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Authoring Strategies for .NET Application Monitoring

Updated: November 1, 2013

Applies To: System Center 2012 - Operations Manager, System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager, System Center 2012 SP1 - Operations Manager

Here are some scenarios and settings to change during authoring that can help you receive the monitoring experience and data that are most helpful for you.

Monitoring a New Application for which the Administrator has Little Knowledge

Accepting all defaults can be a good way to start monitoring an application for which the administrator has very little or no knowledge. Then, after monitoring with all defaults for some time, the administrator can begin adjusting settings based on the monitoring alerts, Application Diagnostics data, and Application Advisor reports. For more information, see How to Start Monitoring a New Application and Application Monitoring Using the Default Settings

Limit Monitoring to a Specific Set of Servers

Defining a targeted group allows you to limit monitoring to a specific set of servers. In the .NET Application Performance Monitoring wizard, targeted group for server-side monitoring is on the What to Monitor page. Targeted group for client-side monitoring is on the Enable Client-Side Monitoring page. If you are using a targeted group for client-side monitoring and use a load balancer, see Client-Side Monitoring with Targeted Groups and Load Balancers

For very large application deployments, you typically do not need to monitor all instances of the application. A representative sample is enough to get the data you need. Using only a representative sample will keep the amount of data collected and stored lower.

Reduce the “Noise” by Defining How Much Data You Collect

Increasing the sensitivity threshold allows you to filter out fast-running methods, which reduces overall “noise”, or how deep the call stack is going to go, making it easier for you to determine where the problem is. It also reduces network bandwidth usage.

The sensitivity setting is used to determine if a function call should be included in the call stack. Any function that executes and returns faster than the sensitivity level is dropped, keeping small fast-running functions from hiding the actual problem. Remember that using sensitivity only reduces the number of functions shown in the call stack for specific events, but an event will still be generated if the overall threshold is surpassed.

You can adjust the sensitivity threshold for server-side and client-side monitoring independently.

To change the sensitivity threshold for server-side monitoring

  1. To open properties for the application group that you want to reconfigure, in the Operations Manager console, in the navigation pane, click the Authoring button, expand Management Pack Templates, click .NET Application Performance Monitoring, right-click the application group that you want to want to configure, and then select Properties.

    noteNote
    If you are currently authoring a new .NET Application Performance Monitoring template, to change the sensitivity threshold for server-side monitoring, go to the Server-Side Configuration page and click Advanced Settings Change the Sensitivity threshold and click OK.

  2. To change the sensitivity threshold for server-side monitoring, on the Properties page, click the Server-Side Monitoring tab, and then click the Advanced Settings button.

  3. Change the Sensitivity threshold and click OK.

To change the sensitivity threshold for client-side monitoring

  1. To open properties for the application group that you want to reconfigure, in the Operations Manager console, in the navigation pane, click the Authoring button, expand Management Pack Templates, click .NET Application Performance Monitoring, right-click the application group that you want to want to configure, and then select Properties.

    noteNote
    If you are currently authoring a new .NET Application Performance Monitoring template, to change the sensitivity threshold for client-side monitoring, go to the Client-Side Configuration page and click Advanced Settings. Change the Sensitivity threshold and click OK.

  2. To change the sensitivity threshold for client-side monitoring, on the Properties page, click the Client-Side Monitoring tab, and then click the Advanced Settings button.

  3. Change the Sensitivity threshold and click OK.

It is also possible for high sensitivity to hide problems. In the situation where you have a function that calls another function, if the callee’s response time increases even slightly, it might cause issues for the application. For example, if you have a data processing function that calls a lookup function 1,000 times and the lookup’s processing time increases by 1 ms, you will increase the response time for your top level function by a full second. This might be masked by the high sensitivity. When you find this kind of situation, you can add the callee as a method and set a custom sensitivity for it to ensure it is always measured according to the lower sensitivity threshold.

