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Simplifying .NET performance management

DynaTrace has unveiled the next major version of its flagship application performance measurement (APM) tool, which includes FastPacks that simplify the process of monitoring Microsoft applications.

DynaTrace has unveiled the next major version of its flagship application performance measurement (APM) tool, which includes FastPacks that simplify the process of monitoring Microsoft applications. "The FastPacks help simplify.NET applications instrumentation in a way that an organization can digest all of the information coming in order to be most productive," said Eric Seunas, Senior Director of Marketing at dynaTrace.

With the growing complexity of Internet applications across multiple servers, IT architects are faced with the growing burden of finding out which pieces of code and transactions are causing the biggest bottlenecks. Many organizations have found that continuous APM tools can provide this kind of insight on an ongoing basis. The main challenge with these tools has been the time required to set them up so they can look for the most likely culprits in performance degradation.

The FastPacks make it easier to rapidly deploy dynaTrace to immediately capture and view richly detailed performance information from existing Microsoft SharePoint Server, Dynamics CRM, BizTalk Server and .NET Framework-based applications. These tools include application instrumentation templates, monitoring plug-ins, pre-built dashboards, and deployment best practice guides. The dashboards make it easy to present the most relevant information to different roles in an IT organization such as architects, testers, development teams and business users.

"None of these tools measure everything," said David Anderson, Principle Architect and Founder of Peopleclick Authoria. "The challenge involves teaching them what matters and what you want to measure. These are pre-built sets of configurations designed to capture what matters. It simplifies setting up the most important methods and areas of code to measure."

Preserving business value with APM

Peopleclick Authoria is a SaaS application for human resources, which runs in five data centers and services millions of users across the globe. It uses dynaTrace in preproduction for performance testing to analyze how applications perform under load. The tool is also used in production to monitor Peopleclick's most critical systems across both .NET and Java servers.

Anderson said, "It sounds great to say that you do performance testing to find every problem, but the reality is you have to augment that with a comprehensive production monitoring strategy if you really want to be proactive. Most production applications with any kind of load are going to exhibit different nuances than what you could ever find in pre-production simulations."

Peopleclick began looking for a production transaction trace tool about two years ago. They chose dynaTrace because it was solid and efficient enough to run under a production load. Anderson explained, "We run a large scale, high volume operation, and a lot of the tools had too much overhead to run in production all of the time. With the other tools you have to have them turned off and then later dial them up if you want more details. We also like the depth of the feature set. There are things they could do around the level of detail with SQL statement bind parameters and method call parameters that others could not."

It was also important that dynaTrace runs across both .NET and Java platforms. Anderson explained, "It monitors both .NET and Java application at a first class level. Some of the other vendors did not support both platforms or had certain features for one platform and not the other."

The new version of dynaTrace also includes a new plug-in for Visual Studio Ultimate 2010 that helps to reduce multiple test runs by highlighting the code responsible for performance issues. This makes it easier for the development team to understand the methods responsible for poorly performing transactions.

A free dynaTrace Ajax edition is also available that gives insight into performance bottlenecks on the browser. This can tie into the commercial version of dynaTrace running on the back end, to give an organization a comprehensive view of every aspect of a complex Web transaction.

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