Error when publishing a message from a convoy in BizTalk Server 2013

Today I was migrating another interface from BizTalk Server 2009 to BizTalk Server2013. This interface included a sequential convoy with a filter on the activating receive shape. Multiple MessageTypes can be processed and all shapes and ports use the XmlDocument type to communicate with the MessageBox. When publishing a output message from within the loop, the message has the same context property with the same value as the filter in the activating receive shape of the orchestration. Because the activating receive shape starts a correlation, the subscription also includes a few “exists” checks, beside the mentioned filter. This is why the outgoing message is not picked up by the same orchestration again – the published message does not have the other context properties in the subscription of the activating receive shape.

All this works as expected in BizTalk Server 2009, but in BizTalk Server 2013 an error occurs when publishing the message to the MessageBox. The orchestration is suspended with the following error message (no routing failure occurs):

Uncaught exception (see the ‘inner exception’ below) has suspended an instance of service ‘ConvoyPublishingErrorTest.ConvoyOrch(70c08f5c-8d53-9a89-87f3-5dd970d8daba)’.
The service instance will remain suspended until administratively resumed or terminated.
If resumed the instance will continue from its last persisted state and may re-throw the same unexpected exception.
InstanceId: 26d22144-3130-4a5e-8da8-76356c646326
Shape name: Send_OutgoingConvoy
ShapeId: 2c8a68fb-8bcc-4551-b87b-836e8151fbf7
Exception thrown from: segment 2, progress 4
Inner exception: Exception occurred when persisting state to the database.

Exception type: PersistenceException
Source: Microsoft.XLANGs.BizTalk.Engine
Target Site: Void Commit()
The following is a stack trace that identifies the location where the exception occurred…..

In the Eventviewer, the following error by the source ‘BizTalk Server’ is shown:

The following stored procedure call failed: ” { call [dbo].[bts_AddConvoySetInstance]( ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?)}”. SQL Server returned error string: “The statement has been terminated.;Cannot insert the value NULL into column ‘vtProp1’, table ‘BizTalkMsgBoxDb.dbo.ConvoySetInstances’; column does not allow nulls. INSERT fails.”.

Apparently something is changed in the handling of convoys, causing our solution to fail. To demonstrate this behavior I have created a little demo solution you can download below. Deploy this solution on your BizTalk Server 2013 environment, import the bindings, create the filedrops, start the application and use the provided Input.xml message to see what goes wrong (copy/paste the input message, since the receive location monitors “* – Copy.xml”). All the expression shapes in the orchestration are trace outputs, so you can use DebugView to monitor the orchestation.

We will open another call with Microsoft for this problem. As soon as we hear something, I will update this blogpost.

Download demo solution.

Update 21-01-2014: After some research by Microsoft, a workaround is found for this issue. This workaround includes setting an extra != filter on the activating receive shape.

To fix the issue in the demo solution, I have added a third ContextProperty to the PropertySchema. I promoted a random field from the InputSchema into this property and set the filter on the activating receive shape to <newContextProperty> != “ValueItWillNeverHave”. As long as the incoming message does not have “ValueItWillNeverHave” as a value for the promoted field, the orchestration will pick up the received message. On the message that will be sent out, I add the ContextProperty in the MessageAssignment with the value “ValueItWillNeverHave”. With this explicit filter (as apposed to the implicted filter we had before), the exception no longer appears and the convoy keeps running as expected.

However, we feel this is basic BizTalk Server functionality that should work as it did in previous versions of BizTalk Server. Therefore we have asked Microsoft to further investigate this issue and solve it at the core. This has to be done by the Product Team and might take several months before we hear more about this. I will update this post if we receive more information. We have also asked Microsoft to add this issue to the known issue list of BizTalk Server 2013, so it is documented for other users.