Using SCOM to Monitor BizTalk Server RFID

The Microsoft BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 (SCOM 2007) provides for both proactive and reactive monitoring of BizTalk Server RFID. This Management Pack is a part of the BizTalk Server Management Pack, which you can download at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=102291. The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack provides for comprehensive monitoring of important BizTalk Server RFID events and performance counters to provide a centralized management and monitoring experience for a BizTalk Server RFID installation.

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The Management Pack is currently supported only for the 2006 version of BizTalk Server RFID. A new version of the Management Pack for BizTalk Server 2009 will be released.

StepReference

Ensure that you have appropriate permissions to install and configure software on your BizTalk Server RFID servers.

Security and Protection (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=149401)

Install the SCOM agent on each RFID server you want to monitor and point it to the SCOM server.

Deploying Agents in Operations Manager 2007 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=149400)

Download and import the following Management Packs:

BizTalk Server RFID (required)

Windows Base OS (Server) (optional)

SQL Server 2005 SP2 or SQL Server 2008 (optional)

Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 or 7.0 (optional)

Windows Message Queuing Service (MSMQ) 2000 (optional)

You can download the Management Packs from this link:

Management Pack and Product Connector Catalog (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=57202)

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack is a part of the BizTalk Server Management Pack, which you can download at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=102291.

Read the best practices for using SCOM to monitor the RFID server.

Best Practices for Using SCOM to Monitor BizTalk Server RFID

Perform the operational tasks using SCOM.

Operations Tasks for the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack

  • Install additional Management Packs for more complete coverage.

    To help ensure that SCOM monitors the key applications in your BizTalk Server RFID environment, you should install the following Management Packs:

    • BizTalk Server RFID

    • Windows Base OS (Server) (optional, but recommended)

    • SQL Server 2005 SP2 or SQL Server 2008 (optional, but recommended)

    • Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 or 7.0 (optional, but recommended)

    • Windows Message Queuing Service (MSMQ) 2000 (optional, but recommended)

  • Review and prioritize alerts on a daily basis.

    Reviewing and prioritizing alerts on a daily basis helps to ensure that issues are resolved in a timely manner.

  • Enable and disable rules as necessary.

    By default, some of the rules in the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack are disabled. These disabled rules are of the following types: rules needing customization, rules that serve as templates, and rules for monitoring additional BizTalk Server RFID events.

  • Customize rules as necessary for your environment.

    You should customize the rules in the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack to suit your BizTalk Server RFID deployment. Some rules require monitoring thresholds or time thresholds that are best defined based on your specific BizTalk Server RFID deployment.

  • Create additional rules as necessary, based on the rules included in the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack.

    Rules are provided for use as templates for artifacts that you create. You should use these template rules as a reference when creating artifact-specific rules such as:

    • Event rules

    • Alert rules

    • Performance rules

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack enables you to monitor BizTalk Server RFID events and raise alerts that require operator intervention. The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack contains rules that cover the following categories:

  • Health and Availability Monitoring

    Health monitoring rules monitor for different types of errors in BizTalk Server RFID that require operator intervention. There are typically four types of health monitoring rules, which have names prefixed with "Error", "Critical Error", "Warning", and "Information".

    • Error: Errors are events that usually represent individual message processing problems. In isolation they represent one-off problems that can be rectified at either the sender end or the receiver end of a message transmission.

    • Critical Error: Critical errors represent events that indicate a significant problem has occurred. This can affect a wide functionality of BizTalk Server RFID.

    • Warning: Warnings are typically problems that are intermittent in nature and may occur intermittently. Sometimes these problems are of a transient nature and may not recur. They do not represent major problems in operation and may have a lower priority compared to other alerts.

    • Information: Information alerts include information about BizTalk Server RFID. These messages are neither errors nor warnings.

    Availability monitoring rules monitor the availability of service from computers running BizTalk Server RFID. Unavailability of the BizTalk Server RFID service and databases are issues that cause the BizTalk Server RFID service to become unavailable to a client or a device.

    Heartbeat monitoring of RFID devices is crucial to the RFID functionality. At pre-determined intervals, a script queries devices for their availability. If a device cannot be reached, an alert is generated to the console. If the device status down = true, a second script launches to check the network subnet by contacting other devices for their status. If they do not respond, a second alert is generated for Network Down status.

  • Utilization and Performance Tracking

    Utilization and performance tracking rules enable you to monitor the operationally relevant performance counters for BizTalk Server RFID.

  • Hardware Errors

    Hardware errors enable you to monitor RFID devices and their operational state.

