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Microsoft Azure Cloud Services


Microsoft's Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings have become a boon for .NET developers. The ability to spin up Virtual Machines in the cloud and then deploy our applications in minutes has completely changed the landscape for the traditional "boxed software" developer. Thanks to advances like this, we can now provision a stable and scalable multi-environment stack with very little effort.

This more rapid way of thinking lends itself to a new, faster way to get software out to our users. Now that speed of delivery has increased, we need reliable tools that help us analyze and monitor the health of the software that gets deployed to this platform. With a simple install of a NuGet package (Install-Package NewRelicWindowsAzure), you get an extraordinary amount of information on your Web Role in minutes.

Transactions

Transactions are paramount in almost any software application. The question of "how fast is it?"--"is the software doing what it is supposed to be doing?"--are important things to constantly be asking throughout the lifetime of the application. When dealing with Azure Cloud Services, we have more flexibility than ever to change both our environment and our application to meet demand. New Relic shows us which parts of our applications are being used and how to tune our PaaS usage to respond to the dynamic needs of our applications.

New Relic also provides top-down transaction traces to show insights into details, like when a consumer hits the Web Role and when a response is returned to that consumer. Full-stack traces are made available for slow method calls. The durations of these traces are broken up by individual methods so that you can quickly assess where trouble spots live in your application.

SQL Queries

Microsoft Azure SQL databases offer elastic scaling and super-fast provisioning. The data stores that are part of your cloud-based platform are critical to your application's survival and are often one of its larger operating costs. Being able to track when and where your application is performing needless queries or storing extra data can save you from racking up extra expenses.

New Relic gives you x-ray vision into your Microsoft Azure SQL database and help you quickly spot problems. The .NET Agent will report on things like: how many connections a transaction creates, database queries that occurred in a given transaction, and even provide explain plans on the really slow transactions to help you optimize your database.

Exceptions

Since applications are in the cloud, we often need to write complex logging mechanisms that eat up disk and blob storage so that we can monitor our app’s problems. Sometimes, even after completing a robust logging system, we’ll discover that actually accessing our data services proves to be a roadblock.

The New Relic .NET agent provides your application with a convenient way to report errors. Meanwhile, we monitor stack traces for errors and alert you anytime your application falls into an "unhealthy" state so you can quickly respond to problems. New Relic’s agent will report on 502's, 503's, etc., so that you can immediately take action if your cloud service falls over.

SLA and Scalability

Sometimes dealing with cloud reliability can be troublesome. Even though Microsoft Azure Cloud services are highly reliable, problems can still occur. Occasionally, demand on your Web Role is so high that your application begins to reject incoming requests, at other times an under-provisioned cloud service may be lacking in memory or cores.

New Relic's powerful reporting and SLA tools allow you to better predict when you need to spin up another set of Web Roles on Microsoft Azure Cloud services to meet the demand of your users.


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