.NET Monitoring Tools

Best 5 Tools for .NET Monitoring

Iryne Somera Developer Tips, Tricks & Resources

.NET monitoring is a critical aspect of .NET application development. It helps developers track the health and well-being of their applications to provide real-time performance reviews. Knowing the real status of your application ensures that users have round-the-clock access to your business site. 

.NET monitoring makes sure that your business is not impacted by application issues. For example, problems experienced during site navigation can discourage customers from making a purchase from your site. 

Therefore, it is important for applications to achieve optimal performance with a monitoring tool.


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Types of .NET Monitoring Tools

.NET monitoring helps developers in optimizing application performance. These tools provide quick assistance during critical events, such as low-level CPU and memory leaks.

Currently, there are three different types of .NET monitoring tools. Let’s examine each.

Standard

Bad CPU and memory usage issues can be solved with standard .NET monitoring tools. Developers turn to standard .NET monitoring tools when CPU usage is out of control. It provides proactive CPU performance tuning and monitors high memory usage, optimizes memory usage, and finds memory leaks. 

These are valuable features, but are resource-intensive and will slow down your application.

Lightweight

Developers use lightweight .NET monitoring tools every day. As the name suggests, it provides less performance impact on codes. Its lightweight architecture is handy despite its robust tracing mechanisms. These tracing features include code profiling to understand performance at a high level.

One of the best-known lightweight monitoring tools for .NET developers is Stackify Prefix. You can install it on your developer’s workstation separate from your application. It works based on the .NET CLR profiler and requires no code or configuration changes to work. It automatically tracks the performance of their common .NET frameworks and libraries. 

Learn how a .NET developer finds latent bugs with Prefix.

APM

Recurring application issues in QA and development environments are common in software development. It is necessary to use monitoring tools that gather information on repeated problems. 

In dealing with more complex software development issues, monitoring tools might not be enough. That’s where Application Performance Management (APM) comes in. Most APMs offer database queries, logging, exceptions, web service calls, and so on. More so, it helps developers understand the root cause of issues and how to fix bugs to improve application performance.

When looking for .NET monitoring tools and APMs, the primary difference is the pricing. APMs are traditionally expensive and only large enterprises are able to afford them. But what if you have a monitoring tool and an APM at the same time? 

Stackify Retrace believes APM is most effective when everyone has access to tools.  Retrace provides APM, server health metrics, and integrated errors and logs in one, easy to use platform.  Try your free, 14 day trial of Retrace today.  

Top 5 .NET Monitoring Tools

When looking for a .NET monitoring tool, developers should look for the following features:

  • Provides proactive performance monitoring 
  • Caters to full-stack Microsoft .NET Application performance monitoring
  • Analyzes distributed server-side .NET Transactions
  • Implements low-level .NET code insights and identify errors
  • Provides in-depth monitoring of .NET framework, CLR, and IIS
  • Troubleshoots faster with an automated root-cause diagnosis

Considering these features, let’s examine five .NET monitoring tools in the market today.

Retrace

Retrace from Stackify is an APM that goes beyond monitoring. It has a .NET agent that evaluates your application’s tech stack. Also, it has its own Retrace App Score based on Apdex that helps you assess your app’s overall performance. The app score serves as the overall performance indicator. 

Retrace works perfectly with your .NET and .NET core applications, and it supports several web and cloud technologies such as:

  • SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL
  • MongoDB
  • Elasticsearch
  • Redis
  • AWS and Azure

Developers find that Retrace is a feature-rich APM when dealing with logs. It provides quick and easy log aggregation across all applications and servers. For example, developers can view and search across different apps and server logs. One can navigate into full-transaction tracing from a log statement.

Aside from its efficient log tagging and analysis, it also has structured logging. Logs have a defined format to .NET monitoring with automated log query configuration and monitoring.

Just like any other application, an exception is a common problem. Retrace helps developers find and resolve exceptions quickly.  Developers can efficiently view logs and exceptions in one setting. Likewise, it identifies unique exceptions and tracks exception rates in one dashboard.

Another aspect to consider in app development are dependencies. Retrace monitors dependents and identifies slow dependencies using the Apdex user satisfaction rating. 