The Health and Availability Monitoring rule group contains the following rules to address health and availability monitoring issues on BizTalk Server RFID. These rules are configured to suppress duplicate alerts for identical event content, which means that a repeat count is incremented for a single alert rather than showing multiple alert instances in the SCOM Operator Console. None of the rules contain automated responses, but you can easily add such responses if necessary.

Rule nameEnabled

Microsoft BizTalk Server RFID service not available

Yes

Critical Error Alerts

Yes

Utilization and Performance Tracking rules enable you to monitor how well BizTalk Server RFID is performing. The performance tracking rules gather data from Microsoft Windows performance counters or from other data sources, with a specified sampling rate between 5 and 15 minutes, and store the data for historical analysis. Some of the comparison rules require customization based on your particular environment. In addition, you can change the default sampling rates as needed based on your environment.

Monitoring for message tags not seen tracks Device Status if the Monitor Threshold is reached. A monitor is set with a threshold of 0 tags at the receive port in two sampling periods. Diagnostics scripts query the various devices for status.

The following table shows the utilization and performance rules for BizTalk Server RFID.

Rule nameEnabled

Rate of tags being received from device

Yes

Rate at which errors are raised from the device

Yes

Rate of tags being sent from the device

Yes

Error: Device Downtime has exceeded configured value

No

Warning: Device Errors have exceeded configured value

No

The Hardware Errors rule group contains the following rules to address problems in communicating with RFID devices and databases.

Rule nameEnabled

Exception while closing device

Yes

Process pipeline is stopped

Yes

Faulty Provider throws an exception

Yes

Device being disabled

Yes

Device Name Conflict

Yes

Device Connection Attempt Fails

Yes

Connection to device fails

Yes

Antenna Noise level is high

Yes

Problems accessing RFIDstore

Yes

Device Source down

Yes

The best practice is to review and prioritize all alerts on a daily basis. In addition, you should perform other tasks on an as-needed basis, depending on your environment. Many important problems do not cause alerts, but they still require periodic attention.

We recommend that you perform these tasks as specified. However, you can adjust the frequency of these tasks to meet the needs of your particular environment.

Daily Tasks

On a daily basis, you should perform the following tasks:

  • Review all open alerts. Review all new alerts in the following order of priority:

    • Service Unavailable errors

    • Critical errors

    • Warnings (optional)

    • Informational messages (optional)

    Not all problems can be repaired in one day or less. For example, hardware-related errors such as RFID device errors and antenna problems may take a longer time to fix. It is important that you follow up on open alerts to ensure that they are addressed in a timely manner.

  • Verify that all servers running BizTalk Server RFID are communicating with the SCOM Administrator Console. Communication failure between the servers running BizTalk Server RFID and the monitoring infrastructure prevents you from receiving alerts so that you can examine and resolve them. Topologies that could be subject to communication failures include firewall issues and other scenarios where the SCOM agent cannot communicate with the SCOM server.

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    If the SCOM agent cannot communicate with the SCOM server, this document may help you to troubleshoot the issue: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=90657

As-Needed Tasks

We recommend that you perform the following tasks as required to ensure the availability of BizTalk Server RFID:

  • Review all open alerts.

  • Verify that all managed computers are communicating.

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack includes System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) tasks that enable you to easily transition from an alert in SCOM to an appropriate action, as long as RFID Manager is installed on the SCOM computer. The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack includes the following SCOM tasks:

  • Back up devices

    Backs up the RFID device configuration to an XML file named %RFIDLOGLOCATIONDIR%\RfidDevices.xml. You must have write privileges to the %RFIDLOGLOCATIONDIR% folder for this task to operate correctly.

  • Get all RFID business process status

    Use this task to retrieve the status of all RFID business processes installed on BizTalk Server RFID.

  • Get all device status

    Use this task to obtain the current status of all RFID devices installed on BizTalk Server RFID.

  • Get all device provider status

    Use this task to retrieve the status of all the device providers installed on BizTalk Server RFID.

  • Start Microsoft BizTalk Server RFID

    Use this task to start the RFID service.

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack defines the BizTalk RFID computer group for monitored BizTalk Server RFID computers.

Discovery of BizTalk Server RFID Computers: Computer Attributes

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack uses the following attribute to determine whether to include a computer in the BizTalk RFID computer group:

Attribute nameValue

Microsoft.BizTalk.R2.BizTalkRFID.Service.DataSource

Select * from Win32_Service where Name='MSBizTalkRFID'

Scripts

There are no SCOM discovery scripts in the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack.

Processing Rule Groups

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack uses a single rule group named BizTalk RFID. It contains the event, alert, and performance rules needed to monitor BizTalk Server RFID.

