BizTalk active / active cluster and MSDTC

Posted: March 15, 2013  |  Categories: BizTalk Adminsitration Uncategorized Useful tips

Over the years i’ve set up a few environments, for me it important to follow best practice to the fingertips to ensure the best result, and happy clients.

A normal (basic) high available setup consist of a clustered BizTalk setup as an Active / Active cluster and a SQL Active/Passive cluster. The reason for the active / Active BizTalk cluster is the fact that you want to utilize all resources available have load balancing and cluster the single host adapters, even if we would set it up as active / passive you still have to pay for the licenses on the passive node. Keeping them as an active / active cluster we also get the benefit of having more resources available. after all we are only clustering the single host adapters (Like FTP, POP3 etc.).

BizTalk uses MSDTC for different communication and it’s therefor important that this is configured correctly, depending on the clustering method. For active / passive we have to cluster the DTC. But when it comes to an active / active cluster we need to make sure all active machines have their own versions of MSDTC running, it should not be a part of the cluster as a resources. If you do have it as a resource you will end up with errors during configuration of BizTalk, these errors usually states problem with communication for different databases or services like analysis server or other elements during configuration that requires DTC.

  • Anil

    please provide any new articals for biztalk

    • Tord Glad Nordahl

      if you have any wishes let me know, and I’ll do my best. I know you want some SCOM article, and I’ll see what I can manage to publish.

  • Colin

    Thank you.

    This is very helpful especially re differences between active / active clusters Versus active / passive as the Microsoft documention for Biztalk and MSDTC that I’ve seen online so far does not clarify this.


    • Tord Glad Nordahl

      Thanks, but remember if you want to cluster some hosts you need to have windows cluster installed. After configuration of BizTalk you need to add MSDTC as a cluster resource for the clustered hosts to work.

      • Chris

        Hi Tord,

        I’m still a little confused. If I would like to have both non-clustered and clustered hosts, on a two-app-server BizTalk group, how would I setup DTC on the BizTalk app servers?

        Would I setup a clustered DTC resource for the clustered BizTalk hosts, and then enable the local DTC instances, on both app servers, to handle the non-clustered hosts? Is Active/Passive okay for the DTC resource?


        • Tord Glad Nordahl

          Yeah, you cluster the MSDTC for the active/passive hosts, this clustered DTC instance will handle all the load without a problem.

          • Chris Jones

            Thanks Tord!

  • Parvez

    Hi Tord, Nice post!!

    I have a question though. Do we have to cluster MSDTC if we want to have only one clustered host (for FTP) and the rest non-clustered hosts in an active/active BizTalk setup?

    • Tord Glad Nordahl

      Yes you do, as long as you want a clustered active/passive AND active/active you need to cluster DTC.

  • Tom Yang

    I have clustered hosts (for FTP, MSMQ) of active/passive and rest non-clustered hosts of active/active. In my QA environment, I just started the clustered MSDTC, it’s working. In my similar Staging environment, I started the clustered MSDTC in active node and local MSDTC in all BizTalk Nodes, it’s also working. I am wondering if local MSDTC needs to be started?


    • Tord Glad Nordahl

      No, you do not need to start the local as long as the clustered is running.

      • Parvez

        I have a question regarding your previous comment – “No, you do not need to start the local as long as the clustered is running.” The question is – If I want to run both clustered (Active/Passive) and non-clustered (Active/Active) hosts on the same 2 node BizTalk setup, will the active/active host work if local MSDTC is disabled/stopped?

  • Learner

    I am confused with clustering concept. If Active/Active is a clustered type then do we need windows cluster to be installed?

    • Tord Glad Nordahl

      On the biztalk side you need to cluster MSDTC if you want to use single host adapters.

  • Stewart


    I am using BizTalk 2013 R2 on Windows 2012 R2.

    I have SSO clustered across my BizTalk nodes together with a clustered BizTalk Host (FTP and POP3). The reason I have SSO clustered on the BizTalk nodes rather then the more usual SQL Nodes is that SQL is supported by a 3rd party who do not support SSO.

    I have included the SSO Service and the BizTalk Host in a single Cluster Role (SSOBTSHosts) and added SSO as a dependency to the clustered BizTalk Host.

    Now where do I cluster MSDTC in the same cluster role (SSOBTSHosts) and add the MSDTC as a dependency to the BizTalk Host or not or in its own Cluster Role where I will not be able to add a dependency to the BizTalk Host if that is what is needed?

    • Tord Glad Nordahl

      You can share that with SSO if you want to, or set up its own cluster resource.

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