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What is BizTalk Server

Are you Interested in learning about the BizTalk Server? If that is the case, you have landed in the right place. This comprehensive article covers a detailed description of the BizTalk Server, its features, and working. Reading this article till the end will enable you to easily get started with the BizTalk Server. 

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As the IT Industries are evolving, business processes are getting more complex with various automated systems. Thus, the demand for efficient integration solutions has increased. This integration and connectivity allow us to unite the separate business processes into a single system. Are you looking for integration tools? If is it so, then Microsoft BizTalk Server can help you out. In this detailed article, we will learn about the BizTalk Server and its working. Let us start without any delay.

Table of Contents

Overview of BizTalk Server

Microsoft BizTalk Server is the integration and connectivity platform that allows us to communicate and exchange data between separate systems, applications, and services within an organization. It provides a set of tools and services for complex business processes. In addition to this, we can automate workflows, and integrate diverse technologies across heterogeneous environments. It also has advanced features for monitoring, tracking, and managing integration processes, providing administrators with insights into system performance, message routing, and error handling. Now, let us quickly learn about its features.

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Features

  • It Provides Messaging Engine: 
    BizTalk’s messaging engine has diverse messaging and queuing features like publish-subscribe, request-response, and content-based routing. Thus, it has efficient  message delivery, message tracking, and message routing capabilities. 
  • It allows the EDI and B2B Integration:
  • The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and business-to-business (B2B) integration with features such as partner management, message validation, and encryption. Also, it follows the EDI standards such as  X12, EDIFACT, and AS2. This helps us to share the business documents such as purchase orders, and invoices among the stakeholders. 
  • It enables fast connectivity with Adapters: 
    It has a library of adapters that act as interfaces between BizTalk Server and external systems. So, users can connect with multiple systems, protocols, and data formats. For example, you can easily connect databases like SQL Server, and Oracle,  ERP systems like SAP, and Dynamics, and messaging queues like MSMQ, and RabbitMQ. 
  • It has Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) for tracking the performance: 
    BAM includes the tools to create dashboards, reports, and alerts. This helps the users to track and monitor their performance which increases the real-time visibility of the Key Performance Indicators. 
  • It provides the Business Rules Engine(BRE) to create independent business rules: 
    With BRE, we can define and manage the business rules independently of the application code. You can use the declarative rules language to create and store the business rules in the centralized repository.

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Architecture

The Architecture of the BizTalk Server mainly includes the BAM, BizTalk Server, Messaging, BRE, Monitoring System, and the Enterprise SSO. The organization of different components is shown in the below image. 

Business Activity Monitoring: This component is responsible for tracking and monitoring the performance of business processes. It mainly has four main processes namely Activity, Data Collection, Analysis, and Integration Support. It also includes Alerts and Notifications for triggering events. The following points describe each of these briefly.

  • Activity: It represents the specific business process or task that you want to monitor.
  • Data Collection: It means collecting data from various sources which includes information about the progress and status of activities, including timestamps, data values, and user interactions.
  • Analysis: This includes creating custom dashboards, charts, and graphs to track KPIs.
  • Integration: It involves connectivity with the orchestrations, messaging, and business rules. 

Orchestration: This is mainly responsible for automating complex business processes. It provides Orchestration Designer which is a graphical tool for designing the coordination among the multiple systems. It mainly includes the debugging and testing tool, along with Error Handling Mechanisms to detect and fix the errors. 

Messaging: It mainly includes the Processing, Routing, Transformation, and Tracking of the data or information that is exchanged between different systems. For this, BizTalk provides various built-in adaptors for databases, file systems, web services, messaging queues, and enterprise applications.

  • Processing and Routing: In Processing, the messages are validated according to the schemas and business rules. Then, users implement Routing mechanisms such as content-based routing, context-based routing, and direct routing to ensure the correct delivery of the message.
  • Transformation and Tracking: Also, if we have to transform the data from one format to another, BizTalk Server supports file formats such as XML, JSON, and flat files. It also includes the tracking of the messages so that they can be monitored and adhere to the standards. 