The following table explains the public views available in the Microsoft BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack. Microsoft BizTalk RFID is the top-level folder for public views provided for BizTalk Server RFID in the SCOM Operator Console.

NodeDescription

Alerts

Shows the set of alerts that are not resolved.

Computers

Shows the set of computers that belong to BizTalk Server RFID.

Events

Shows all the events from computers belonging to the BizTalk RFID group.

Performance

Shows the performance data for the set of computers in the BizTalk RFID group.

State

Shows the state view of computers in the BizTalk RFID group.

State monitoring helps to answer the question of whether a monitored computer is healthy at a given time from the perspective of a particular application. System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) updates the status of different managed entities exposed to the user and presents the status as part of the State Monitoring view. To understand the BizTalk Server RFID State Monitoring view, it is important to understand the concepts behind SCOM state monitoring.

The following terminology is used to describe the key components of state monitoring:

  • Role – A role that a server is performing in an environment as determined by service discovery. For example, BizTalk Server RFID.

  • Component– A sub-role that is used as part of the health roll-up to measure the overall health of the server role. For example, Database Status.

  • Instance – A particular computer may host instance(s) of the server role.

In brief, the following are the important principles of SCOM state monitoring:

  • Health of a computer group is derived from the health of the computers contained in the computer group.

  • The status of the computer shows whether applications (referred as server roles) running on the computer are healthy, and the health is derived from the health of the hosted applications.

  • At the application level (server role), the status of the server role is the overall status of all application instances of that server role. For example, SQL Server health is dependent on all of the SQL Server instances running on that computer.

  • At the application instance level (server role instance), the health of the application instance is derived from the health of different areas of the application instance (referred to as components).

  • SCOM alerts are associated with the health of a component. Status of a component is set to red, yellow, or green when alerts are triggered to indicate overall health.

  • Health of a component contributes to the health of the server role. In the case of BizTalk Server RFID the server role assumes the worst state of all its components.

  • Health is represented by colors (red, yellow, and green). This provides the SCOM operator a high-level view of a multi-server deployment in order to focus on important problems quickly.

For Microsoft BizTalk Server RFID:

  • The server role is BizTalk Server RFID. This implies that in the state view, a computer may be identified as performing the BizTalk Server RFID role among other roles.

  • Each BizTalk Server RFID computer is considered an instance of the BizTalk Server RFID role.

  • The BizTalk Server RFID role in a computer will therefore be computed as a result of all events/activities of all the BizTalk Server RFID processes in that computer.

  • The following are identified as different components of the health of the BizTalk Server RFID role:

    • BizTalk Server RFID service

    • Devices

    • Device providers

    • RFID business processes

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack provides red, yellow, and green state monitoring based on the definitions listed in the following table.

ComponentFactors changing state of this component

DatabaseStatus

Database connectivity errors, BizTalk Server RFID database size-related warnings, etc.

EndPointStatus

Availability of end points such as receive location, send point URIs, permissions to access end points, etc.

EngineHealth

Failures in initialization of critical BizTalk Server RFID engine components, persistent engine throttling conditions, etc.

NTServiceState

BizTalk Server RFID services (Windows services) stopping unexpectedly.

Not all rules affect the state of a server role. If necessary you can modify the way an out-of-box alert affects the state of the BizTalk Server RFID role. For more information, see the SCOM Help.

This section discusses common problem scenarios and how to troubleshoot and resolve them by using Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 and BizTalk Server RFID.

Monitoring Devices

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack includes event rules for monitoring RFID devices. For example, you can monitor when a device connection attempt fails. The following SCOM event rules enable you to monitor RFID devices:

  • Exception while closing device - Event that occurs when an exception is raised while a device is being closed.

  • Device being disabled - Event that occurs when a device is disabled.

  • Device name conflict - Event that occurs when the physical name of a device is not the same as the logical name.

  • Device connection attempt fails - Event that occurs when a connection to a device is not successful. If the RFID service cannot connect to a device successfully, it retries the connection after a configurable interval. If all attempts fail, this event is raised. The default number of retries is 10.

  • Connection to device fails - Event that occurs when a device is unavailable. This event is raised by a device provider when an existing connection to a device goes down.

  • Device source down - Event that occurs when a device source is down. For example, this event can be raised by a provider when an antenna is disconnected from the reader.

  • Antenna noise level is high - Event that occurs when the noise level of the RFID antenna is too high. This level is configurable if the provider exposes a property to enable change. This property is not required for the provider.

