Read on to learn about two utilities guaranteed to make your BizTalk administration and troubleshooting much easier. Many users have already discovered MessageBox Viewer (MBV). Very soon a compliment to MBV will be available, the Terminator. This utility makes database maintenance and analysis considerable less complex. Let's look at each.

MessageBox View

MBV can be unzipped onto the BizTalk box and executed by the BizTalk administrator. It will collect a snapshot of the entire BizTalk configuration. It takes analysis much further by identifying problems and potential problems in an easy to understand format. The most significant problems are displayed in red. Other potential issues are shown in yellow. Each item includes links to explain or fix the issue. The entire report is formatted as an HTML file. The process takes less than five minutes and is safe for production systems.

It would be difficult to cover all the information provided by MBV. Some of the common issues identified include:

1) Registry values changed causing poor performance

2) Table size issues

3) SQL job failures

4) Missing critical hot fixes

5) BizTalk tracking configuration

6) SQL configuration changes not recommended for BizTalk

7) Counts of zombies, orphans, RFR's and any other monsters lurking in the database

8) Recommended hot fixes and supportability issues

This is just a sample of what this tool can do. Every BizTalk shop should run this utility at least once a month to help manage BizTalk. More often if problems occur. Keep the reports to provide historical data.

Terminator

Terminator can be unzipped on any box (not necessarily a BizTalk box) and pointed at the BizTalk group. It does require BizTalk admin access to operate. Like MBV it does not require installation.

In the past SQL scripts and WMI calls were used to correct common BizTalk database issues. Terminator helps by providing a tool for these actions. It contains the latest SQL scripts and an advanced GUI to make WMI calls. The GUI displays descriptions and presents required parameters based on the selected task.

Check the boxes indicating compliance with program requirements, database backup and stopping BizTalk activities. Enter the SQL Server and management database names. The Terminator responds with access to various tabs.

· Basic tab presents the user with the most common and safe scripts used for BizTalk maintenance.

· Advanced tab for more complex scripts and MBV interoperation.

· WMI tab allows more complex operations than those offered by the BizTalk admin console.

· Results tab displays messages from executed scripts or WMI calls after execution.

· Help tab explains how to use the tool in detail.

With MBV identifying problems and Terminator fixing them, it made sense to get them working together. MBV automatically creates an XML file for the items Terminator can address. Terminator provides a browse button to locate this file. Clicking the MBV button limits the tasks to those required for addressing the MBV issues. 

Terminator is currently only available from BizTalk support. This will change in the near future as it goes through final testing. MBV is available right now at http://blogs.technet.com/jpierauc/. BizTalk professionals don't get caught without these tools. Check the MBV download site frequently. New features are added all the time. Stay tuned for public release of the Terminator.

For details on how to resolve common issues identified by MBV using Terminator, check out http://blogs.msdn.com/biztalkcpr/pages/using-biztalk-terminator-to-resolve-issues-identified-by-biztalk-msgboxviewer.aspx.