I suspect that many organisation don't yet realise this, but "BizTalk Administrator" is a now a specialised job role. So often I see situations where, when things starting going wrong, the operations guys are forced to call in the BizTalk dev guys because they're the only one's in the company who have a firm grasp on how BizTalk works. Maybe that works in your organisation, but its worth pointing out that dev guys aren't necessarily well suited to making stuff run. Devs build stuff. Operations people keep stuff running. Its different mindsets, and if your critical BizTalk infrastructure (or something BizTalk is dependant on) is currently down (it happens), do you really want mindsets clashing?

What would be the hallmarks of a good BizTalk administrator?

  • Well for starters, a good BizTalk Administrator would actually realise they are the BizTalk Administrator. They understand that its a specialised skillset and requires specialised knowledge.
  • They've done some BizTalk Administration Training (company funded of course) and they've read the operations manual.
  • They actually have a BizTalk install on their own box which they play with. They may not have the dev background to get too involved with orchestrations maps and all that dev stuff, but they play with the SDK samples when they can.
  • They fully understand the Deploy Undeploy story around BizTalk and the various methods available for deploying artifacts.
  • They understand the relationships between, BizTalk and IIS, BizTalk and SQL, BizTalk and MSMQ, BizTalk adapters and everything they connect to, and so on. If you connect to a mainframe, they should have some idea how that magically happens.
  • They are plugged into the BizTalk blogosphere/newsgroups so they can keep a proactive watch out for issues, releases, Services Packs etc. No good BizTalk Administrator would be surprised to hear that BizTalk 2004 Service Pack 2 released recently (You already have this in your maintenance/release plan don't you?)
  • If you've got BTS2006, then they hang out in the BizTalk Administror Hub page for a part of the day...you know just keeping an eye on things... If you have BTS2004, then they are intimately familar with HAT and use it daily. A really good Admin will even have custom HAT queries they use for looking at things of interest.

This has been my 2 cents.


posted on Monday, November 20, 2006 5:38 PM | Print