Welcome!

@DevOpsSummit Authors: Elizabeth White, Gopala Krishna Behara, Sridhar Chalasani, Tirumala Khandrika, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Hidden Exceptions & Application Performance Problems | @DevOps #APM #DevOps

"We dramatically improved application performance, average load times dropped from 500-800 milliseconds to 250-500

Case Study: How GeeksWithBlogs Found Hidden Exceptions & Application Performance Problems

Exceptions in .NET can be very expensive when it comes to CPU cycles. Read how Geeks with Blogs (http://geekswithblogs.net) used Stackify APM+ to improve the performance of their application.

About Geeks with Blogs (GWB)
Thousands of software developers use Geeks with Blogs (GWB) to host their own personal blog. The code base has slowly morphed and has been modified by several developers over 15 years. As a free service, GWB decided to use Stackify to try improve the overall page load times and CPU usage with the hopes of also being able to use fewer servers to cut hosting costs and improve application performance and user experience. Here’s their story:

How GWB uses Stackify APM+ to improve its application performance
We installed Stackify APM+ on our web servers and configured log4net to send errors and logs to Stackify. This allowed us to get visibility to errors being logged by log4net, basic server monitoring, key .NET performance counters, and full code profiling details via APM. I have to admit, it was pretty amazing to see all of this data in one place. By sending our log4net logs to Stackify we were able to immediately identify a couple simple bugs that needed to be fixed. The APM’s page level performance tracking confirmed that two pages (the blog list and individual blog page view) were generating the vast majority of all the traffic to the site. We also found a couple places in our code where we could do a better job of caching database queries. Out-of-the-box Stackify’s default monitoring included some .NET performance counters. One of which was the number of .NET CLR exceptions being thrown per minute. We noticed that the number was over 10,000 on each server but none of those errors were being logged via log4net. The exceptions were being caught and thrown away and we had no way to know what they were. This shows total errors being about 400,000 to 700,000 every 30 minutes. Yikes!<,p>

Log improvments

Preventing and finding hidden exceptions in your code
It is very common for developers to make helper methods for common tasks like grabbing a column from a SqlDataReader and converting it to the correct type as shown below. This type of code seems innocent but can potentially cause huge performance problems as you will see below.

public DateTime? GetDate(SqlDataReader reader, string columnName)
{
DateTime? value = null;
try
{
value = DateTime.Parse(reader[columnName].ToString());
}
catch
{
}
return value;
}

This code can easily throw multiple different exceptions:

  1. An invalid column name could have been passed in via the columnName variable
  2. The value in the data reader could be null
  3. The value in the data reader isn’t a valid DateTime and parsing fails

#2 and #3 are easy to avoid by refactoring the code as shown below. Checking for null and using TryParse eliminates the potential exceptions.

public DateTime? GetDate(SqlDataReader reader, string columnName)
{
try
{
var dbval = reader[columnName];
DateTime dt;
if (dbval != DBNull.Value && DateTime.TryParse(dbval.ToString(), out dt))
{
return dt;
}
}
catch {}
return null;
}

The root cause of our performance problems was actually #1, trying to access a column name that was not available in the SqlDataReader. We have several web pages that do different types of searches of blog posts and they use different stored procedures. A long time ago someone made the decision to have one code path that took the stored procedure results and populate them in to a common object that all the pages used. This worked perfect except all the stored procedures returned slightly different columns. This caused a lot of exceptions to occur for the missing columns, but we had no idea that the exceptions even existed since our code did not log the exceptions.

Stackify’s automatic APM exception collection
The only way we were able to find these exceptions was from Stackify’s APM+. Because it does code profiling within the CLR, it is able to get visibility to all exceptions that are thrown. So even though our code was swallowing the exceptions and not logging them via log4net, Stackify was able to give us visibility to them with no coding or logging changes. We were able to immediately find problems in a 15 year old application.

GWB’s Optimization Results
With a few code changes we were able to eliminate several exceptions that we had no idea existed until we used Stackify APM+. This cut CPU usage and enabled us to scale down the # of web servers we were using which will save us monthly hosting costs as well as to improve overall application performance. This chart shows how the number of errors has dramatically lowered.

