BizTalk 2004 Configuration Failures

I started this post to list suspect issues that may impact loading a BizTalk configuration (i.e., running configframework.exe in either a silent or interactive mode).  I may eventually split it into separate posts (WMI, security, permissions, etc.).  I am not trying to offer specific solutions to all failures in this post, although I do provide some suggestions and pointers to solutioins where I’ve seen these issues.  This really is a collection of things you can confirm during the configuration steps.

The application of a BizTalk configuration file can be your delight or downfall, and differs for most every environment in which I’ve installed.  Kudos to the big brains at MS for spending their resources on all that’s great about BizTalk; I’m confident they’ll come around to my wish list of easier/faster/better configuration options.

So, that said, let’s look at what makes a configuration fail, easy to hard (note: these are from a multi-server deployment on a domain; some items will not apply to single-server deployments).

Easy (failures in this group typically roll back and do not require restoring a server to vanilla or running configframework with the /u switch):

  • Unreadable configuration file (immediate; confirm you can open the XML file in IE before attempting to apply it).
  • Missing configuration file or bad path.
  • Non-existent user accounts (immediate; confirm domain and account names).
  • Non-existent group accounts (immediate; confirm domain and group names).
  • Bad passwords (the wizard checks these as you enter them).
  • Non-existent SQL server -or- databases/MDFs on the SQL server.
  • SQL Connectivity (this can be easy, medium and very hard, if connection is lost during the configuration step).

With these issues (for the most part), you either cannot complete the wizard, or configframework will fail on invocation with a pointer to your configuration file.  You will realize and resolve most of them while the wizard is running (confirm/create accounts, check passwords, remove databases or MDFs, etc.).  Note: BizTalk wants to run over TCP/IP and Kerberos connection to SQL, so save some time: ensure you can connect to the BizTalk server over port 1433 in SQL Enterprise Manager before you run the configuration wizard.

Medium (will likely require restoration to vanilla, and removal of the present configuration):

  • IIS Application Pool identity failure (if installing BAS, ensure you log on with the same account that the BAS application pool runs under).
  • Inadequate permissions on the SQL Server for the WSS (BAS) administration account (be sure this user has database creator and security administrator roles).
  • Improper group membership (if configuring using domain accounts, forgetting to include the domain name for a particular service, causing the configuration to look for a local group that will not exist).

The result of these errors is a rollback, where BizTalk removes the configured components from the server, leaving behind the SQL databases and other artifacts.  See the post titled “Restoring BizTalk to a Vanilla State“ to recover from these errors.

Hard (cannot remove present configuration, or configuration times out):

  • SQL Connection loss during configuration (has the result of putting the server in a half-configured state); look to network or WMI issues.
  • WMI recycle failure (I’ve seen some services refuse to stop and prevent WMI from recycling during configuration; the configuration times out and the process must be killed).

When configuration must be terminated, the server is in a non-configured state; cannot be unconfigured or configured.  See the post titled “When Good Configurations go Bad“ for the fix to this state, then restore the server to vanilla.  Confirm SQL connectivity and do test recycles of WMI-related services with the account under which you’re installing; some environments have a Group Policy (GPO) to prevent local administrators from managing services (ceding this responsibility to domain admins).

I am keen to receive any feedback and other posts.  Please submit comments.

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About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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