Application failure alerts are application, or code, failures that are detected within the application. You can choose not to receive application failure alerts, which will potentially occur very often if an application has problems because these kinds of alerts usually require code modifications to address. Turning this off reduces the “noise” of many alerts raised that cannot be directly resolved by the operations team.

You can turn off application failure alerts for server-side and client-side monitoring independently.

To turn off alerts for application failures for server-side monitoring

  1. To open properties for the application group that you want to reconfigure, in the Operations Manager console, in the navigation pane, click the Authoring button, expand Management Pack Templates, click .NET Application Performance Monitoring, right-click the application group that you want to want to configure, and then select Properties.

    noteNote
    If you are currently authoring a new .NET Application Performance Monitoring template, to turn off alerts for application failures for server-side monitoring, go to the Server-Side Configuration page and click Advanced Settings. Clear the Application failure alerts checkbox and click OK.

  2. To turn off application failure alerts for server-side monitoring, on the Properties page, click the Server-Side Defaults tab, and then click the Advanced Settings button.

  3. On the Advanced settings page and clear the Application failure alerts checkbox.

  4. Click OK.

To turn off alerts for application failures for client-side monitoring

  1. To open properties for the application group that you want to reconfigure, in the Operations Manager console, in the navigation pane, click the Authoring button, expand Management Pack Templates, click .NET Application Performance Monitoring, right-click the application group that you want to want to configure, and then select Properties.

    noteNote
    If you are currently authoring a new .NET Application Performance Monitoring template, to turn off alerts for application failures for client-side monitoring, go to the Client-Side Configuration page and click Customize. On the Modifying Settings page, in the Transactions section, click Add. On the Transaction Properties page, clear the Application failure checkbox and click OK.

  2. To turn off application failure alerts for client-side monitoring, on the Properties page, click the Client-Side Monitoring tab, and then click the Advanced Settings button.

  3. In the Transactions section, click Add.

  4. On the Transaction Properties page, clear the Application failure checkbox.

  5. Click OK.

Only Receive Critical Exceptions

By default, .NET Application Performance Monitoring defines critical exceptions as exceptions handled by specific exception handlers provided by the .NET framework. These handlers catch top-level ASP.NET exceptions and web service exceptions that the monitored application failed to catch and handle internally. By adding exception handlers, you are adding to what application monitoring’s definition of what a critical exception is. In effect, any exceptions handled by these functions will be considered critical exceptions. The advantage to using exception handlers is that you maintain the benefit of streamlined reporting of critical exceptions only, but you have the additional benefit of reporting functions that are of interest to you. For more information and a list of default exception handlers, see Using Exception Handlers to Define Critical Exceptions.

Improve Client-Side Monitoring Performance and Reduce Load on Your Server

You might also want to adjust the sampling rate to control the performance impact of the monitoring on your application with client-side monitoring. Reducing the sampling rate reduces the application monitoring traffic and helps conserve server resources. If you have even a low-traffic site, instrumenting and collecting data from every user who connects will result in a large amount of non-actionable data to sift through. Taking a random sample will give you the insight you need into the application performance from the client perspective without flooding you with a large amount of data to process and store.

To change the sampling rate for client-side monitoring

  1. To open client-side properties for the application group that you want to reconfigure, in the Operations Manager console, in the navigation pane, click the Authoring button, expand Management Pack Templates, click .NET Application Performance Monitoring, right-click the application group that you want to want to reconfigure, and then select Properties.

    On the Properties page, click the Client-Side Defaults tab, and then click the Advanced Settings button.

    noteNote
    Because you can change the sampling rate for both the application group and each application component, changes to the application group settings will not automatically be applied to the component settings when the component settings have been previously customized.

  2. In the Sampling section, use the drop-down menu to select the percentage of incoming requests that you want to monitor. For example, if you select 50%, you will monitor 50 percent of the incoming requests. Select 25% and you will monitor 25 percent of the incoming requests, and so on. To get helpful information, you do not have to monitor all of the incoming requests.

  3. When you have set the sampling rate, click OK.

See Also

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for System Center 2012.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012. For instructions and examples, see Search the System Center 2012 Documentation Library.
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