Archive for November, 2010

New BizTalk Service Pack Model: Cumulative Updates

Introduction

Recently I heard from Microsoft that there is now a new release model for hotfix rollups for BizTalk. The new model is similar to the service pack model (like with BizTalk 2006 R2 SP1) but is known as a Cumulative Update (CU). From what I have heard this is to provide greater frequency to the collective hotfix releases and a more predictable iteration for releases. This model is similar to what is being done with SQL Server and SharePoint Server. This new model of releases applies to all currently supported BizTalk versions including BizTalk 2006 R2 SP1, BizTalk 2009 and BizTalk 2010. Cumulative updates should be applied after running the older rollup of SP1 for BizTalk 2006 R2. It may seem like old news since BizTalk 2006 R2 SP1 is already at CU 3 but I had not heard many announcements about this or people mention CU 3 so I think most people do not know that the rollup release model was changed.

The BizTalk Developer Center Support page at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/biztalk/aa937674.aspx mentions a little more about the new CU model, that the expected frequency is every 2 months, and that each subsequent CU will include all previous CU hotfixes. I was wondering what was the best way to find all of the latest CU releases and the way that worked for me was to search at support.microsoft.com for “BizTalk cumulative update”, so here is the link for this: http://support.microsoft.com/search/default.aspx?query=biztalk+cumulative+update&catalog=LCID%3D1033&mode=r. The released CU versions show up at the beginning of the search results, ordered, nice and easy.

At this time the CU releases are not being localized so if you are using a localized version of BizTalk you will need to install the English version of the CU. If you encounter any issues with the English CU release on your non English system you should report this as a bug so that a corrected localized version of the CU may be created.

Related Resources

BizTalk 2006 R2 SP1 CU 3: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2286501/en-us 

Thanks,

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Azure: How to Check your Bill

Introduction

I have been playing with the Azure toolset lately in preparation for taking beta exam 71-583, which is the MCPD (Pro) exam on Windows Azure technologies. I had worked with these technologies on and off over the past 2 years during the early releases. One thing I have heard from many people is that they will see a bill come in somewhat unexpectedly. During the early pre-production releases everything was free so I did not worry about the charges. I signed up with the cover of my MVP MSDN subscription but I did need to enter my credit card information in case of overages. It is like a hotel – you still have to give your credit card for the mini-bar, long-distance room calls and the movies on the tv.

One thing that seems to be relatively poorly documented is how to check your bill or tab. I gave this feedback on a recent MPRP study but apparently it has not gotten through about how many in the community seem to be stunned by the charges. So I thought it would be good to do a quick post on how to check your bill in the current Azure product. While some of the screenshots seem relatively self-explanatory, you do need to choose 5 links to drill down deep enough into the account details to actually get the meaningful charges information. This really should be easier.

Walkthrough

  1. First, go to one of the Azure configuration portals, either at http://sql.azure.com, http://windows.azure.com, or http://appfabric.azure.com. If you have used the service, you should see a screen similar to the one for me below:
  2. Click on the “Billing” link in the upper right hand portion of the screen under your Windows Live Id.
  3. The next page displayed will be https://mocp.microsoftonline.com/site/default.aspx, which you could alternately go to directly. You will then need to authenticate again. After authenticating with your Windows Live ID the site will be shown similar to the picture below:
  4. So the next thing to do is to click on “View My Bills”. Again, this seems obvious but this is the only entry point I have found into this important report. A pop up window will open. The popup will load a list of your bills as shown for me below:
  5. Next you click on View Online Bill/Invoice. This will bring back an itemized list of your current charges. You can see my bill below. I have been using some of the Azure services but it is covered up to a point by my MSDN benefits:
  6. Finally you have to click on the links like AppFabrc Usage Charges, Data Transfer Usage Charges, or SQL Azure Usage Charges to get the real statistical information about how much you owe. For MSDN subscribers, this is where you check how many minutes you have left in your plan :). Below I show my charges for the data transfer:
  7. I tried taking the URL for this report and copying it out to a different browser session but was unsuccessful. I wish it were easier to see the expected charges or maybe get a text if I were about to be charged actual money. I wonder if there is a cloudapp for that.

Good luck managing your cloud accounts! Thanks,

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BizTalk 2010 Party Migration Tool Issues & Workarounds

Introduction

Back during the BizTalk 2010 beta I was testing out the Party Migration tool. This tool enables a smoother migration path from BizTalk 2006 R2 and BizTalk 2009 to BizTalk 2010. It is very useful once you get it to run successfully. Back during the beta I experienced quite a few issues and apparently these issues remain in the final version (RTM) of the tool. This post will describe these issues and give the full steps for a workaround. I am using very similar steps I used during the beta here.

Issues

The party migration tool can be found on the install media at <install media path>\core\BT Server\PartyMigrationTool\PartyMigrationTool.exe. The help description found at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa578307(BTS.70).aspx mentions this should be run from a CD.  It would be nice to know this when trying to run the tool but this is not mentioned in the error messages.

Back during the beta the files were distributed just as they are now with the BizTalk 2010 Developer edition – as an extractable exe that does not come as an ISO. This is problematic because the intention for running this tool is that it will be loaded on an ISO or removable media. So you will need to either burn an ISO or use a workaround.

This tool does require you to right-click Run as Administrator or to execute it from an elevated prompt. Otherwise you will get odd CAS errors:

Request for the permission of type ‘System.Security.Permissions.UIPermission, mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089’ failed.. For more details please see the event log.

Initially, if you are using the BizTalk 2010 Developer edition or have not burned an ISO, and try to open the PartyMigrationTool.exe you will receive assembly not found errors like this:

System.IO.FileNotFoundException was unhandled
Message: Could not load file or assembly ‘Microsoft.BizTalk.Migration.PartnerManagement, Version=3.0.1.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35’ or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

If you run off the ISO or removable media everything works but there is another way for this to work.

Workaround

  1. If you are using BizTalk Developer edition or did not make an ISO, go to the PartyMigrationTool folder. Keep this open.
  2. You will need to add 3 assemblies to the GAC next. I found it easiest to copy these three assemblies to the PartyMigrationTool folder to keep everything together. All of these assemblies are found on the BizTalk 2010 install media. The assemblies you will need are:
    a. Microsoft.BizTalk.B2B.PartnerManagement.dll in \core\BT Server\MSI\Program Files\Developer Tools
    b. Microsoft.BizTalk.Migration.PartnerManagement.dll in \core\BT Server\MSI\Program Files
    c. Microosft.BizTalk.Migration.PartnerManagement.XmlSerializers.dll in \core\BT Server\MSI\Program Files
  3. [Note]: I had previously recommended modifying the PartyMigrationTool.exe.config to redirect the assemblies but upon retrying with the RTM bits I thought it was just easier to GAC everything necessary. 2.a. fails anyway because there is not an entry for it in the config.

I did want to mention one other note. When you finally get the tool running, you will need to connect to SQL Server using Windows authentication, SQL authentication is not supported.

Thanks,

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