Business Rules Engine: It helps us the users to define and manage the business rules. Therefore, it includes the Composer, Repository, Evaluation, and Integration. Let us discuss them as well. 

  • Rule Composer: Rule Composer is a graphical tool that allows us to maintain business rules using a user-friendly interface. It provides a library of rule templates, operators, and functions for defining rule conditions and actions.
  • Rule Repository: It is like a centralized database to store the business rules. It supports versioning, auditing, and permissions management to ensure proper governance and control over rule definitions. 
  • Rule Evaluation: It evaluates business rules at runtime based on incoming messages, data, or contextual information provided by integration solutions. 

Health and Activity Tracking:  It provides visibility into system status, resource utilization, and operational metrics. Thus, we can easily identify issues, troubleshoot problems, and optimize performance. It has performance counters to measure CPU usage, memory utilization, message throughput, and database activity. Then, it includes the Event Log to store the Server logs events, errors, and warnings and the Management console as a centralized interface.

Enterprise Single Sign-on (SSO): When multiple applications or systems are connected, users face challenges in accessing multiple systems with various credentials. So, Enterprise SSO helps users to access multiple applications and systems using a single set of credentials.

After getting into insights about the Architecture, let us now know how BizTalk works.

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How does the BizTalk Server Work?

Let us consider an example to understand the workings of the BizTalk Server. Suppose, we have designed the BizTalk Server to generate purchase orders when the stock of the Item becomes lower than the threshold limit. In this case, we can configure our BizTalk Server to unify the various systems together for execution of the business process. The following images demonstrate the working of the BizTalk Server. 

  • Send order request: The client application sends the order request message to the receive port configured within BizTalk. The transmission of the request involves various protocols like HTTP and FTP. It may also include the validation, transformation, and routing based on predefined rules and mappings.
  • Request PO: Here, the formal request for goods or services from the supplier or vendor is initiated. After this, BizTalk interacts with the Backend Systems like the ERP to create the purchase orders. Here, we have to use predefined business rules and logic to determine the appropriate format and content of the PO.
  • Return PO: It is the process in which the application sends the response message, such as the acknowledgment or confirmation, back to BizTalk. After processing this response, the system can update the status of the PO, record the acknowledgment, or trigger follow-up actions such as order fulfillment or cancellation.
  • Place Order: In this step, the order is finalized and the Purchase Requests are generated to buy the goods and services from the supplier. After finalizing the order, the system sends acknowledgment to the client application. This indicates that the orders have been placed and generated. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does BizTalk Support Integration with Azure? You can easily Integrate the BizTalk Server with Azure Services like Azure Logic Apps, Azure Service Bus, Azure Functions, and Azure Storage using its built-in connectors. Thus, it supports the integration with Azure Cloud services. 

2. What is the difference between Azure and BizTalk Server? 
Azure is the cloud-based service provided by Microsoft. On the other hand, BizTalk Server is the on-premise integration and connectivity platform. It helps us to exchange data between different components. In other words, it acts like middleware system that connects various subsystems. 

3. What is the Service Oriented Solution in BizTalk?
Service Oriented Solution uses applications that contain the components called services. These components are loosely coupled, Discoverable, and Contractual services to achieve business objectives. It includes the Service Contracts, Composition, and Service Governance to ensure connectivity among the multiple components. 

4. What is the Latest version of BizTalk? 
The latest version of the BizTalk Server is the BizTalk Server 2020. It provides various new features for the Application Lifecycle Management with VSTS, Management APIs, etc. It also includes the additional support for the Visual Studio 2019, Windows Server 2019, SQL Server 2019, etc.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, we can say that the BizTalk Server is an efficient tool for integrating different systems and simplifying complex business processes. It provides various tools that include the messaging engine, orchestration tools, business rules engine, and monitoring tools. Thus, we can easily integrate our Enterprise Applications with higher efficiency in business operations. You are now equipped with enough information about the BizTalk. Go ahead and experience the efficient orchestration of business processes using BizTalk

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Last updated: 14 Mar 2024
About Author

 

Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .

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