016- This Month I Learned

Earlier this month, I had a “great” idea… or at least I think I had one: Let’s put a monthly blog post up on what I learned during the previous month. If I keep doing this every month, I will not only feel some pressure to actually learn something (to be able to put it up), but will possibly see the progress (if any) I made.

So, without further ado, here is what I learned/experienced last month, in no particular order.

Connecting BizTalk to CRM (Online or on-premise) is not trivial

This is a great blog post containing a very nice example on connecting BizTalk to CRM for basic CRUD operations. This is part 2, where part 1 (linked in the article) is about connecting to CRM using the SDK.

Basically, what one needs to know is that, certain entities/values like a country for example, will not return a value, but rather a GUID. This GUID must then be queried for into CRM again, to know it’s value (in itself an entity again).

To connect to CRM, there are several options:

  • Instance Web API with a URL to the Web API and ODATA4Metadata.xml
    This contains the CSDL (Common Schema Definition Language), which defines an XML representation of the entity data model exposed by an OData service.
  • Organization Service with a URL to a SOAP service providing access to CRM, with a  WSDL you can download (Organization.svc?singlewsdl).
  • One can use the CRM SDK libraries (download the CRM SDK or use the CRM SDK Nuget packages) to connect straight to CRM and let the SDK do the hard work for you

I general it just seems like a very good idea to build a facade API in front of the CRM services, since BizTalk uses typed schemas and CRM untyped ones. You can call this facade using SOAP/Web API for example.

I learned a lot from the following resources:

BizTalk Branch Edition has several limitations, but HIS is not one of them.

In some very specific scenario’s you might use BizTalk Branch Edition instead of the Standard or Enterprise versions. Although the Branch Edition comes with several limitations, Host Integration Server (HIS) is not one of them.

Some limitations are:

  • Only 1 BizTalk application is allowed.
  • WCF and SQL is allowed, but other adapter packs are not supplied.(e.g. SOAP Send)
  • Single server only, so no HA/clustering, etc…

However, HIS 2016 still comes with the BizTalk Branch license, you are still allowed to install the DB2 adapter for example!

Azure DocumentDb is a real piece of work

For an internal project I (finally) had the ideal use case to work with Azure DocumentDb. As a very keen user of SQL Server and normalization, i must say I had to bridge some gaps in order to appreciate the beauty of NoSQL. Schemaless databases are actually quite awesome when you think of it. Not ideal in all circumstances, but amazing none the less.

There is an excellent tutorial on getting started with DocumentDb on Microsoft Docs.

The BizTalk Server 2016 configuration wizard (still) hasn’t changed

This month I installed my first BizTalk Server 2016 Developer Edition. I noticed the configuration wizard actually hasn’t changed at all in regard to previous versions. When creating the installation documentation, I will have to update all of my screenshots however, since the titlebar and logos did get updated!

I was hoping the RTM version might contain some ‘easy’ AlwaysOn configuration. I suppose this will take some time in order to streamline it.

SQL Server 2016 installation comes without SQL Server Management Studio

When installing SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for the first time, I only noticed after the completed installation that SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) was not installed. There is now a separate entry in the setup pages that links to a certain URL where the latest version of SSMS can be downloaded and installed.

It seems SSMS as such no longer requires a SQL license of it’s own. It might have never required one in the first place to be honest: I don’t know.

Windows Server 2016 may cause issues with older Remote Desktop Management tools

I have been using Royal TS for a whole while now. I have actually been using the last freeware version available (v1.5.1) and even put it up on oldversion.com once. Not (only) because I’m a cheapskate sometimes, but mainly because I just like the look and feel of that version. The simplicity and ease of use really does it for me.

Anyway, this month I installed my first Windows Server 2016, in order to prepare for the installation of SQL Server 2016 and BizTalk Server 2016. The first thing I tend to do on these VM’s is to connect via RDP, go to Server Manager, Remote Deskop Management and uncheck the checkbox which requires extra authentication. Reason is that Royal TS – and presumable some other, older tools as well – is not able to provide this extra layer of security. However, I was not able to connect to the Windows Server 2016 VM, no matter what I did. Nowadays, I am still looking for some new tool or solution/workaround. Let me know

Learning to work with Git

As an avid fan of Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC), I had the opportunity of working with Git for the first time. I wrote a blog post about this as well.

It allowed me to compare the two and actually, I tend to like Git some more due to the fact that you don’t have to be connected all the time before committing. However, as most of my work is still done involving BizTalk Server, TFVC will remain the standard for now.

Bluetooth allows more than 1 connection at the same time

Somehow I figured my laptop only could handle 1 bluetooth connection at the same time. I was very pleasantly surprised to see both my Bluetooth mouse and wireless headphones worked at the same time this month. Took me a minute to realize that this is probably known by a lot of people, so I didn’t quite make a big fuss of it… but I was honestly amazed that this was possible! Silly me right?

I learned that a practical limit for the number of bluetooth connections is mostly 3 to 4.

December 13th, speaking at BTUG XL!

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Just a heads up that, on December 13th, I will be speaking at BTUG.be XL for the first time. The session I’m doing is on the 10th release of BizTalk Server, namely BizTalk Server 2016.

The event is hosted by Microsoft, Leonardo Da Vincilaan 3, B-1935 Zaventem

My session:

BizTalk Server 2016: The T-Rex Has New Specs

Find out what’s new in the latest version of BizTalk Server 2016, if you need to upgrade or not and what impact it has on your infrastructure.

BizTalk Server 2016 is the 10th version of the product and comes with several enhancements and new features. From this session you will learn what’s new in BizTalk Server 2016, how it may affect your life as a BizTalk enthusiast and what you need to do in order to get it running AlwaysOn.
This dinosaur has not fossilized yet!

You can subscribe here, entrance is free and pizza will be delicious!
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/btugbe-december-13-btug-xl-tickets-29141495999

Looking forward to see you there!