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Stuart Brierley Integration Management - BizTalk and More

We were recently looking at ways to improve the performance of one of our BizTalk Servers, a server which is only using BizTalk Server 2004 Standard Edition.  In our scenario, the server was often maxing out the single CPU it had, under peak load this resulted in time outs on the front end system that was calling our BizTalk web services.

There did appear to be any design or tuning changes that would make a hude difference to this busy system, so we started looking into licensing costs and the idea of more CPUs and I came across an interesting section in the Licensing FAQ from Microsoft:

“BTS04 STD and PAR are limited to only one processor. The BTS04 Engine is technically limited to use only one processor on the server, even if it consists of multiple processors. For deployments where the BTS04 Engine is used, you only need to buy one processor license, regardless of the number of processors on the server.”

This basically tells us that if we did put a second CPU in the server, BizTalk 2004 Standard Edition would not use it and we would not have to pay for it.

We decided to see what performance gain this might give us, as other processes such as IIS, COM+ and various OS processes could potentially make use of this second CPU. 

With the second processor addeed the BizTalk host processes defaulted to running on processor 0.

Under average load we saw that CPU 0, running the BizTalk host, was still busy but didn't max out.  Under peak load CPU 0 continued to max out but we did not see the timeout issues we were getting previsouly.  In the peak scenario the second CPU was running at about 50%.

While not ideal, this did allow the system to go live without any additional licensing costs, and suggests that if you have a very busy BizTalk 2004 standard server you may see benefits from a second CPU.

Unfortunately for those of you running BizTalk Server 2006 or 2009, the licensing model had changed.  Later versions of the Standard product use two CPUs by default, and the license states that if you have more CPUs in the server you have to pay for licenses for all of these.  For example, the BizTalk Server 2009 licensing FAQ states:

"The BizTalk Server 2009 STD engine can technically use only two processors on the server, even if it consists of more processors. For deployments where BizTalk Server 2009 is used, you need to buy the same number of processor licenses that Windows Server will utilize on that server. For example, if you have BizTalk Server 2009 STD installed on a four-processor server and the Windows operating system is utilizing all four processors, because the server’s performance is benefiting from all four processors running the operating system, you need to purchase four licenses of BizTalk Server 2009 STD."

Posted on Monday, November 9, 2009 12:55 PM BizTalk Administration and Troubleshooting , BizTalk Infrastructure and Installation | Back to top


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