Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor, Trevor Parsons, Sandi Mappic, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: .NET, PowerBuilder, AJAX & REA, Silverlight, Web 2.0, Open Web

.NET: Blog Feed Post

Is Your .NET Application Ready for a Race?

Let's start by taking a look at the tools & techniques that are available to collect performance data for your .NET application

If your .NET application was to run a sprint, would it win the race?  To determine whether your application meets its performance objectives (and wins the race) and to help identify bottlenecks, you need to measure your application's performance and collect metrics. Metrics of particular interest tend to be response time, throughput, and resource utilization (how much CPU, memory, disk I/O, and network bandwidth your application consumes while performing its tasks).

Let's start by taking a look at the tools and techniques that are available to collect performance data for your .NET application.

Tools and Techniques
You might need to collect data during prototyping, application development, performance testing, and tuning, and in a production environment. The following tools and techniques can help you to collect performance data:

  • System and platform metrics
  • Network monitoring tools
  • Profiling tools
  • Tools for analyzing log files
  • Application instrumentation

We won't go into these tools in detail as they go beyond the scope of this article and most of them are standard tools that come with development tools such as Visual Studio.

Application Instrumentation
In addition to the available profiling and monitoring tools, you can instrument your code for capturing application-specific information. This form of information is much more fine-grained than that provided by standard system performance counters. It is also a great way to capture metrics around specific application scenarios.

For example, instrumentation enables you to measure how long it takes to add an item to a shopping cart, or how long it takes to validate a credit card number. There are a number of ways that you can instrument your code. These are summarized in the next section, and each approach is expanded upon in subsequent sections.

Instrumentation
Instrumentation is the process of adding code to your application to generate events to allow you to monitor application health and performance. The events are generally logged to an appropriate event source and can be monitored by suitable monitoring tools such as MOM. An event is a notification of some action.

Instrumentation allows you to perform various tasks:

  • Profile applications. Profiling enables you to identify how long a particular method or operation takes to run and how efficient it is in terms of CPU and memory resource usage.
  • Collect custom data. This might include custom performance counters that you use to monitor application-specific activity, such as how long it takes to place an order.
  • Trace code. This allows you to understand the application code path and all the methods run for a particular use case.

You can use various tools and technologies to help you instrument your application. The right choice depends on your development platform, logging frequency, the volume of data being logged, and how you plan to monitor. You have several options:

  • Event Tracing for Windows (ETW)
  • Window Management Instrumentation (WMI)
  • Custom performance counters
  • Enterprise Instrumentation Framework (EIF)
  • Trace and Debug classes

The various options available for logging are suitable for different scenarios. The following questions help you make an informed choice:

  • What do you want to accomplish with instrumentation?

There are various goals for instrumentation. For example, if you need only debugging and tracing features, you might use these features mostly in a test environment where performance is not an issue. But if you plan to log the business actions performed by each user, this is very important from a performance point of view and needs to be considered at design time.

If you need to trace and log activity, you need to opt for a tool that lets you specify various levels of instrumentation through a configuration file.

  • How frequently do you need to log events?

Frequency of logging is one of the most important factors that help you decide the right choice of the instrumentation tool for you. For example, the event log is suitable only for very low-frequency events, whereas a custom log file or ETW is more suitable for high-frequency logging. The custom performance counters are best for long-term trending such as week-long stress tests.

  • Is your instrumentation configurable?

In a real-life scenario for an application, you might want to instrument it so the data collected is helpful in various application stages, such as development (debugging/tracing), system testing, tuning, and capacity planning.

All the code stubs for generating the data need to be inserted in the application during the development stage of the life cycle. The code stubs for generating such a huge amount of data may themselves add to performance overhead. However, in most scenarios, it is a small subset of data that you are interested in during a particular stage of the life cycle. You need configurable instrumentation so the relevant set can be turned on at will to minimize performance overhead.

Based on the preceding considerations, the usage scenarios for the various options are as follows.

Event Tracing for Windows (ETW)
ETW is suitable for logging high-frequency events such as errors, warnings or audits. The frequency of logging can be in hundreds of thousands of events each second in a running application. This is ideal for server applications that log the business actions performed by the users. The amount of logging done may be high, depending on the number of concurrent users connected to the server.

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
Windows Management Instrumentation is the core management technology built into the Windows operating system. WMI supports a very wide range of management tools that lets you analyze the data collected for your application.

Logging to a WMI sink is more expensive than other sinks, so you should generally do so only for critical and high-visibility events such as a system driver failure.

Custom Performance Counters
You can use custom counters to time key scenarios within your application. For example, you can use a custom counter to time how long order placement takes or how long it takes to retrieve customer records.

Enterprise Instrumentation Framework (EIF)
EIF permits .NET applications to be instrumented to publish a broad spectrum of information such as errors, warnings, audits, diagnostic events, and business-specific events. You can configure which events you generate and where the events go, to the Windows Event Log service or SQL Server, for example. EIF encapsulates the functionality of ETW, the Event Log service, and WMI. EIF is suitable for large enterprise applications where you need various logging levels in your application across the tiers. EIF also provides you a configuration file where you can turn on or turn off the switch for logging of a particular counter.

EIF also has an important feature of request tracing that enables you to trace business processes or application services by following an execution path for an application spanning multiple physical tiers.

Trace and Debug Classes
The Trace and Debug classes allow you to add functionality in your application mostly for debugging and tracing purposes.

The code added using the Debug class is relevant for debug builds of the application. You can print the debugging information and check logic for assertions for various regular expressions in your code. You can write the debug information by registering a particular listener, as shown in the following code sample.

public static void Main(string[] args){

Debug.Listeners.Add(new TextWriterTraceListener(Console.Out));

Debug.AutoFlush = true;

Debug.WriteLine("Entering Main");

Debug.WriteLine("Exiting Main");

}

The code stubs added using the Trace class are enabled for both the debug and release builds of the application. The Trace class can be used to isolate problems by enabling the trace through the execution code path.

In Visual Studio .NET, tracing is enabled by default. When using the command line build for C# source code, you need to add /d:Trace flag for the compiler or #define TRACE in the source code to enable tracing. For Visual Basic .NET source code you need to add /d:TRACE=True for the command line compiler. The following code sample uses the Trace class for adding the tracing feature in your code.

public static void Main(string[] args){

Trace.Listeners.Add(new TextWriterTraceListener(Console.Out));

Trace.AutoFlush = true;

Trace.WriteLine("Entering Main");

Trace.WriteLine("Exiting Main");

}

Stay tuned to our series on how to improve .NET apps performance to learn more.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Hovhannes Avoyan

Hovhannes Avoyan is the CEO of Monitis, Inc., a provider of on-demand systems management and monitoring software to 50,000 users spanning small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to Monitis, he served as General Manager and Director of Development at prominent web portal Lycos Europe, where he grew the Lycos Armenia group from 30 people to over 200, making it the company's largest development center. Prior to Lycos, Avoyan was VP of Technology at Brience, Inc. (based in San Francisco and acquired by Syniverse), which delivered mobile internet content solutions to companies like Cisco, Ingram Micro, Washington Mutual, Wyndham Hotels , T-Mobile , and CNN. Prior to that, he served as the founder and CEO of CEDIT ltd., which was acquired by Brience. A 24 year veteran of the software industry, he also runs Sourcio cjsc, an IT consulting company and startup incubator specializing in web 2.0 products and open-source technologies.

Hovhannes is a senior lecturer at the American Univeristy of Armenia and has been a visiting lecturer at San Francisco State University. He is a graduate of Bertelsmann University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...