Azure troubleshoot

As a developer you’re probably familiar with the pain of troubleshooting web applications. In Azure App Services you have a rich set of different tools to help you make this troubleshooting a lot easier. In this post though we are going to discuss the latest addition of these tools, the Azure App Service support.

To access the tool you can click on any of the troubleshoot blade links as shown in the picture. The Azure App Service support web application will open on a new web page and present you with three troubleshooting sections. Note that, if your live id is associated with more than one subscriptions (Active directories) you will first have to select the subscription you want to work with and the web app you want to troubleshoot from the drop down menu on the header.

Observe:

In this first section you will be able to monitor – see the average requests per second and average server errors per second your web app is serving in real time.

Azure app Service support

Analyze:

This is probably the most useful section of the application as through it you will be able to

  • Configure your diagnostics settings for your web app and download web diagnostics (note that you will have to configure your app to produce these) like:
    • Event viewer logs
    • Memory dumps
    • Http Logs
    • PHP Error Logs
    • PHP process Report
    • Node Process Report

Azure app Service support 2

  • Take a pick on the Event Viewer and identify, using rich filtering capabilities, possible issues that might be causing problems in your web app.

Azure app Service support 3

  • See various metrics and statistics like CPU and memory utilization, http and networking statistics for your web app as well as restart the w3wp process hosting your web application and see other sites that might be running on the same server in the case of using the shared hosting plan.

Azure app Service support 4

  • See application emitted FREB logs

Mitigate:

Using this section you can specify rules for mitigating possible problems in your web app.
So you can mitigate for:

  • Max Requests: Consider a scenario where you have a need to recycle your application automatically after it has served X number of requests in Y amount of time. You know that it just doesn’t scale well after huge influx of requests in short amount of time. You want to detect this condition and recycle worker process automatically or log an event or Run a custom action.
  • Status Code: Consider a scenario where you would like to get notified of a situation when your web Web App starts throwing specific HTTP status codes, sub-status code or win32 status codes. You can chose to recycle or simply log an event or Run a custom action.
  • Slow Requests: Consider a scenario where the performance of your application starts degrading and several pages start taking longer time to render. You would like to detect this situation and recycle worker process automatically or log an event or Run a custom action.
  • Memory Private Set: Consider a scenario where you have a need to recycle your application when your worker process hits specified memory limit (private bytes in Kb). You can chose to recycle or simply log an event or Run a custom action.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

The Microsoft Azure Storage Data Movement Library in an open source library designed for high-performance uploading, downloading and copying Azure Storage Blob and File. This library is based on the core data movement framework that powers AzCopy.

The library can help you take full advantage of cloud storage with a number of advance features like:

  • Blobs

    • Download/Upload/Copy Blobs.

    • Synchronous and asynchronous copy Blobs
    • Concurrently transfer Blobs and Blob chunks, define number of concurrent operations
    • Download Specific Blob Snapshot
  • Files

    • Download/Upload/Copy Files.

    • Synchronous and asynchronous copy Files
    • Concurrently transfer Files and File ranges, define number of concurrent operations
  • General

    • Track data transfer progress

    • Recover the data transfer
    • Set Access Condition
    • Set User Agent Suffix
    • Directory/recursive transfer

With these new features, you can perform data movement at the Blob container and Blob virtual directory level, or the File share and File directory level.

The library is powered by a very ative community at Github, providing code samples, help and of course any community contributions to these code samples are highly appreciated.

You can install the Azure Storage Data Movement Library from Nuget or download the source code from Github. For more details, please read the Getting Started documentation.

Managing and tuning the performance of relational databases is a challenging task that requires significant expertise and time investment but now we have another tool in our arsenal to help us optimize our relational workloads.

Query Performance Insight allows you to spend less time troubleshooting database performance by providing the following:

  • Deeper insight into your databases resource (DTU) consumption.
  • The top DTU consuming queries, which can potentially be tuned for improved performance.
  • The ability to drill down into the details of a query.

