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Monday, June 4, 2007

Understanding Application deployment & Up gradation in BizTalk Server 2006

This section will call attention to specific features which have been added or improved in the Application Deployment space which should be especially helpful to those working often with BizTalk Server. It also describes if any BizTalk application need to updated. Perhaps a partner’s schema will change so your schema and map will have to be changed accordingly. Or maybe the business will require a new auditing API to be called during one part of the business process’s execution. And for as good as our BizTalk Server developers are, there are always code defects in application code that will need to be fixed.

Application Concept

In BizTalk application is a logical container for application artifacts, allowing you to bucket related components. By being able to deploy, manage, start/stop, and troubleshoot all at the application level. The application container contains BizTalk Server assemblies which are deployed to it by Visual Studio or users can manually add BizTalk Server assemblies to the application, or move BizTalk Server assemblies from other applications. Likewise, they can also add non-BizTalk Server assemblies to the application. The application may also contain receive ports, receive locations, send ports, property tracking settings, and role links, to name a few. Implicitly, the application also contains all of the bindings that are represented by their current settings. And other BizTalk Server artifacts can also be added to applications, such as BRE (rules) policies and BAM definition files.

For example, a developer can specify an application to deploy to by editing the “Application Name” property of a Microsoft Visual Studio project. By doing so, their artifacts will be deployed to the said application.

For the IT Pro, they can use the Administrative MMC Console to configure and start an entire application.the application concept allows the IT Pro to manage and troubleshoot selectively at the application level.

Deployment and Staging

Deployment is the logistical distribution of application artifacts to ensure all necessary components are available to the systems that require them. Staging, more specifically, refers to the moving of application artifacts from environment to environment, say from development to a test environment, or from staging to production to undergo different levels of testing at each stage.

Up gradation

There are couple of different ways BizTalk server accommodate application upgrades. Following are the details for the same.

1. Simple Upgrade: - This scenario requires no downtime, requires no code changes, and can be performed by an IT Pro or Business Analyst (BA) single-handedly.
2. Patching Scenario: - In this existing application binaries in production must be edited and swapped with updated ones.
3. Side by Side Versioning: - This allows two versions of the same application artifacts to be running side-by-side. The .NET runtime inherently allows for same-named but different versioned assemblies to be deployed and running.

Microsoft has written a very good document describing all the above facts in detail. Click here to download the document.

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