Here are some detailed features in dealing with dependencies:

  • Automatically collect all frameworks and dependency details
  • Track every SQL query executed by your code
  • Profile and understand the performance of async code

Tracking and monitoring are useless without real-time alert notification. Retrace can track and monitor all key application and server metrics. However, it can uncover actionable insights and facilitate automated alerts and notifications in real-time.

Not only that, developers have the liberty to create custom dashboards. How do you like working with the specific metrics and share customized app dashboards with your lead or teammates? Retrace offers adjustable settings to keep an eye on your application’s health 24/7/365.

Above all, the best thing with Retrace is it helps you walk through your application’s deployment process. It offers automated deployment tracking integrations with your preferred CI/CD tool to determine any changes in performance as you cater to specific deployments.

Lastly, it automates the instrumentation of your tech stack. For example, it can emerge client and server-side traces into one. It examines how your frontend communicates with your backend. As a result, it optimizes resource performance and creates a seamless user experience.

.NET Memory Profiler

The .NET Memory Profiler is a robust monitoring tool to find memory leaks. It optimizes memory usage in C#, VB.NET, or any other .NET Language applications. Developers can use its profiling guides, automatic memory analyzer, and specialized trackers. These are the primary features to ensure that there are no memory or resource leaks. Making sure that the memory usage is as optimized as possible.

  • Find Memory leaks – This is where profiling guides work best. It provides developers with tips on how to detect memory leaks. For instance, the guide helps you navigate and identify memory leaks through snapshot collection and comparison of .NET memory usage. 
  • Reduce Resource Usage – The .NET memory profiler ensures that there are no resource leaks. 
  • Fast Applications – The .NET memory profiler provides information on how to optimize memory and resource usage. Developers get information about excessive memory and resource usage. Additionally, it provides insights regarding excessive or bad allocations patterns that will negatively impact your application’s performance.
  • Investigate memory problems in production code – The most challenging part of performance maintenance is debugging codes in production. Developers often use WinDbg and SOS for memory issues. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time. However, the .NET memory profiler can solve the problem with the free NmpCore tool that can work on production codes in minutes rather than hours.
  • Improve debugging experience – Developers find the .NET memory profiler easy to use. It allows investigation into memory usage issues inside the development environment. Plus, they get detailed memory usage insights while debugging inside Visual Studio IDE.

RedgateANTS

RedgatesANts is a monitoring tool that looks for the slowest activity in your application. It has a call tree for .NET performance profiling that shows the data for every method. Also, it identifies costly methods, database queries, and web requests.

RedgateANTS is feature-rich when it comes to .NET applications. It profiles C# and other .NET languages in a line-by-line manner. Likewise, it narrows down to code analysis with line-level timings. Find issues at a glance using the precise timing of data. It highlights complex code automatically for quick visual inspection.

  • Examine your code’s database interactions – This .NET monitoring tool examines how your .NET code makes database queries and provides information on how these queries perform. This tool supports SQL Server and Oracle databases (local or remote).
  • Capture outgoing web requests – It harnesses all outgoing HTTP requests to gather data about request and response headers. In this way, it helps you identify what .NET function or method caused all these requests. It is available in its pro version only.
  • Application performance feedback– It provides an interactive timeline to check the CPU usage of your .NET or ASP.NET application. 
  • Categorize methods by HTTP request – Group code and database activities based on the HTTP request. to expose performance problems within specific web pages.
  • Third-party code decompilation– RedgatesANTS uses .NET reflector to find bottlenecks in third-party components and frameworks.
  • Profile SQL queries – Examine the timings for the individual lines of .NET code. The SQL execution plans find resolutions why a specific SQL query is running slow.

dotTrace

The dotTrace monitoring tool detects performance bottlenecks in a variety of .NET and .NET Core applications

  • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Universal Windows Platform
  • ASP.NET, Windows services
  • Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services

Here are some extensive features to look into.

