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Deployment Process in BizTalk Server 2004/2006
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by Naveen Karamchetti
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Introduction

For several medium to large sized BizTalk Projects, it is very essential to have a BizTalk deployment process in place. This will help to track and monitor the BizTalk deployments on a regular basis. It can also help revert back deployments to its previous state in case of any issues or problems. This article shall explain the BizTalk Deployment process in an Organization in great detail.

Scope

BizTalk Server 2004

In this version of BizTalk there is no provision of creating MSI packages. We would need to use NANT tool to create MSI deployment files. NANT tool provides the flexibility and the speed to deploy BizTalk projects with all the required dependencies. For more information refer to the excellent article written by Scott Colestock.

BizTalk Server 2006

Once the Orchestrations are deployed correctly, MSI packages can be created using the BizTalk Server 2006 Administration Console. Refer to the my article in Code Project, http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/BT2006Deployment.asp.

BizTalk Manual Deployment

Observe the folder structure below, the root folder name being Deployment. It can also be named as "BizTalkServer.Deployment" for more clarity.

Figure 1

Notice the two main folders "Assemblies" and "BizTalk.Deployed.Assemblies."

The folder "BizTalk.Deployed.Assemblies" is an exact replica of Global Assembly Cache (GAC). All the application specific DLL's deployed in GAC shall be present in this folder. All DLL's which need to be placed in GAC need to be moved in here first and then copied to GAC from this folder.

Use the BizTalk Deployment Wizard to deploy assemblies from the “BizTalk.Deployed.Assemblies” folder to the GAC.

Figure 2 - BizTalk Deployment Wizard

The folder "Assemblies" shall contain the DLL's which would need to be placed in Global Assembly Cache (GAC). The naming convention of the folder is as follows.

Year.month.date_ModuleName_Owner 

The module name can be Inventory, PurchaseOrder, etc. The owner would be the login name of the user. For example: nkaramchetti.

2006.02.22_PurchaseOrder_NKaramchetti

There shall be two folders under the module folder:

·         Backup - This folder shall contain the old version of the DLL from the "BizTalk.Deployed.Assemblies" folder.

·         NewDLLs – This folder shall contain the new version of the DLL as on the date mentioned on the parent level folder.

BizTalk Hosts

A BizTalk Host is a container for deployment. Several DLL's can be placed in a single host and can be run and managed independently of other hosts.

The thumb rule of BizTalk hosts deployment:

"Use separate BizTalk projects for your orchestrations, maps, schemas and pipelines. Use separate BizTalk hosts to host your orchestrations and receive locations."

Please see the diagram below for modular deployment.

Figure 3

Creating Hosts and Instances

When an application is deployed or updated, it is often required to restart the BizTalk host instance that the application runs in, to ensure the DLLs are reloaded correctly. If all the orchestrations in the hub were running in the same host instance, this would interrupt the processing of all the business processes.

If a separate host is created for each module, that host instance can be restarted without affecting any other business processes. There is also an option for finer configuration of host instances, to allow high priority business processes to run across multiple servers and to limit lower priority heavy batch processes to fewer servers. This will ensure that there are always resources available for the higher priority operations.

Quick Takeaways

·         A Deployment process in place is always better than none.

·         This process can be used to track and manage deployments effectively.

·         This process can help the administrator provide a lot of essential information to debug and revert back correctly to a working state.

Conclusion

In this article you learned how to plan and deploy BizTalk process in an organization in detail.


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