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Introduction

This article gives the answers which can be posed in an interview in which you might apply for a BizTalk Administrator. The article with just the questions, can be found here.

Answers

  1. What jobs do you need to configure when you install BizTalk?
  2. What are thresholds?
    From a BizTalk perspective, these are numeric values, which can be configured on your Hosts, and lead to Throttling situations once they are passed.  See Microsoft BizTalk Automatic Throttling
  3. Why do you have automatic throttling states and what can it be used for?
    To warn the BizTalk Administrator that BizTalk is under stress. See Microsoft BizTalk Automatic Throttling
  4. What does a “high available environment” mean?
    BizTalk can be configured in that it uses a Failover- and/or Load Balanced cluster. By doing so, BizTalk uses several physical or virtual machines to spread the workload. In case one of the machines goes down, BizTalk is still able to process workload on the other machine(s). See BizTalk Server: High Availability Survival Guide
  5. What is NLB?
    This stands for Network Load Balancing. It's one of the possibilities to make BizTalk high availabl. Again see BizTalk Server: High Availability Survival Guide
  6. What is Host Architecture?
    A Host Architecture describes how BizTalk uses Hosts and Host Instances for spreading its workload. Normally you have Hosts for Receiving messages, Processing orchestrations, Sending messages and Tracking completed processe. See BizTalk Server: Host Architecture
  7. How do you route messages by receive port name?
    By adding a filter on a Send Port, to that Receive Port. See what can go wrong: BizTalk Message Based Routing: why is my file not transferred to the location of the Send Port
  8. How do you measure performance for BizTalk?
    By using PerfMon and configure counters for CPU, Memory, I/O, Throttling
  9. Which are the four most important BizTalk databases?
    • BizTalkMgmtDb (contains the configuration of a BizTalk Group)
    • BizTalkMsgBox (contains the messages and work in progress)
    • BizTalkDTADb (contains information about the completed processes)
    • SSODb (contains credential information)
    See BizTalk database: Survival Guide
  10. What are the dangers of filters combined with Send Port Groups and multiple Send Ports?
    There is the risk that Send Ports which are also used in Send Port Groups, pickup the message multiple times, leading to the danger that the message is processed multiple times, where it should be processed only once.
  11. What needs to be backed up for a complete disaster recovery?
    Besides the databases, the Master Secret Key
  12. What is an orphan message?
  13. What is a zombie message?
  14. What is a DNS server?
    That's a Domain Name Server. It is a piece of software which is used for looking up IP addresses by domain names
  15. How can you improve performance for BizTalk?
    • Scaling up =>add better CPU's, more RAM in the current servers, add MessageBoxes
    • Scaling out => add more servers, create Failover- and Load Balanced clusters
  16. What is ment by “parties”?
  17. Which default adapters cannot run with 64 bit OS?
  18. Which default adapters can only run with a single Host Instance?
    Adapters which lack a locking system, like FTP, POP3, MSMQ
  19. What is TDDS?
    TDDS stands for Tracking Data Decode Service. This service is responsible for moving tracking event data from the BizTalk Server Messagebox database to the BizTalk Server tracking database.
  20. What are best practices for tracking in production?
    Just use it when it's absolutely neccessary! Turn off as soon as possible! It's a pain for your overall performance!See Best Practices for Message and Instance Data Tracking
  21. What is global tracking and what does it track when global tracking is on?
    Global Tracking is the general Tracking switch. If it's turned off, nothing will be tracked. If it's turned on, by default it tracks Orchestration start and end, Message send and receive, shape start and end. With this settings no message content and context is tracked (which is good).
  22. What is the difference between BizTalk 2009 and 2010?
  23. What is a Cumulative update?
    A kind of Service Pack
  24. How many BizTalk versions are there?
    Until now (August 2013), we've seen BizTalk 2000, BizTalk 2002, BizTalk 2004, BizTalk 2006, BizTalk 2006 R2, BizTalk 2009, BizTalk 2010 and BizTalk 2013. so that makes 8 major versions! See BizTalk Versions
  25. What is the BizTalk Adapter Pack?