For more information, visit the Query Performance Insight page on MSDN

Following up on my Azure SQL Database performance tools and practices I’m very happy to bring your attention to a tool that was published a few days back and allows you to spend less time tuning your database performance.

The Azure SQL Database Index Advisor recommends new indexes for your existing SQL Databases that can improve current query performance.

The SQL Database service assesses index performance by analyzing historical resource usage for a SQL Database and the indexes that are best suited for running the database’s typical workload are recommended.

recommended-indexes

Index advisor makes index management easier by providing recommendations on which indexes to create. For V12 servers, Index advisor can also create and validate indexes with just a few clicks in the Azure Portal. After the index is created, the SQL Database service analyzes performance of the database workload and provides details of the impact of the new index. If the analysis determines that a recommended index has a negative impact on performance, then the index is reverted automatically.

You can find more information about Azure SQL Database Advisor here

The fourth free ebook in Microsoft Press’s free Microsoft Azure Essentials series, Microsoft Azure Essentials: Azure Web Apps for Developers (9781509300594), by Rick Rainey, has been released and is available for all of you that want to dive in essential information about developing web applications hosted on Azure Web Apps. It is written with the developer who has experience using Visual Studio and the .NET Framework in mind. If Azure Web Apps is new to you, then this book is for you. If you have experience developing for Azure Web Apps, then this book is for you, too, because there are features and tools discussed in this text that are new to the platform.

Organization of this book
This book provides information you can use to start building web applications using Azure Web Apps. It will guide you through development, deployment, and configuration tasks that are common for today’s developer building cloud applications.

Each chapter stands alone; there is no requirement that you perform the hands-on demonstrations from previous chapters to understand any chapter. The topics explored in this book include the following:

  • Chapter 1, “Microsoft Azure Web Apps”: This chapter starts with an introduction to Azure Resource Groups and App Service Plans and progresses into essential tasks such as creating and configuring a web app. Learn best practices for storing and retrieving app settings and connection strings. Configure deployment slots and set up continuous deployment using Visual Studio Online. Wrap up with a discussion about Role Based Access Control (RBAC) and how you can use it to manage access to your Azure resources.
  • Chapter 2, “Azure WebJobs”: Learn everything you need to know to build and deploy background processing tasks using Azure WebJobs. You will learn the basics of the WebJobs feature and proceed into a deeper discussion on how to use the WebJobs SDK. You will learn about the Azure WebJobs Dashboard and how the WebJobs SDK enhances the dashboard experience.
  • Chapter 3, “Scaling Azure Web Apps”: Learn how to scale up and scale out your Azure web app and web jobs. You will learn how to configure Autoscale to scale your web app dynamically based on performance metrics and schedules. See how you can use Azure Traffic Manager to achieve global scale for your web apps.
  • Chapter 4, “Monitoring and diagnostics”: Learn about the many logging features built into the Azure Web Apps platform and how to configure logging to get the diagnostics data you need to troubleshoot issues. You will learn how to configure storage locations and retention policies for logs, how to view logs in real time using the log streaming service, and even how to debug your web app remotely while it is running in Azure. You will get an introduction to some powerful site extensions you can use to view logs and perform analysis directly from your browser. Finally, you will learn how you can monitor your resource group down to individual resources and how you can use Application Insights to deliver a complete 360-degree view into your application code for monitoring and diagnostic purposes.

Download it from here

 

The patterns & practices team has been working on developing Azure architecture guidance.

The first round of  guidance is now available to public at https://github.com/mspnp/azure-guidance. The purpose of this project is to provide architectural guidance to enable you to build and deploy world-class systems using Azure. These documents focus on the essential aspects of architecting systems to make optimal use of Azure, and summarize best practice for building cloud solutions. The current set of guidance documents contains the following items.

· API Design describes the issues that you should consider when designing a web API.

· API Implementation focuses on best practices for implementing a web API and publishing it to make it available to client applications.

· Autoscaling Guidance summarizes considerations for taking advantage of the elasticity of cloud-hosted environments

· Background Jobs Guidance describes the options available, and best practices for implementing tasks that should be performed in the background.

