"Failed to start the BizTalk Host instance" – A strange case of this old chestnut

Posted: January 28, 2011  |  Categories: BizTalk Uncategorized

I got this error today while deploying to a UAT environment. The UAT environment was 64-bit and had two BizTalk 2010 server nodes.

Source:        BizTalk Server
Date:          27/01/2011 8:29:33 a.m.
Event ID:      5410
Task Category: BizTalk Server
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      AKSDBTS01N2..com
Description:
A failure occurred when executing a Windows service request.
Service request: Start
BizTalk host name: testhost
Windows service name: BTSSvc$testhost

Additional error information:
Error code: 0x80131604
Error source: mscorlib
Error description: Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation.

This annoying error is not very informative but in all my previous cases this had been a due to a bad entry in the BTSNVC.exe.config file. If this file is not correct then every host  instance will not start because this file is read by every host instance at startup.

In the present example host instances that had been created before our deployment would start without error. Any new host instance that was created after our deployment would not start. This was beginning to drive me crazy until we discovered that we had missed something in our deployment to one of the  BizTalk nodes. Our new deployment contained a new custom WCF LOB adapter which had to be registered by adding some new bindings to the machine.config files. We discovered that although we had changed the machine.config file at C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\config\4.0.30319 we had not changed the machine.config at C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\config\4.0.30319. As soon as we added the missing machine.config file version all the host instances now started without error.

The deployment and configuration of all the receive ports and locations, orchestrations, sends ports, hosts,  host instances , receive handler and send handlers had been successful because during deployment the …Framework/config/4…  is not read. It is only when you try to start the new host instances that BizTalk complained because it cannot find the new adapter binding in the machine.config. What is really surprising is that this problem is exhibited by any new host instance that you create, either 32-bit or 64-bit. while any pre-existing host instances are not affected.

It would be really nice if you got a more informative error when this problem occurs.

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