Configuring Tracing for Distributed Transactions

Updated: April 11, 2008

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

The tracing feature in Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MS DTC) makes it possible to trace the high-level transitions that a distributed transaction undergoes during its lifetime. Customers can use MS DTC tracing to provide information to Microsoft Customer Service and Support for troubleshooting purposes.

An MS DTC tracing session starts automatically when an MS DTC process begins. After the MS DTC tracing session starts, it executes in the background and writes trace data to a disk for you to view later.

The trace data includes information such as the transaction identifier (ID), date, and time stamp for a transaction. To house the trace data, the DTC creates a trace log file in binary file format. Writing to a binary file reduces the impact on system performance and satisfies localization requirements. After the DTC creates the log file, you can run a tool to convert the file to a readable format. (For more information about this tool, see View Trace Data.) The log file also shows trace data on the transitions that occur during a transaction, such as the following:

  • The transaction was initiated.

  • A resource manager enlisted in the transaction.

  • The client requested a commit.

  • A resource voted to commit or abort the transaction.

  • A transaction was propagated.

You can use the DTC to trace either local or distributed transactions. For distributed transactions, the DTC writes the trace data on each computer that is involved in the transaction. Furthermore, because time stamps on multiple computers might not be synchronized, the DTC generates messages that help the user correlate the trace data on those computers.

In failover clusters it is possible to have multiple instances of the Distributed Transaction Coordinator service (MSDTC) running on the same computer. In this scenario, trace entries can be correlated to the corresponding MSDTC instances by resolving the clustered DTC resource ID as it appears in the trace log file out as a transaction manager (TM) ID to the user-friendly name for the clustered DTC name as it appears in the Component Services snap-in. For more information about resolving the clustered DTC resource ID to its user-friendly name, see Start and Stop a Clustered MS DTC Resource.

This section includes the following tasks for configuring tracing for distributed transactions:

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