Management and Monitoring Tools for Windows Azure

Management and Monitoring Tools for Windows Azure

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(Last updated on 01/15/2013)

With such a large platform, Windows Azure has a lot of moving parts. We’ve done our best to keep the interface as simple as possible, while giving you the most control and visibility we can. However, as with most Microsoft products, there are multiple ways to do something – and I’ve always found that to be a good strength. Depending on the situation, I might want a graphical interface, a command-line interface, or just an API so I can incorporate the management into my own tools, or have third-party companies write other tools.

While by no means exhaustive, I thought I might put together a quick list of a few tools you can use to manage and monitor Windows Azure components, from our IaaS, SaaS and PaaS offerings. Some of the products focus on one area more than another, but all are available today. I’ll try and maintain this list to keep it current, but make sure you check the date of this post’s update – if it’s more than six months old, it’s most likely out of date. Things move fast in the cloud.

The Windows Azure Management Portal

The primary tool for managing Windows Azure is our portal – most everything you need is there, from creating new services to querying a database. There are two versions as of this writing – a Silverlight client version, and a newer HTML5 version. The latter is being updated constantly to be in parity with the Silverlight client.

There’s a balance in this portal between simplicity and power – we’re following the “less is more” approach, with increasing levels of detail as you work through the portal rather than overwhelming you with a single, long “more is more” page.

You can find the Portal here: http://windowsazure.com (then click “Log In” and then “Portal”)

Windows Azure Management API

You can also use programming tools to either write your own interface, or simply provide management functions directly within your solution. You have two options – you can use the more universal REST API’s, which area bit more complex but work with any system that can write to them, or the more approachable .NET API calls in code.

You can find the reference for the API’s here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsazure/ee460799.aspx 

All Class Libraries, for each part of Windows Azure: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee393295.aspx 

PowerShell Command-lets

PowerShell is one of the most powerful scripting languages I’ve used with Windows – and it’s baked into all of our products. When you need to work with multiple servers, scripting is really the only way to go, and the Windows Azure PowerShell Command-Lets allow you to work across most any part of the platform – and can even be used within the services themselves. You can do everything with them from creating a new IaaS, PaaS or SaaS service, to controlling them and even working with security and more.

You can find more about the Command-Lets here: http://wappowershell.codeplex.com/documentation (older link, still works, will point you to the new ones as well)

We have command-line utilities for other operating systems as well: https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/manage/downloads/ 

Video walkthrough of using the Command-Lets: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/SAC-859T 

System Center

System Center is actually a suite of graphical tools you can use to manage, deploy, control, monitor and tune software from Microsoft and even other platforms. This will be the primary tool we’ll recommend for managing a hybrid or contiguous management process – and as time goes on you’ll see more and more features put into System Center for the entire Windows Azure suite of products.

You can find the Management Pack and README for it here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=11324 

SQL Server Management Studio / Data Tools / Visual Studio

SQL Server has two built-in management and development, and since Version 2008 R2, you can use them to manage Windows Azure Databases. Visual Studio also lets you connect to and manage portions of Windows Azure as well as Windows Azure Databases.

You can read more about Visual Studio here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsazure/ee405484 

You can read more about managing Windows Azure Subscriptions with Visual Studio here: http://fabriccontroller.net/blog/posts/manage-your-subscriptions-with-the-windows-azure-tools-for-visual-studio/ 

You can read more about the SQL tools here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsazure/ee621784.aspx 

Vendor-Provided Tools

Microsoft does not suggest or endorse a specific third-party product. We do, however, use them, and see lots of other customers use them. You can browse to these sites to learn more, and chat with their folks directly on how they support Windows Azure.

Cerebrata: Tools for managing from the command-line, graphical diagnostics, graphical storage management - http://www.cerebrata.com/ 

Quest Cloud Tools: Monitoring, Storage Management, and costing tools - http://communities.quest.com/community/cloud-tools 

Paraleap: Monitoring tool - http://www.paraleap.com/AzureWatch 

Cloudgraphs: Monitoring too -  http://www.cloudgraphs.com/ 

Opstera: Monitoring for Windows Azure and a Scale-out pattern manager - http://www.opstera.com/products/Azureops/ 

Compuware: SaaS performance monitoring, load testing -  http://www.compuware.com/application-performance-management/gomez-apm-products.html 

SOASTA: Penetration and Security Testing - http://www.soasta.com/cloudtest/enterprise/ 

LoadStorm: Load-testing tool - http://loadstorm.com/windows-azure 

New Relic: Application Monitoring - http://newrelic.com/azure

AppDynamics: Application Monitoring - http://www.appdynamics.com/azure.php

Manage Engine's Application Monitor: http://www.manageengine.com/products/applications_manager/windows-azure-monitoring.html

I ran across this blog entry that deals with storage clients - your mileage may vary, but he has some screen-shots and his impressions: http://cloud.dzone.com/articles/windows-azure-blob-storage

Open-Source Tools

This is probably the most specific set of tools, and the list I’ll have to maintain most often. Smaller projects have a way of coming and going, so I’ll try and make sure this list is current.

Windows Azure MMC: (I actually use this one a lot) http://wapmmc.codeplex.com/ 

Windows Azure Diagnostics Monitor: http://archive.msdn.microsoft.com/wazdmon 

Azure Application Monitor: http://azuremonitor.codeplex.com/ 

Azure Web Log: http://www.xentrik.net/software/azure_web_log.html 

Cloud Ninja:Multi-Tennant billing and performance monitor -  http://cnmb.codeplex.com/ 

Cloud Samurai: Multi-Tennant Management- http://cloudsamurai.codeplex.com/ 

Azure Storage Explorer: Storage management - azurestorageexplorer.codeplex.com

 

If you have additions to this list, please post them as a comment and I’ll research and then add them. Thanks!

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  • Could add Azure Storage Explorer (azurestorageexplorer.codeplex.com) to the list too.

  • Michael - added. Thanks for that!

  • Take a look at Foghorn from Dell. www.foglight-on-demand.com/.../index.html.

    This product, currently in soft-launch, will be in a free and for-pay version soon. It covers performance, cost and availability management.

    I was particularly impressed with its cost management capabilities. Predicting Windows Azure costs is one of the most often questions I am asked about these days.

    Bill Zack

  • Ooops ment to say "Foglight".  :-)

    Bill

  • In the vendor-provided tools section, you might want to consider adding ManageEngine Applications Manager. It provides performance monitoring for Windows Azure platform.

  • Have done - thanks!

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