Monitoring Processes

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack includes an event rule for monitoring RFID processes. For example, you can monitor when the RFID process pipeline is stopped. The following SCOM event rule enables you to monitor RFID processes:

  • Process pipeline is stopped - Monitors events that occur when the RFID process pipeline is no longer running. This happens when an event handler throws an exception and the pipeline that processes the tag event is stopped.

Monitoring Providers

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack includes event rules for monitoring RFID providers. For example, you can monitor when a provider throws an exception. The following SCOM event rule enables you to monitor RFID providers:

  • Faulty provider throws an exception - Monitors events that occur when an error in an RFID provider occurs and it throws an exception.

Monitoring the BizTalk Server RFID Server

The BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack includes event rules for monitoring the RFID server itself. For example, you can monitor when the RFID service is no longer available. The following SCOM event rules enable you to monitor the RFID server:

  • Microsoft BizTalk Server RFID service not available - Monitors when the RFID service is no longer running.

  • Problems accessing RFIDstore - Monitors events that occur when the RFIDstore database cannot be accessed.

If you do not already have the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack installed in your environment, before you can use System Center Operations Manager 2007 to monitor BizTalk Server RFID, you must first download and import the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack. This Management Pack is a part of the BizTalk Server Management Pack, which you can download at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=102291. If you already have the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack installed, you can use it to monitor BizTalk Server RFID by performing the following procedure.

Prerequisites

You must be logged on as a member of the SCOM Administrators group to perform this procedure.

To import the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack
  1. Click Start, click Programs, click System Center Operations Manager 2007, and then click Administrator Console.

  2. In the console tree, double-click System Center Operations Manager, right-click Management Packs, and then click Import/Export Management Pack.

  3. In the Management Pack Import/Export Wizard, on the Welcome to the Management Pack Import/Export Wizard page, click Next.

  4. On the Import or Export Management Packs page, click Import Management Packs and/or reports, and then click Next.

  5. On the Select a Folder and Choose Import Type page, browse to the location where you downloaded the BizTalk Server RFID Management Pack, and then click Next.

  6. On the Select Management Packs page, select Microsoft.BizTalk.Server.2006.RFID, and then click Next.

  7. On the Completing the Management Pack Import/Export Wizard page, click Finish.

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After importing the Management Packs, you must commit the changes to the configuration. Otherwise, the rules are not sent until the Agent Request configuration interval completes.

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If the imported Management Packs do not appear to function correctly, verify that the SCOM Agent Action Account has sufficient privileges.

If you have installed the Microsoft SQL Server  2005 or SQL Server 2008 Management Pack, you can designate the BizTalk Server RFID databases as critical. This ensures that the SQL Server Management Pack monitors the following BizTalk Server RFID databases:

  • BizTalkRuleEngineDb

  • RFIDsink

  • RFIDstore

Prerequisites

You must be logged on as a member of the SCOM Administrators group to perform this procedure.

To mark BizTalk Server RFID databases as critical in the SQL Server Management Pack
  1. Click Start, click Programs, click System Center Operations Manager 2007, and then click Administrator Console.

  2. In the console tree, double-click System Center Operations Manager, double-click Management Packs, double-click Rule Groups, and then double-click Microsoft SQL Server.

  3. Depending on the version of SQL Server you are using, either double-click SQL Server 2005 or double-click SQL Server 2008.

  4. Double-click State Monitoring and Service Discovery, click Event Rules, and then double-click SQL Server Database Health.

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    It is a good idea to rename this rule to indicate that you have customized it.

  5. In the Event Rule Properties dialog box, click the Responses tab, select the script in the Response box, click Add, and then click Launch a Script.

  6. In the Launch a Script dialog box, in the Script name drop-down list, click SQL Server 2005 Server Health or SQL Server 2008 Server Health, depending on the SQL Server edition you want to monitor.

  7. In the Launch a Script dialog box, in the Script parameters boxes, click HighSevDatabases, and then click Edit Parameter.

  8. In the Edit Script Parameter dialog box, in the Value box, add the BizTalk Server RFID databases you want to monitor to the comma-separated list of databases, and then click OK.

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    As long as your BizTalk Server RFID databases are all members of the same SQL Server computer group, you can monitor them regardless of how they are physically distributed across servers.

To mark BizTalk Server RFID databases for customized monitoring in System Center Operations Manager (SCOM 2007)
  1. Log on to the computer with an account that is a member of the Operations Manager Advanced Operator role for the Operations Manager 2007 Management Group.

  2. In the Operations Console, click Authoring.

  3. In the Authoring pane, expand Management Pack Objects and then click Monitors.

  4. In the Monitors pane, expand an object type completely and then click a monitor.

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