Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Jnan Dash, Andreas Grabner, Lori MacVittie, Jim Kaskade

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, @CloudExpo

Microsoft Cloud: Blog Feed Post

Windows Azure Custom Monitor in C#

There are three types of scalable compute instances which you can run in the cloud

In this article we’ll describe the Windows Azure monitor written in C#. Windows Azure has a set of different services, but we’ll limit our article to only those services that we use for capturing performance counters. If you’re new to Windows Azure and want more information you can visit the Microsoft Azure website.

Windows Azure Compute

There are three types of scalable compute instances which you can run in the cloud.

· Web Role – provide a dedicated Internet Information Services (IIS) web-server used for hosting front-end web applications.

· Worker Role – can run asynchronous, long-running or perpetual tasks independent of user interaction or input.

· VM Role – Virtual Machine (VM) roles, now in Beta, enable you to deploy a custom Windows Server 2008 R2 (Enterprise or Standard) image to Windows Azure.

image

The current version of our Azure Monitor supports capturing performance counters for the Web Role or the Worker Role. For a complete overview of available metrics, click here. In addition to the standard performance counters, Windows Azure allows for custom performance counters.

In our custom monitor, the performance counters are configured by calling the SetupCounters method in project HostWorkerRole. The sample code is of the Worker Role which is deployed to the Azure Compute Service.

Windows Azure Storage.

Windows Azure Storage provides secure and scalable storage services that are highly available and durable. The Storage service supports virtually all types of storage needs, from structured to unstructured data, NoSQL databases, and queues. You can find more information about this service here. Some of the most practical uses of Azure Storage are:

  • BLOB (Binary Large Object) storage. BLOB Storage is the simplest way to store large amounts of unstructured text or binary data such as video, audio and images.
  • Table storage is used by applications requiring storing large amounts of data storage that need additional structure. While a table stores structured data, it does not provide any way to represent relationships between the data, sometimes called a NoSQL database. You can use SQL Azure for relational database service on Windows Azure.
  • Queue used for reliable, persistent messaging between applications. You can use Queues to transfer messages between applications or services in Windows Azure.
  • Windows Azure Drive allows applications to mount a Blob formatted as a single volume NTFS VHD. You can move your VHDs between private and public clouds using Windows Azure Drive.

All of these storage types related to a Storage Account, which is created in the Windows Azure dashboard.

Windows Azure Storage Analytics performs logging and provides metrics data for a storage account. You can use this data to trace requests, analyze usage trends, and diagnose issues with your storage account. A detailed overview is available on MSDN.

Storage Analytics Metrics can report transaction statistics and capacity data for a storage account. All metrics data is stored in two tables per service: one table for transaction information, and another table for capacity information. Transaction information consists of request and response data. Capacity information consists of storage usage data. As of version 1.0 of Storage Analytics, capacity data will only be reported for the Blob service. The current implementation of our monitor application supports analytics for the Table service. In the future it can be expanded to support Blobs and Queues.

Azure Pricing Information

Windows Azure Diagnostic collects diagnostic data from instances and copies it to a Window Azure Storage account (either on blob and table storage). Those diagnostic data (such as log) can indeed help developer for the purpose of monitoring performance and tracing source of failure if exception occurs.

We’ll need to define what kind of log (IIS Logs, Crash Dumps, FREB Logs, Arbitrary log files, Performance Counters, Event Logs, etc.) to be collected and send to Windows Azure Storage either on-schedule-basis or on-demand.

However, if you are not careful defining your needs for diagnostic information, you could end up paying an unexpected high bill. At the time of this writing, the cost is as follows:

  • $0.14 per GB stored per month based on the daily average
  • $0.01 per 10,000 storage transactions

Some Figures for Illustration

Assuming the following figures:

  • You have a few applications that require high processing power of 100 instances
  • You apply five performance counter logs (Processor% Processor Time, MemoryAvailable Bytes, PhysicalDisk% Disk Time, Network Interface Connection: Bytes Total/sec, Processor Interrupts/sec)
  • Perform a scheduled transfer with an interval of 5 seconds
  • The instance will run 24 hours per day, 30 days per month

Given the above scenario, the total number of transactions comes to 259,200,000 each month (5 counters X 12 times X 60 min X 24 hours X 30 days X 100 instances), or $259/month.