    The BizTalk Adapter Pack is a packager which contains several adapters for LoB systems. Think of adapters for SAP. Siebel and Oracle.
  26. What is the ESB toolkit?
    The BizTalk ESB Toolkit provides architectural guidance, patterns, and a collection of BizTalk Server and .NET Framework components to simplify the development of an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) on the Microsoft platform and to allow Microsoft customers to extend their own messaging and integration solutions. See BizTalk Server ESB:Survival Guide.
  27. What is required to install the Sharepoint adapter?
    Windows SharePoint Services must be installed
  28. What is special about the BizTalk Backup job?
    It is special, because this job represent the only correct way to make backups from BizTalk, see also Aspects of backup BizTalk Server
  29. Which SQL agent job came in BizTalk 2010?
    A job that monitors certain aspects of BizTalk Server. See Monitor BizTalk Server
  30. Which tool was removed in BizTalk 2009?
    In BizTalk 2009 the HAT (Health and Activity Tracker) has been removed. Its functionality, track and display information relating to live and historical message data, is now available from the Group Hub.
  31. How does the BizTalk Administration Console cache applications?
    The BizTalk Administration Console maintains a local cache. The refresh interval can be configured, default is 60 secs.
  32. How can you solve slow Administration Consoles?
  33. What should be included in a basic guideline?
  34. What can you use the tracking database for? 
    • This database stores data of completed processes which comes from the MessageBox
    • Can be used for report generation 
  35. What is a trusted / un-trusted host?  BizTalk Server enables hosts identified as authentication trusted to indicate that the sender of a message that the trusted host is queuing to the MessageBox database is an entity other than the trusted host itself. The primary purposes of authentication trust are to enable pipelines to resolve to a Product ID (PID) and pass that PID along to consuming services for use in authorization and outbound party resolution, and to enable the transmission of the sender Windows Security ID (SSID) along to consuming services for use in orchestration action authorization. See BizTalk Hosts
  36. What is MSMQ used for?
    MSMQ stands for Microsoft Message Queue. It's a queuing mechanism which comes out-of-the-box with Windows Server
  37. What is ment by dedicated hosts
    When a BizTalk Group has Dedicated Hosts, it has Hosts which are dedicated for i.e. Receiving, Sending and Processing messages and orchestrations.
  38. Should the DTA Purge and Archive job be configured and running if you have global tracking turned off?
  39. What has not been changed regarding hosts since BizTalk 2006?
  40. How do you turn off global tracking in BizTalk 2006 – 2006 R2?
  41. What is the main difference between BAM and DTA?
    BAM (Business Activity Module) has a business driver, while DTA (Data Tracking Architecture) is used for Tracking purposes. With BAM Users can define Views and Notifications based on certain (Business) events. The view can be used from a SharePoint portal.
  42. What is the use of taking a backup of the Master Secret Server Key? The Enterprise Single Sign-On master secret is stored in an encrypted registry key on the master secret server in the production site. The master secret should be restored to the disaster recovery site as a normal part of disaster recovery preparations. See MSDN How to Restore the Master Secret Server and BizTalk Server 2010: Enterprise SSO Survival Guide. Note that is vital that this key backup properly and somewhere where it can be accessed in case it need to be used to restore SSO. If this key is lost or password to protect is unavailable then it will lead to reconfiguring the BizTalk Group!
  43. What is the use of Enterprise Single Sign On? Enterprise Single Sign-On (ESSO) is an important component of BizTalk Server. ESSO is responsible for securely storing critical information such as secure configuration properties  for the BizTalk adapters. On each computer where BizTalk runtime is installed the ESSO is present. Typically ENTSSO is installed to: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Enterprise Single Sign-On. See BizTalk Server 2010: Enterprise SSO Survival Guide
  44. What is BTSNTSVC.exe.config  file?
    This is the config file for BTSNTSVC.exe, which runs as a Windows Service and basically is a Host Instance.

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.