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Making Applications Manageable – Turning Your Death Model into a Health Model

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Sometimes we don’t care what happens to our applications when we throw them over the electric fence to the operations folks.  I met up with some guys who are out to fix that with the Visual Studio Management Model Designer. Meet Architect Keith Pleas, Software Engineering Lead Fernando Simonazzi and Technical Evangelist David Aiken – the people who are going to help you build more manageable applications.

Links to the designerhttp://www.codeplex.com/dfo

Screencasts on Channel 9:

The DFO Show - Designing a Health Model with the Visual Studio Management Model Designer

The DFO Show - Implementing a Health Model with the Visual Studio Management Model Designer

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  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Sounds and looks (DTO Show screencast) cool guys.  I see where your going.  I am just wondering about instrumentation model for an app and threading/locking and what the guidance will be.  If you have a shared server app and you need to expose counters that get read and written to pretty fast, how/where/what do you use?  Would you just setup some element in your model and use those exclusively.  We would still probably need to take a lock in our server for other state changes and hold it while updating your state.  Is this going to be fast enouph?  Just trying to wrap mind around using this from the 200 foot level.
  • eronwrighteronwright Eron Wright

    Some clarification/background:

    Windows has great low-level instrumentation services, notably performance counters, event logging, and WMI.  These constitute the 'standard' Windows instrumentation interface.

    The .NET Framework already has good low-level support for Windows instrumentation, notably in System.Diagnostics.  You can, today, publish events and ticks and expose WMI interfaces.

    Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) is the premier software for managing Microsoft software-based business systems.   It is like an "expert system" in that it contains vast knowledge about specific server products such as SQL Server, Exchange, IIS, Windows Server, etc.  That knowledge is embodied in so-called Management Packs.  Microsoft provides and periodically updates the packs for its entire line of server products. 

    The MOM user experience is based around the notion of a "health model" with which MOM assesses the health of your solution.  The individual management packs assess a given application's health in any way they see fit, but primarily they use - surprise - the above-mentioned Windows instrumentation services.

    For a given business system, you are encouraged to write MOM packs for your custom applications.  Your pack must formulate a health model for your application.   Building an abstract description of the model then generating instrumentation code and a management pack would be great functionality.   Indeed, it is what this video describes.

    Hope this helps!  Use MOM!

  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    eronwright wrote:
    

    Some clarification/background:

    Windows has great low-level instrumentation services, notably performance counters, event logging, and WMI.  These constitute the 'standard' Windows instrumentation interface.

    The .NET Framework already has good low-level support for Windows instrumentation, notably in System.Diagnostics.  You can, today, publish events and ticks and expose WMI interfaces.

    Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) is the premier software for managing Microsoft software-based business systems.   It is like an "expert system" in that it contains vast knowledge about specific server products such as SQL Server, Exchange, IIS, Windows Server, etc.  That knowledge is embodied in so-called Management Packs.  Microsoft provides and periodically updates the packs for its entire line of server products. 

    The MOM user experience is based around the notion of a "health model" with which MOM assesses the health of your solution.  The individual management packs assess a given application's health in any way they see fit, but primarily they use - surprise - the above-mentioned Windows instrumentation services.

    For a given business system, you are encouraged to write MOM packs for your custom applications.  Your pack must formulate a health model for your application.   Building an abstract description of the model then generating instrumentation code and a management pack would be great functionality.   Indeed, it is what this video describes.

    Hope this helps!  Use MOM!



    Thanks.  I think that helps.  So your app will just do what it do, but it will (as needed) publish state changes to the mom framework?
  • eronwrighteronwright Eron Wright

    Correct.  You instrument your application with appropriate events and performance counters, such that its health can be assessed by management software such as MOM.  

    If you are using MOM, developers should build a management pack as they go along.  A typical pack will contain rules for monitoring performance thresholds (based on your counters, of course), watching for events, performing discovery of running instances of your application, probing your application periodically, etc.  In addition, so-called knowledge articles detail the likely causes of error, possible resolutions, etc.

    MOM provides a lot of .NET-based extensibility points for managing your application.  Indeed, a management pack is similar to a unit test project in how much code can conceivably be written.  I see it as an equally important part of an overall application.

  • eronwrighteronwright Eron Wright

    Pursuant to this discussion, check out this great batch of videos regarding Operations Manager 2007.  My favorites:

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