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Pekka from Frends gave me the opportunity to have a look at the beta-version of their Helium 2.0.

For all of you, who don't know the tool:

Helium is a web-application that collects management-data from BizTalk which you usually have to tediously collect yourself, like performance-data (throttling, throughput (like completed Orchestrations/hour), other perfomance-counters) and data about the state of BTS-Applications and presents the data in clearly structured diagrams and overviews which (often) even allow drill-down. 

Installing Helium 2 was quite easy. It comes as an msi-file which creates the web-application on IIS. Aditionally a windows-service is deployt which acts as an agent for sending alert-e-mails and collecting data. What I missed during installation was a link to the created web-app at the end, but the link can be found under Program Files/Frends...

On the start-page Helium shows two sections:

  • An overview about the BTS-Apps (Running?, suspended messages?)
  • Basic perfomance-data

You can drill-down into the BTS-Apps further, to see ReceiveLocations, Orchestrations and SendPorts. And then a very nice feature can be activated: You can set a monitor to each of the ports and/or orchestrations and have an e-mail sent when a threshold of executions/day or hour is not met. I think this is a great idea. The following screeshot shows the configuration of this option.

Conclusion:

Helium is a useful monitoring  tool for BTS-operations that might save a lot of time for collecting data, writing a tool yourself or documentation for the operations-staff where to find the data.

Pros:

  • Simple installation
  • Most important data for BTS-operations in one place
  • Monitor for alerts, if throughput is not met
  • Nice Web-UI
  • Reasonable price

Cons:

  • Additional Perormance-counters cannot be added

Im am not sure when the final version is to be shipped, but you can see that on Frend's homepage soon, I guess...

A trial version is available here

Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 12:32 PM BizTalk | Back to top


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