Log rate improvment

Page load times improved as well. It is amazing how much of an effect hidden exceptions had on overall page load time across the app. Before the changes, average load times were 500-800 milliseconds and have dropped to 250-500ms depending on site traffic.

page load performance improvment

This chart below shows request volume by user satisfaction over the same time period. You can see that the yellow sluggish requests have lessened. Improve application performance

Exceptions are slow. Avoid them!
Exceptions in .NET are expensive, even when your users don’t know they are happening. The primary cause of it is capturing the stack trace at the time the exception is thrown. The .NET CLR has to stop and walk back through the calling frames and this requires CPU cycles and blocks the thread. At Stackify we would suggest never using exceptions to control application logic flow and to use good defensive coding techniques to avoid issues like those which Geeks with Blogs ran into.

More Stories By Stackify Blog

Stackify offers the only developers-friendly solution that fully integrates error and log management with application performance monitoring and management. Allowing you to easily isolate issues, identify what needs to be fixed quicker and focus your efforts – Support less, Code more. Stackify provides software developers, operations and support managers with an innovative cloud based solution that gives them DevOps insight and allows them to monitor, detect and resolve application issues before they affect the business to ensure a better end user experience. Start your free trial now stackify.com

@DevOpsSummit Stories
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering management. To date, IBM has launched more than 50 cloud data centers that span the globe. He has been building advanced technology, delivering “as a service” solutions, and managing infrastructure services for the past 20 years.
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the benefits of the cloud without losing performance as containers become the new paradigm.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex to learn. This is because Kubernetes is more of a toolset than a ready solution. Hence it’s essential to know when and how to apply the appropriate Kubernetes constructs.
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. That means serverless is also changing the way we leverage public clouds. Truth-be-told, many enterprise IT shops were so happy to get out of the management of physical servers within a data center that many limitations of the existing public IaaS clouds were forgiven. However, now that we’ve lived a few years with public IaaS clouds, developers and CloudOps pros are giving a huge thumbs down to the ...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve full cloud literacy in the enterprise world.
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is correlated with 20% faster time-to-market, 22% improvement in quality, and 18% reduction in dev and ops costs, according to research firm Vanson-Bourne. It is changing the way IT works, how businesses interact with customers, and how organizations are buying, building, and delivering software.
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throughout enterprises of all sizes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on quality and value. Based in Bellevue, Washington, T-Mobile US provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile and MetroPCS. For more information, visit https://www.t-mobile.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Jenny Hung, E2E Engineer Manager at Yahoo Gemini, Haoran Zhao, Software Engineer at Oath Gemini, and Lin Zhang, Software Engineer at Oath (Yahoo), will describe the technical challenges and the principles we followed to build a reliable and scalable test automation infrastructure across desktops, mobile apps, and mobile web platforms on the cloud. We also share some...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lavi, a Nutanix DevOps Solution Architect, explored the ways that Nutanix technologies empower teams to react faster than ever before and connect teams in ways that were either too complex or simply impossible with traditional infrastructures.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that saves you time and money and ultimately simplifies your life.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Opsani is the leading provider of deployment automation systems for running and scaling traditional enterprise applications on container infrastructure.
Every few years, a disruptive force comes along that prompts us to reframe our understanding of what something means, or how it works. For years, the notion of what a computer is and how you make one went pretty much unchallenged. Then virtualization came along, followed by cloud computing, and most recently containers. Suddenly the old rules no longer seemed to apply, or at least they didn’t always apply. These disruptors made us reconsider our IT worldview.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nirmata will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nirmata provides a comprehensive platform, for deploying, operating, and optimizing containerized applications across clouds, powered by Kubernetes. Nirmata empowers enterprise DevOps teams by fully automating the complex operations and management of application containers and its underlying resources. Nirmata not only simplifies deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters but also facilitates delivery and operations of applications by continuously monitoring the application and infrastructure for changes, and auto-tuning the application based on pre-defined policies. Using Nirmata, enterprises can accelerate their journey towards becoming cloud-native.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. Opsani is creating the next generation of automated continuous deployment tools designed specifically for containers. How is continuous deployment different from continuous integration and continuous delivery? CI/CD tools provide build and test. Continuous Deployment is the means by which qualified changes in software code or architecture are automatically deployed to production as soon as they are ready. Adding continuous deployment to your toolchain is the final step to providing push button deployment for your developers.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations and optimization to employee training and insights, all ultimately create the best customer experience both online and in-store.
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous architectural and coordination work to minimize the volatility of the cloud environment and leverage the security features of the cloud to the benefit of the CICD pipeline.