Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Do you have a BizTalk Administrator yet?

Great post by Mark Burch
Do you have a BizTalk Administrator yet?

No organisation in their right mind would install a non trivial SQL Server system without furnishing a qualified DBA to look after it. Why do organisations not treat BizTalk in the same way?
On a scale of 0 to 10 where zero equals "If BizTalk stopped working someone might notice after a couple of weeks" and 10 equals "If BizTalk is broke, we would lose ELEVENTY BILLION DOLLARS every 10 mins" where is your BizTalk installation?
If the Business impact of a BizTalk failure is low, say less than 2 or 3, then maybe this post doesn't apply to you. Anything greater than 3 and you would do well to heed the following advice.
BizTalk isn't a trivial product. Neither from a developer perspective nor an operations perspective. Its really important that the operations people responsible for keeping BizTalk running are adequately trained and knowledgable on how it works, what all its moving parts do, how to backup and restore etc. The worst case is when a Windows infrastructure guy (or team) or a SQL DBA is given the responsibility for managing BizTalk but isn't given the training to do the job properly. Yes its a Windows Server product and Yes it uses SQL Server extensively but neither of these two groups of people are necessarily well qualified (with out specific training) to maintain a BizTalk installation.
At the very least, BizTalk operations people should be FORCED to read the manual - and given the time to get comfortable playing with BizTalk (not in production of course!).
There is BizTalk administration training available from various places (Microsoft included) . I would say if your BizTalk installation is greater than a 5 on the business critical scale, proper formal BizTalk administration training for the operations team should be MANDATORY. (If for no other reason than as risk minimisation).
And my last question as I round out this post is: When was the last time your BizTalk Operations Team did a BizTalk failure/restore drill?
I would say, take your number on the scale, divide it by 2 and thats how many times per year you should run a restore drill.
Ps: ELEVENTY BILLION is my favourate fictional number.

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