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SOA with .NET and Windows Azure : WCF Extensions - WCF Management Tools

5/23/2011 5:47:03 PM
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Deployed services need to be tuned for performance, managed, and administered in order to meet SLA requirements. Service custodians are typically responsible for managing services through these post-implementation lifecycles.

Administration

Address and binding information are decoupled from a service and stored in the application configuration file. Setting up and maintaining these settings is typically an administrative task. WCF provides two types of related APIs:

  • tools that allow the administrator to examine and manipulate the points and control points exposed by WCF

  • instrumentation functions that expose these data points and control points

By default, WCF installs several granular performance counters that capture metrics at the service level, operation level, and service endpoint level. These performance counters are extensible, allowing for the creation of custom variations.

All management tools for Windows, including IBM Tivoli, Microsoft MOM, and HP OpenView, work through Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). WCF includes a WMI provider. Administrators need to switch on this WMI provider for the service in the configuration file in order to make the service visible in the management tool. The management tool then allows you to examine which services are running and query exposed endpoints.

Troubleshooting

WCF provides tracing support, which can facilitate message tracking and general debugging. Tracing metrics rely on application instrumentation and diagnostics data used for fault monitoring. WCF traces can also be used across all services within a given service composition in order to provide an end-to-end view of message paths.

When tracing is enabled, WCF emits data for operation calls, exceptions, and other significant processing events across all services. WCF tracing is based on the use of System.Diagnostics for which we need to define trace listeners in the configuration file. This form of tracing is not enabled by default, and requires that a trace listener be created in the application’s configuration file, as shown here:

Example 1.
<system.diagnostics>
<sources>
<source name="System.IO.Log" switchValue="Verbose">
<listeners>
<add name="xmlListener"
type="System.Diagnostics.XmlWriterTraceListener"
initializeData= "c:\traceLogs\" />
</listeners>
</source>
</sources>
</system.diagnostics>

In the preceding example, the XmlWriterTracelListener is used to emit XML. Since the trace output is an XML file, the location where the XML file must be deposited is specified using the initializeData setting. Each source can have any number of listeners associated with it.

The switchValue setting controls the trace level, which is the level of detail for messages emitted to the listener. Trace levels available in WCF are listed in Table 1.

Table 1. A list of WCF trace levels.
Trace LevelLevel of Detail
offno data is emitted
criticalonly unhandled exceptions that result in stopping the application are logged
errorall exceptions are logged even if the service is up and running
warninga problem occurred or may occur but the service is up and functioning correctly
informationall important and successful events are logged
verboseall successful events are logged

Logging Messages

Messages passed between the services and their consumers are not logged automatically. Message logging must be enabled in the configuration file and, similar to the trace listeners, message logging also requires that a listener be created, as follows:

Example 2.
<system.diagnostics>
<sources>
<source name="System.ServiceModel.MessageLogging">
<listeners>
<add name="LogMessages"
type="System.Diagnostics.XmlWriterTraceListener"
initializeData="c:\logs\messages" />
</listeners>
</source>
</sources>
</system.diagnostics>

This listener logs all messages as text to the folder c:\logs\messages. The following messageLogging setting is used to filter and manage logged messages.

Example 3.
<diagnostics>
<messageLogging
logEntireMessage="true"
logMalformedMessages="true"
logMessagesAtServiceLevel="true"
logMessagesAtTransportLevel="true"
maxMessagesToLog="300"
maxSizeOfMessageToLog="200" />
</diagnostics>
Other -----------------
- SOA with .NET and Windows Azure : WCF Extensions - WCF Extensibility
- SOA with .NET and Windows Azure : WCF Extensions - WCF Discovery
- Service-Orientation with .NET : Entity Abstraction with a .NET REST Service
- Service-Orientation with .NET : Utility Abstraction with a .NET Web Service
- Service-Orientation with .NET : Service Reusability and the Separation of Concerns
- Service-Orientation with .NET : Service Discoverability
- Service-Orientation with .NET : Exception Shielding
- Service-Orientation with .NET : Service Abstraction & Validation Abstraction
- Service-Orientation with .NET : Service Loose Coupling and Service Capability Granularity
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