New Features Update – April 2013

Craig Ferril Developer Tips, Tricks & Resources, Insights for Dev Managers, Stackify Product & Company Updates Leave a Comment

The Stackify team has been hard at work lately, striving as always to solve your toughest pain points in production so you can detect issues earlier and fix them faster. This month, we are excited to bring you some great new features that will help you monitor your Azure environment, keep tabs on the performance of your stack, and more quickly and easily apply monitoring configurations to all of your servers via our powerful templates. We’ve updated our approach to billing in a way that may save you some money. We even updated our look & feel and streamlined our UI. Read on to learn more…

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New Azure Features

Service Bus: By popular request, you can now monitor your Service Bus Queues, Topics, and Subscriptions. Keep tabs on:

  • the number of active queued messages
  • deadletter messages

  • scheduled messages
  • queue size (in KB)

  • last time the queue was accessed

Setup monitors for any or all, configure alert thresholds, and even setup notifications so you’ll know quickly if things aren’t right in this critical part of your Azure architecture.

Transient Web and Worker Roles:
Azure roles come and go, either a result of scaling up and down, or from swapping your staging and production servers on a deployment. Stackify now automatically detects which servers are active in production, and can determine when servers have been scaled down. We automatically deactivate monitoring on the servers that have fallen out of active use and hide them from view, yet keep their data around for later analysis if needed. We’ve even changed our approach to billing to work harmoniously with this new capability (see below).

Performance Counters

Remember that last performance bottleneck you were trying to hunt down? Wish you had been recording some Windows Performance Counters all along so you could quickly hunt it down? Have we got a feature for you! We query your servers to see what Performance Counters are available, and you can monitor any of them at any time. Not only monitor – we let you record the data, look for trends, create thresholds for alerts, and create notifications so that you are the first to know when a Performance Counter trends in the wrong direction.

Bring it all into context across your whole app stack with Performance Counters from your IIS web applications, WCF services, .NET app, SQL Server database, even Windows Azure Caching! You’ll know more about your production apps than ever before.

TIP: We suggest you proactively set some up now, before you need them to tell you what just happened.

Overhaul of Monitors and Monitor Templates

Love our monitoring, but hate setting it up, especially across dozens of machines? Honestly, we weren’t a big fan of it either, so we fixed it in a big way. We completely overhauled the way you configure monitors, making it super fast and easy to decide which monitors should be enabled and disabled, setup alert thresholds, and configure notifications. The same powerful approach is used in our templates. If you have more than one server to monitor, you should probably check this one out, pronto!

Metered Billing – Just $.02 Per Hour

Use what you need. Pay only for what you use. We have moved to an hourly metered billing approach, which simply means we will measure your monitoring activity every hour, and at the end of your billing period we will bill you only for what you actually used during the month. It still works out to about $15 per month (just a shade under, actually) per server if you monitor 24×7 throughout the whole month.

We have made this change largely because of the dynamic nature of IaaS and PaaS infrastructures that so many of our users are working with. With metered billing, you no longer have to purchase extra licenses to ensure you have enough for when you scale up, which left customers paying for too many licenses when they scaled back down. This also means you can scale up as much as you want and we’ll monitor it all, easily and dynamically.

Brand New Look & Feel

Last but not least, we continue to mercilessly work on making Stackify easier to use, faster, and if we’re honest, prettier, too. When you login to Stackify to troubleshoot a problem, your proverbial house might be on fire. We want to make sure you can get to exactly what you need, as quickly as possible, so you can fix it fast. You’ll notice on your next login an evolutionary step that we think makes your time in Stackify more intuitive.

Of course, we have much more planned in coming releases. In the meantime, Login or Sign Up to check out how Stackify continues to add ways to help you detect problems earlier and fix them faster.