Archives For Monitoring

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The 95th Percentile

Imagine a reality, where you can detect and fix issues without your users noticing that something went wrong.

We all aspire to measure performance in some way, and choosing what to measure can be a challenge in itself. By default, we think about averages, and we forget that there are many other possible measurements. Continue Reading…


road-worker-detourWith the ability to deploy Windows Azure Cloud Services in different geographical locations, there has to be a way to bring it all together under a single URI.

The Windows Azure Traffic Manager does just that! It allows your end-user’s to interact with the cloud service instance that is closest to them! But that’s not all, it provides the ability to load balance incoming traffic across multiple hosted Windows Azure services whether they’re running in the same datacenter or across different datacenters around the world. By effectively managing traffic, you can ensure high performance, availability and resiliency for your applications.

During Preview, Windows Azure Traffic Manager is currently available at no charge.

Available Traffic Manager Profiles

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websitesWhen Microsoft announced Windows Azure Web Sites I was lucky to rapidly gain access to the preview, which led me to write a preliminary Windows Azure Web Sites Review.

Initially I was confused about the ideas behind Windows Azure Web Sites, because Cloud Services give me a finer grain control over various aspects of the Instances. Cloud Services also provide Production and Staging environments, which are not available in Windows Azure Web Sites. To top it off, Windows Azure Web Sites lack Remote Desktop connectivity. I must admit that in the beginning, I had a hard time finding reasons to choose Windows Azure Web Sites over Cloud Services (PaaS).

Windows Azure Web Sites, started off as being perfect for deployments that didn’t require custom windows configurations and were perfect for teams who don’t use Visual Studio. By greatly abstracting away the concept of Roles, it opened up the platform to a greater audience and most importantly Windows Azure Web Sites consume  other Windows Azure services like Windows Azure Storage Services.

Almost a year later, Windows Azure Web Sites has grown up and above all, I am now a true believer!  In June 2013,  Standard (formerly named reserved) and Free tiers have both graduated from Preview to General Availability (GA)  and are backed by the standard 99.9% monthly SLA. The Shared tier remains in preview with not charges.

Windows Azure Web Sites have come a long way!

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Windows Azure SQL Database does not warn us when we are close to the Database MAXSIZE. If you are like me, you probably don’t want to pay for stuff you don’t use and your probably don’t want your application to stop responding. The only way to effectively accomplish this, is to monitor your Windows Azure SQL Databases on a regular basis.

This has happened to me quite a few times so far… and its just so irritating!

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Logging in Windows Azure can be done through Windows Azure Diagnostics. This solution collects a ton of detailed data that can be hard to parse through. I recently needed a close to real-time trace of what my Roles were doing. My current project has many instances with many independent services running in parallel, resulting in a challenge when I try to trace using Windows Azure Diagnostics. Log4Net and Enterprise Library offer amazing tools to accomplish what I’m after. But they do so with so much detail and data, that we often need to resort to parsing tools and third party applications to extract meaningful information. I needed something quick, lightweight and that didn’t cost too much to operate.

At first, I was trying to follow what my instances were up to using the Windows Azure Compute Emulator. This wasn’t what I was looking for, because local environments don’t run exactly like the production or staging environments on the cloud. I spent a few minutes thinking about logging and costs related to Windows Azure Storage transactions and came up with the solution described below.

The code from this Post is part of the Brisebois.WindowsAzure NuGet Package

To install Brisebois.WindowsAzure, run the following command in the Package Manager Console

PM> Install-Package Brisebois.WindowsAzure

Get more details about the Nuget Package.

A sample project containing the log viewer can be found on GitHub repository ”Windows Azure Logger” .

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