  • Analyze performance issues – The best way to analyze performance issues is to gather accurate data during call execution time, called timeline profiling mode. The profiler gathers the same call time data that belongs to a specific time frame. Performance issues are analyzed using timeline data with a strict focus on the order of events. For instance, UI freezes, excessive garbage collection, uneven workload distribution, inefficient file I/O, and others. The profiler correlates whether the UI freezes during peak hours or not to make troubleshooting quicker. 
  • Profile SQL queries and HTTP requests – This profiler examines how a particular query affects application performance. It includes results as to why this query is running slow. Moreover, it provides incoming HTTP requests for web applications.
  • Profile static methods and unit tests – Most profilers work directly with applications. However, dotTrace provides comprehensive profiling data using static methods that work with a usage scenario. Just add a static method next to the code you want to optimize and profile. Also, dotTrace works with a unique TeamCity plugin to profile integration tests on your CI server. This feature prevents performance regressions in the future.
  • Profile and analyze results right in Visual Studio – dotTrace executes profiling without leaving your IDE. For example, working with Visual Studio, you can view performance timelines, analyze call stacks, and perform profiling. 

AQTime

Memory leaks are always a headache for developers. AQTime is a monitoring and profiling tool for mission-critical applications. It focuses on memory and code coverage that hinders your .NET application’s performance. Fortunately, AQTime detects memory leaks quickly to easily pinpoint performance bottlenecks and code coverage gaps.

AQTime has actionable reports that simplify complex memory and performance information. It helps developers with easy bug analysis workflows. Developers can investigate the root of the problem right away. 

AQTime has the following features to enhance applications performance:

  • .NET Profiling – AQTime Pro profiles across managed code and frameworks such as the .NET framework. It optimizes performance, memory usage, code coverage, and trace exceptions.
  • Performance Profiler – AQTime Pro helps developers with function and call path identification. These are part of the performance profiling reports that hugely affect application performance. For instance, bottlenecks hinder your application from functioning at peak performance. AQTime can pinpoint what causes these bottlenecks and lessen the damage to the user experience. 
  • Code Coverage Profiler – In development, there are hidden and visible bugs. The former is dangerous as it increases the likelihood of application performance degradation. That is why code coverage is significant. Profilers that cater to code coverage gaps find hidden bugs lurking in your code. AQTime Pro has Coverage and Light Coverage profilers that trace untested code. It finds an unusual path, goes beyond routines, and checks code lines.
  • Memory Leaks DetectionMemory leaks are tricky and unnoticeable. It gradually destroys performance runtime overtime. Once aggregated, it ultimately causes applications to crash. AQTime Pro’s Allocation Profiler has a solution to this problem. It provides information about your application’s memory and resource allocations in real-time. Therefore, it aids developers with excessive memory and resource usage. 
  • C/C++ Code Profiling – AQTime Pro edition enhances the overall health performance of your C and C++ applications. It provides a rigorous analysis of performance bottlenecks, memory or resource leaks, and more.
  • Visual Studio & RAD Studio Integration – AQTime Pro can function as a standalone profiler. However, standalone profiling may be insufficient with large and complex .NET monitoring. Hence, the AQTime Pro edition integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio and Embarcadero RAD Studio for better productivity.
  • Intuitive Reporting – Fast and intuitive information helps developers troubleshoot performance issues quickly. It is one of the best assets of AQTime Pro. The intuitive reporting aids developers with the line-by-line investigation and finds the root cause of performance issues right away. 

Application Performance Monitoring for All Stakeholders

Using a .NET monitoring tool application allows developers to detect user experience and performance issues. With a .NET monitoring tool, developers can drill into any component and gather reliable performance insights. These insights are significant for troubleshooting, especially with complex applications. 

On the other hand, DevOps teams can proactively identify performance bottlenecks and ensure faster production rollouts. Additionally, helpdesk personnel and customer support quickly view the entire .NET service performance at a glance. This process provides quicker problem identification and rapid escalations.

Prefix and Retrace from Stackify are not just monitoring tools. They provide quick identification of code-level and database query-level. These are top-notch profilers that help you solve your .NET application problems. 
Try your 14-day FREE Retrace trial today!

About Iryne Somera

Iryne Somera is a professor in the Department of Computer Engineering. She loves to research and write articles related to computing technology such as Computer Hardware Fundamentals, Management Information Systems, Software Development and Project Management. In her spare time, she loves to experiment in her kitchen with her healthy breakfast ideas.