Now what if you don’t really need that many counters every 5 seconds and reduce them to 3 counters and monitor it every 20 seconds? In this case it would be 3 counters X 3 times X 60 min X 24 hours X 30 days X 100 instances = 3,8880,000 transactions, or $38/month. Windows Azure Diagnostic is needed but using it improperly may be more expensive than you bargained for.

Storage Analytics is enabled by a storage account owner; it is not enabled by default. All metrics data is written by the services of a storage account. As a result, each write operation performed by Storage Analytics is billable. Additionally, the amount of storage used by metrics data is also billable.

The following actions performed by Storage Analytics are billable:

  • Requests to create blobs for logging
  • Requests to create table entities for metrics

If you have configured a data retention policy, you are not charged for delete transactions when Storage Analytics deletes old logging and metrics data. However, delete transactions from a client are billable.

Mediator Project

The Mediator application makes it possible to retrieve performance counter values and Storage Account Table metrics Windows Azure. The following performance counters are included:

  • \Processor(_Total)\% Processor Time
  • \Memory\Available Bytes

Table metrics:

  • TotalRequests – the number of requests made to a storage service or the specified API operation. This number includes successful and failed requests, as well as requests which produced errors.
  • TotalBillableRequests – the number of billable requests.
  • Availability – the percentage of availability for the storage service or the specified API operation. Availability is calculated by taking the TotalBillableRequests value and dividing it by the number of applicable requests,including those that produced unexpected errors. All unexpected errors result in reduced availability for the storage service or the specified API operation.

Each metric or performance counter gets its own monitor on the Dashboard at www.monitis.com.

Windows Azure Storage Metrics allows you to track your aggregated storage usage for Blobs, Tables and Queues. The details include capacity, per service request summary, and per API level aggregates. The metrics information is useful to see an aggregate view of how a given storage account’s blobs, tables or queues are doing over time.  It makes it very easy to see the types of errors that are occurring to help tune your system and diagnose problems and the ability to see daily trends of its usage.  For example, the metrics data can be used to understand the request breakdown (by hour).

Mediator Workflow

The application performs the role of Mediator between the Windows Azure Table Service and public API of monitis.com. To get started, the first step is to specify the API key to access REST service on www.monitis.com.

image

After logging in the Mediator will check if all required monitors are already created on the Monitis Dashboard. If they are not, you can use the create button to create all the required monitors.

image

Once the monitors have been created, the “Next” button will enabled and you will see all the monitors created be Mediator on the dashboard.

image

Next, Mediator needs your account information for Windows Azure Storage Account so we can access the performance and metrics data for monitor. If you don’t have it the account information, you can check “Use Default” and all values will fill with test credentials.

image

Click on “Apply” to check the credentials and test the connection to the Windows Azure Table Service. The applications will also check the existence of the table PerformanceCounter data. This table will automatically be created when the installation configures capturing of performance counters. For example, the table name for performance counters is “WADPerformanceCountersTable”.

After this is done, you will see a screen where you can configure the interval period in seconds used synchronize the data to the Monitis monitor. If there is actual data in the performance counters table, you should see a chart like this:

image

The optimal value for the current performance counters configuration is 180 seconds.

For the Storage Account Analytics you will see a section that allows you to specify the time period you want to synchronize between Azure and Monitis.

image

Select the time period and click “Sync”. After this is completed you’ll see the result of Storage Analytics and performance counters:

image

Performance counters and analytics metrics can work together. This means that you can start the Mediation process for performance counters and at the same time use the “Sync” button for the Storage Account Analytics.

Here are some links with more information:

More Stories By Hovhannes Avoyan

Hovhannes Avoyan is the CEO of PicsArt, Inc.,

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...