· Content Delivery Network (CDN) Guidance provides general guidance and good practice for using the CDN to minimize the load on your applications, and maximize availability and performance.

· Caching Guidance summarizes how to use caching with Azure applications and services to improve the performance and scalability of a system.

· Data Partitioning Guidance describes strategies that you can use to partition data to improve scalability, reduce contention, and optimize performance.

· Monitoring and Diagnostics Guidance provides guidance on how to track the way in which users utilize your system, trace resource utilization, and generally monitor the health and performance of your system.

· Retry General Guidance covers general guidance for transient fault handling in an Azure application.

· Retry Service Specific Guidance summarizes the retry mechanism features for the majority of Azure services, and includes information to help you use, adapt, or extend the retry mechanism for that service.

· Scalability Checklist summarizes best practices for designing and implementing scalable services and handling data management.

· Availability Checklist lists best practices for ensuring availability in an Azure application.

The authors state that this is a living project and they welcome feedback, suggestions, and other contributions to those items. So if you have any comments you can  join the gitter chat for questions or suggestions.

Lumia-1320Only a few days left till Athens Global Azure Bootcamp and the scheduled has been finalized and announced at http://athens.azurebootcamp.net. A group of great speakers will talk about a range of very interesting topics to get you up to speed on Microsoft Azure cloud computing.

Also I’m very glad to announce that we will be giving out lot of great swag at the end including a couple of Windows Phone devices thanks to our local sponsors who stepped up and decided to support our event.

MicrosoftSieben

So if you haven’t registered yet, I strongly suggest you go ahead and hurry cause there are only a few sits left.

In April of 2013 the first Global Windows Azure Bootcamp was held at more than 90 locations around the globe! In March 2014 Athens joined the event and we scratched the surface of Cloud Computing ate some pizzas, had a ton of fun at the labs and gave out some pretty nifty swag.

GWAB

See what happened last year at Athens GWAB

This year we are doing it again. A one day deep dive class where participants can get up to speed on developing Cloud Computing Applications for Azure.

In addition to this great learning opportunity we will have another set of hands on labs, a lot more speakers and discussion topics and a lot more surprises (if you catch my drift :-) )…

Last but not least this year everyone can participate in a massive compute pool to perform breast cancer research!

If you haven’t registered yet, visit http://athens.azurebootcamp.net and register now to make sure we reserve a sit for you!

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about IoT as I believe that this is the next big leap towards Ubiquitous computing and I find it very challenging and intriguing. In my readings I found a lot of useful resources, one of the greatest one though is ConnectTheDots.

CTD-logo-v5-02

ConnectTheDots.io is an open source project by Microsoft Open Technologies created to help you get tiny devices connected to Microsoft Azure and implement great IoT solutions taking advantage of Microsoft Azure services such as Azure Stream Analytics, Machine Learning or HD Insight.

As part of the project you will find code samples, configuration scripts and guides that will help you set up tiny devices and configure Microsoft Azure services to make the most out of the data produced by your devices.

Starting with a basic scenario, the intent is to make the project grow with more devices types, more scripts to provision and configure Azure services and more “Getting Started” guides to help you implement full end to end solutions yourself.

As a first sample, we have created a simple end to end solution, from device all the way to a Website, that consists in displaying in real time on a web page raw temperature and humidity data generated from an Arduino board equipped with a weather Shield as well as alerts and processed data generated by Microsoft Azure Stream analytics based on the raw data from the device. We are using a Raspberry Pi, acting as a gateway, to send the data from the sensor up to Microsoft Azure Event Hub service. Azure Stream Analytics

Check out the Wiki to try out your first project!

It’s been quite a while since the release of www.zougla.gr windows 8 metro application but haven’t gotten around building it for Windows Phone as well. With Universal apps and having designed the app to be modular it has gotten really easy to move it to the windows 8 platform too, so I decided it was time to give some time into it.

So today I’m happy to announce the brand new ZouglaGR free windows Phone 8.1 application is available at the Windows phone app store. If you’re interested in getting all the latest news in Greece as they happen then this app is the one for you.

Hope you like it.