Thursday, August 01, 2013

Monitoring an Azure VM and display the results in an Azure Website

Here is the proof that developing on Azure can be a piece of cake, and that you can have it up and running in 30min. This by using the Azure Virtual Labs as the development platform, some apps purchased in the store, and a virtual machine that really needed to be monitored ‘kuch’..
This very complex Knipogende emoticon solution was developed, using a machine that had nothing more than a working internet connection and it took me about 30 min. It consists of a;
- ASP.Net MVC website (no coding just from VS.Net)
Microsoft provides a lot of Virtual Labs, in which you can follow an exercise to learn about a subject. There are currently a lot of Virtual labs available on Azure. As I wanted to know if it was possible to deploy from a Virtual lab to be able to give training this way, I simply started a Virtual Lab and decided to try it out (Started through this lab)
- VM Machine (created by using the portal)
As I wanted to see some of the monitoring apps work, I created a simple virtual machine with no additional software installed. So any machine would work.
- Add-ons purchased in the store (NewRelic – Metricshub)
I only wanted to test out which monitoring providers are out there, and evaluate some of them. In this case I show only 2 of them, I decided to go ahead and use some of the advanced capabilities New Relic offers, but for the basic monitoring I also installed MetricsHub ActiveCloudMonitoring.
- Server monitoring agents installed
Because you can manage your add-ons through the Windows Azure Portal, it is very easy to use the portal to directly go the website of your add-on. From the website of the monitoring provider, you can manage your subscription by importing it from Windows Azure.
Each monitoring provider, provides an intuitive interface to import the subscription, and as both provide Agents (which need to be installed on your Server) for almost all operaing systems.
MetricsHub runs as a windows service, you need to install it, change a config file with your token information (provided in the portal) and register the service (2min). It takes a while for the data is collected.
NewRelic runs also as a windows service, it just works after installing - you specify a key available through the New relic portal - and it works!
First of, both monitoring services provide a dashboard on their website that allows you to see a lot of information about your servers. Additionally, monitoring a Server is just a fraction of what they offer, as they can monitor Cloud services, SQL and even mobile services.
My ‘server workload’ was generated by pinging with the ‘-t’ parameter to get some Network and Cpu traffic .
Metricshub provides a nice overview, and additionally a lot of counters you can add, what is also nice is that they provide a grid view where you can see the counters;
New Relic provides the similar counters…
Although, that’s what i thought, there is quite some advanced monitoring build into the agent;
Note: you can find it out yourself, but the tab processes for example has most of the information that’s available in the TaskManager – Processes!
What is really nice, is that you can embed the chart in your website!
Confirm that you would like to expose this type of data?
Integrate this in your application / mobile client and you’re done!

So, monitoring is easy using software as a service, platform as a service is really great, and combining all this is really awesome!
Note: Unfortenately the Microsoft Virtual Labs are not yet updated with all the features currently supported in Azure, however, already migrated to supported VS.Net 2012.

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