Almost buried in the middle of the new features list, you will find that for those in the healthcare industry, Microsoft has finally delivered on a longer-term ask in the form of improvements to the handling of ordered delivery in BizTalk Server 2013. The ask was for better performance when using the MLLP adapter, but in reality – anyone who relies on ordered delivery with more than a single Send Port can benefit and see anywhere from 300-500% better performance.
This is the glimpse into the improvement that we get from the What’s New article:
In previous BizTalk versions with scenarios where ordered delivery uses multiple endpoints, the slowest adapter type is the maximum speed. This behavior directly impacts HL7 solutions. When using the MLLP adapter, acknowledgements (ACK) are required. Delays can occur because an ACK must be received before the next message is sent.
In BizTalk Server 2013, the next message can be sent without waiting for an ACK from the previous message. When the ACK arrives, it is internally correlated/connected with its message.
What was the Problem?
If you spend some time snooping around the blogs on MSDN from those involved in BizTalk Server development, you are likely to come across this post (back from when BizTalk Server 2013 hadn’t yet been christened 2013).
The post explains that in previous versions of BizTalk Server, whenever a host had a set of messages queued up and ready for delivery, if the first one was destined for an ordered Send Port, then the Host would be blocked until delivery of the message was successful (regardless of available threads, or other non-ordered Send Ports).
So what is the fix?
In the 2013 version of BizTalk Server, instead of relying only on the Host Queue, and blocking all messages that follow an ordered message, each Send Port with ordered delivery enabled is dedicated its own thread within the Host Instance, and messages sent to those locations will not block any other Send Ports that also have messages ready and waiting.
How Do I Take Advantage of This New Functionality?
That’s the really beautiful part about this feature; it’s built into the Messaging Engine. There is nothing special that you have to configure to enable this behavior, no code that you have to write – it’s just there and better by default. The only thing to keep in mind, is that since each ordered send port is dedicated its own thread, you may want to go to the BizTalk Settings Dashboard, and ensure that the Messaging Engine Threads is appropriately configured to accommodate those Send Ports along with any other work that the Host has been assigned.
Best BizTalk Server Version Yet
If you haven’t made the move to BizTalk Server 2013 yet, or at least explored the evaluation to see what it has to offer, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Of course, if you want some dedicated hands-on time and instruction at the same time, I highly recommend our completely overhauled BizTalk 2013 Administrator Immersion class.
That’s all for this week. I’m back in the saddle after spending some time on vacation, so I will be back again next week. Until then, take it easy!