Ehbit ninja's blog

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BizTalk deployment – How do YOU do it?

For the deployment of BizTalk applications we use a custom made tool within my company Cnext. Now I was curious to have some feedback from the community on the deployment of BizTalk applications. How do you handle the biztalk deployments at your company?
Our deployment manager tool is based on the idea to store all used objects in a database model (BizTalk artifacts, but also stuff like MSMQ, file locations, SQL objects, etc. …). Most of these objects are added using auto discovery of the BizTalk databases, so manually adding of objects is reduced to a minimum. Above all, BizTalk artifacts can have a different configuration (binding) defined per environment (test, dev, prod, …).
It also allows you to define all dependencies. Again most of these dependencies will be defined by the tool automatically.
This way of working makes it possible for the tool to define which actions need to be taken to deploy a certain application (or just a part of the application or only some objects). The deployment manager tool will define which objects need to be removed and redeployed (also unenlisting/disabling en starting/enabling artifacts will be done by itself). As a result, using the tool will allow us to deploy much faster, because the objects to redeploy are reduced to an absolute minimum and no complete redeploy is needed (like BizTalk Deployment framework does for example).
Another very useful and much used functionality is the possibility to define complete business/functional flows, including some generic components. This makes sure you can also deploy or redeploy a complete (new) flow (like an order flow for example) by itself, including all necessary objects (as well receive as send ports, file locations, etc. …).
The deployment can be done cross BizTalk applications. So the separation in applications is no longer deployment dependent.
The most important part is to set the database model correct and keep it this way… this will guarantee a much easier and faster deployment, where each environment has its own version of the current deployed objects.
Please answer following questions:
  1.      Is your BizTalk deployment automated (BizTalk deployment framework, custom scripting with MSBuild or BTSTask, powershell scripts, etc. …), or do you just do manual deployment using MSI and binding files?
  2.        Which deployment tools or scripts are you using, or have you used before? And what are your thoughts of these tools (benefits and complaints)?
  3.        What do you think of a tool like our custom deployment manager tool (using autodiscovery, etc. …)?

Thanks for your replies.
 When there is enough feedback, I’ll devote a new post on my analysis.