The Windows Azure Diagnostics infrastructure has a good set of options available to activate in order to diagnose potential problems in your Azure implementation. Once you are familiar with the basics of how Diagnostics work in Windows Azure, you may wish to move on to configuring these options and gaining further insight into your application’s performance.

This post is an update to the previous post Implementing Azure Diagnostics with SDK v1.3. If you are interested in upgrading from 1.3 to 1.4, it should be noted that there are NO BREAKING CHANGES between the two.

Here is a cheat-sheet table that I have built up of the ways to enable the Azure Diagnostics using SDK 1.4. This cheat-sheet assumes that you have already built up a DiagnosticMonitorConfiguration instance named “config”, with code such as the below. This code may be placed somewhere like the “WebRole.cs” “OnStart” method.

            string wadConnectionString = "Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Diagnostics.ConnectionString";
            CloudStorageAccount storageAccount = CloudStorageAccount.Parse(RoleEnvironment.GetConfigurationSettingValue(wadConnectionString));

            RoleInstanceDiagnosticManager roleInstanceDiagnosticManager = storageAccount.CreateRoleInstanceDiagnosticManager(RoleEnvironment.DeploymentId, RoleEnvironment.CurrentRoleInstance.Role.Name, RoleEnvironment.CurrentRoleInstance.Id);
            DiagnosticMonitorConfiguration config = DiagnosticMonitor.GetDefaultInitialConfiguration();

Note that although roleInstanceDiagnosticManager has not yet been used, it will be later.

Alternatively, and if you wish to configure Windows Azure Diagnostics at the start and then modify its configuration later in the execution lifecycle without having to repeat yourself, you can use “RoleInstanceDiagnosticManager.GetCurrentConfiguration()”. It should be noted that if you use this approach in the OnStart method, your IISLogs will not be configured, so you should use the previous option.

                string wadConnectionString = "Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Diagnostics.ConnectionString";
                CloudStorageAccount storageAccount = CloudStorageAccount.Parse(RoleEnvironment.GetConfigurationSettingValue(wadConnectionString));                

                RoleInstanceDiagnosticManager roleInstanceDiagnosticManager = storageAccount.CreateRoleInstanceDiagnosticManager(RoleEnvironment.DeploymentId, RoleEnvironment.CurrentRoleInstance.Role.Name, RoleEnvironment.CurrentRoleInstance.Id);
                DiagnosticMonitorConfiguration config = roleInstanceDiagnosticManager.GetCurrentConfiguration();

The difference between the two approaches is the final line, the instantiation of the variable config

If you debug both, you’ll find that config.Directories.DataSources has 3 items in its collection for the first set of code, and only 1 for the second. In brief this means that the first can support crashdumps, IIS logs and IIS failed requests, whereas the second can only support crashdumps. This difference is a useful indication of what this config.Directories.DataSources collection is responsible for – it is a list of paths (and other metadata) that Windows Azure Diagnostics will transfer to Blob Storage.

Furthermore, once you have made changes to the initial set of config data (choosing either of the above techniques), it is best practise to use the second approach, otherwise you will always overwrite any changes that you have already made.

Data source Storage format How to Enable
Windows Azure logs Table config.Logs.ScheduledTransferPeriod = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(1D);

config.Logs.ScheduledTransferLogLevelFilter = LogLevel.Undefined;

IIS 7.0 logs Blob Collected by default, simply ensure Directories are transferredconfig.Directories.ScheduledTransferPeriod = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(1D);
Windows Diagnostic infrastructure logs Table config.DiagnosticInfrastructureLogs.ScheduledTransferLogLevelFilter = LogLevel.Warning;config.DiagnosticInfrastructureLogs.ScheduledTransferPeriod = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(1D);
Failed Request logs Blob Add this to Web.Config and ensure Directories are transferred<tracing>
<traceFailedRequests>
<add path=”*”>
<traceAreas>
<add provider=”ASP” verbosity=”Verbose” />
<add provider=”ASPNET” areas=”Infrastructure,Module,Page,AppServices” verbosity=”Verbose” />
<add provider=”ISAPI Extension” verbosity=”Verbose” />
<add provider=”WWW Server” areas=”Authentication,Security,Filter,StaticFile,CGI,Compression,Cache, RequestNotifications,Module” verbosity=”Verbose” />
</traceAreas>
<failureDefinitions statusCodes=”400-599″ />
</add>
</traceFailedRequests>
</tracing>

Code:

config.Directories.ScheduledTransferPeriod = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(1D);

Note – a work around is required for this to work completely. Find out more

Windows Event logs Table config.WindowsEventLog.DataSources.Add(“System!*”);config.WindowsEventLog.DataSources.Add(“Application!*”);

config.WindowsEventLog.ScheduledTransferPeriod = TimeSpan. FromMinutes(1D);

Performance counters Table PerformanceCounterConfiguration procTimeConfig = new PerformanceCounterConfiguration();procTimeConfig.CounterSpecifier = @”Processor(*)% Processor Time”;

procTimeConfig.SampleRate = System.TimeSpan.FromSeconds(1.0);

config.PerformanceCounters.DataSources.Add(procTimeConfig);

Crash dumps Blob CrashDumps.EnableCollection(true);
Custom error logs Blob Define a local resource.LocalResource localResource = RoleEnvironment.GetLocalResource(“LogPath”);

Use that resource as a path to copy to a specified blob

config.Directories.ScheduledTransferPeriod = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(1.0);

DirectoryConfiguration directoryConfiguration = new DirectoryConfiguration();

directoryConfiguration.Container = “wad-custom-log-container”;

directoryConfiguration.DirectoryQuotaInMB = localResource.MaximumSizeInMegabytes;

directoryConfiguration.Path = localResource.RootPath;

config.Directories.DataSources.Add(directoryConfiguration);

After you have done this, remember to set the Configuration back for use, otherwise all of your hard work will be for nothing!

roleInstanceDiagnosticManager.SetCurrentConfiguration(config);

This completes the setup of Windows Azure Diagnostics for your role. If you are using a VM role or are interested in another approach, you can read this blog on how to use diagnostics.wadcfg.

Andy

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