BTS 360 offers us much more granular security than the standard admin console.
It allows us some autonomy from the infrastructure teams. Once installed we can configure & use the product as a business tool independently from requesting SCOM monitoring from the infrastructure teams. Additionally, we are able to set-up cross-cutting monitoring that would otherwise require liaising with multiple teams within the infrastructure group (OS, IIS, SQL, etc).
We can see the status of the platform (Windows, SQL, etc) without having to give rights to individuals to the underlying servers.
The visual tracking & drilldown features are intuitive and useful and provides a much clearer understanding of message flow.
Note: most of these comments are about future improvements.
The product has a large learning curve, especially for anyone with an extensive history of using the standard admin console and – the classification of operations / monitoring / analytics can be confusing. The understanding of creating & mapping alarms also takes some getting used to and it's easy to map an alarm to the wrong application.
We had hoped to remove the standard admin console and revoke all access via the standard BizTalk Administrators AD group – we had mistakenly assumed that BTS 360 replicated all the functionality of the standard admin console. However, BTS 360 does not offer the platform configuration functionality that we need, the most important omissions for us being unable to import / export bindings or change / create ports.
I think that there is an opportunity for adding more value when using the tracking tools, at the moment it seems to be just a web façade on top of the standard BizTalk library. In particular when building queries I would like to see all the filter values pre-populated rather than just replicating the standard admin console; e.g. when building a 'Tracked Service Instances' query the values for 'Assembly Name', 'Service Name', etc. could be pre-populated in the same way that they are for 'Host Name' rather than forcing the user to manually enter the name.
Additionally, we develop our dashboards & alarms in a staging environment & then these need to be moved to a separate installation of BizTalk 360 in our production environment. Support for export / import of alarms, dashboards, queries, etc would be useful.
SQL Server monitoring. Our BizTalk databases run on a SQL Server Failover Cluster instance. The monitoring of these clustered instances was lacking in functionality/accuracy so we are not using that functionality. This could be improved,
Plan on setting aside a significant familiarisation / training period; especially if your staff are already familiar with the standard BizTalk Admin console.
Do not expect (yet?) to completely replace the standard admin console as BizTalk 360 does not provide the platform configuration functionality.
The core problem that we are trying to solve is having to give BizTalk administrator permissions to operational & testing staff. We haven't yet managed to achieve this because of the missing platform configuration functionality. However we have gained significant improvements in our general monitoring capability.
As the BizTalk is a hosted service, BT360 helps provide our clients with monitoring access to their application without giving them direct administrative access to the production environment.