BizTalk - Setting up a Technology Infrastructure Team (TIS)

BizTalk - Setting up a Technology Infrastructure Team (TIS)

Scenario: The Company is using BizTalk Server for many of their core business process. Until now there is no clear ownership for the product, the environment(s) are managed by various business units. They followed various process and procedures (ex: Build, Deployment).  The management team soon realized this as an unsustainable situation and they wanted to build a dedicated TIS (Technology Infrastructure) team who can take ownership of the BizTalk estate and provide ready for service, so the independent business units can focus on their core business issues and not worry about the infrastructure side of things.

BizTalk being an enterprise product the above scenario must be a common one across various organizations. When you are planning to setup such team, there are various things you need to take care of from the infrastructure/operation perspective. This article tries to list out all such tasks. Based on the size of the organization, some of them may be ignored.

Responsibilities of the team at very high level

  1. Product Road Map
    1. Clearly define the product road map (BizTalk, SQL, and Windows. Ex: Current - 1). When the current version will be decommissioned.  Defining the timescales for migration.
  2. Team Structure (minimum)
    1. Manager / Product Owner.
    2. BizTalk Expert.
    3. Windows Expert (Windows, Fail over Clustering, SQL clustering, SAN etc).
    4. SQL DBA.
    5. Application deployment professionals.
  3. Roles and Responsibility matrix
    1. Document the roles and responsibilities clearly.
  4. Environment Installation/Configuration procedures
    1. PROD/DR/Pre-Prod/PERF.
    2. NON-Production (UAT, SIT, etc).
    3. Developer, Build machines.
    4. Environment Inventory document.
  5. Licensing
    1. Make sure licensing requirements are met, all the environments are correctly licensed.
    2. Any dependent third party product licenses (adapters, management, monitoring software etc).
  6. Monitoring
    1. Infrastructure Monitoring procedures
    2. Application monitoring procedures.
    3. Incident reporting – call hierarchy procedures.
  7. Database Maintenance
    1. Backup/Restore procedures.
    2. Purging/Archiving Strategy.
  8. Operations
    1. Daily tasks.
    2. Weekly tasks.
    3. Monthly tasks.
    4. Quarterly tasks.
  9. Support Model
    1. Infrastructure support.
    2. Application support (may not be managed by TIS).
    3. Support window/rota procedures (covering weekends, evenings).
  10. Disaster Recovery
    1. Well defined DR model.
    2. DR Rehearsal procedures, Role swap between DR and PROD.
    3. Clear DR SLA requirements (downtime).
  11. Application Deployment Procedures
    1. Automated Build procedures.
    2. Clear/Standard Deployment procedures.
    3. Health check procedures after deployment.
  12. Environment Capacity planning
    1. Clearly understand the current capacity and forthcoming requirement.
    2. Clearly define your scalability options, when requirement increases.
  13. Shared Infrastructure policies
    1. Clear Application/Resources isolation strategy.
    2. Host/Host Instances configuration strategy.
    3. Decide on VM based isolation or shared environment or both.
  14. Scalability options
    1. Document your scalability options before hand with proven validation/testing. Ex: Scale up (more memory, powerful processors), Add more BizTalk/SQL Servers.
  15. Naming Conventions
    1. Host.
    2. NT Groups.
    3. Service Accounts.
  16. Maintenance Window
    1. Patching Cycle.
    2. Clearly defined monthly/annual maintenance window.
  17. Security
    1. Certificate management.
    2. Master Secret key management.
    3. Service Account password management.
    4. External services (web services, SQL,  SAP etc) credential management.
  18. Hot-fixes, Service Packs, Cumulative update list.
  19. Binding file management
    1. Environment specific binding file management taking care of appropriate username/password management.
  20. Host/Host Instance Management
    1. Creating new Host/Host Instances.
    2. Naming convention.
    3. Clustered host instances (for certain scenarios).
    4. 32bit host instances (for certain scenarios).
    5. Dedicated Tracking host/host instances.
  21. IIS Management
    1. Website Virtual Directory maintenance procedures.
    2. Application Pool management procedures.
    3. SSL Certificate configuration.
  22. Performance tuning procedures
    1. Clearly document the changes made in the environment for performance tuning (registry changes, db changes, throttling changes etc).
    2. Define clear procedures to repeat performance testing to validate the capacity.
  23. Knowledge base repository
    1. Maintain Wiki/SharePoint site for Knowledge base.

See Also

Another important place to find a huge amount of BizTalk related articles is the TechNet Wiki itself. The best entry point is BizTalk Server Resources on the TechNet Wiki.

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