6.6 Performance Counters

only for RuBoard

Tucked away in the Administrative Tools folder within the Control Panel is the infamous Windows Performance Monitor. For years , network administrators have used this tool (shown in Figure 6-2) to profile everything from network traffic, SQL Server performance, memory, threads, and the cache. It is a very useful tool made even better by several additional counters provided by .NET.

Figure 6-2. The extremely useful Performance Monitor

These supplementary counters allow you to profile low-level processes such as CLR memory allocation and the JIT compiler. In addition, ASP.NET provides several useful counters for keeping an eye on sessions, requests , and the cache.

6.6.1 .NET CLR Exceptions

ASP.NET also provides a counter for monitoring exceptions thrown by the CLR. You can add it to the performance monitor by right-clicking on the performance graph and selecting "Add Counters" from the context menu. This step will bring you the dialog shown in Figure 6-3.

Figure 6-3. Adding performance objects to the monitor

Then in the Performance object drop-down listbox, select ".NET CLR Exceptions." This category contains several counters, including "# of Exceps Thrown." There are several instances of this counter: _Global_ , zero or more devenv counters, and mmc .

In the System.Diagnostics namespace, classes allow you to access any performance counter. Example 6-12 shows how to read values from a performance counter. Also shown is the " # of Exceps Thrown" counter, which tells you how many exceptions were thrown since the CLR was started.

Example 6-12. Accessing known performance counters
 Imports System  Imports System.Diagnostics     Friend Class Test       Public Shared Sub Main( )     If PerformanceCounterCategory.Exists(".NET CLR Exceptions") Then       Dim pc As New PerformanceCounter(".NET CLR Exceptions", _         "# of Exceps Thrown", "_Global_", True)       Console.WriteLine(pc.RawValue( ).ToString( ))     End If   End Sub     End Class 

The code first checks for the existence of the performance counter category by calling the shared method PerformanceCounterCategory.Exists . If it is found, an instance of PerformanceCounter is created by using the performance category, the counter name, and the instance name . These values can be readily obtained by looking in the Add Counters dialog from Figure 6-3. Finally the value is written to the console. It's not the greatest example, but the performance data is there, and you can access it.

6.6.2 Custom Performance Counters

What does the number of exceptions thrown by the CLR tell you as a software developer? Well, not much. It would probably be more useful to monitor the number of exceptions thrown in your own application versus the entire runtime. Luckily, as Example 6-13 demonstrates , the .NET Framework provides ample support for creating custom profiling counters.

Example 6-13. Creating a custom performance counter
 Imports System Imports System.Diagnostics     Friend Class Test       Public Shared Sub Main( )         If Not PerformanceCounterCategory.Exists("My Apps") Then           'Create your performance counters       Dim perfCounters As CounterCreationDataCollection _           = New CounterCreationDataCollection( )           'Create exception performance counters       Dim exceptionCounter As CounterCreationData = _           New CounterCreationData( _               "Exceptions Thrown", _               "This counter tracks the " & _               "total number of exceptions thrown " & _               "by all of my applications.", _               PerformanceCounterType.NumberOfItems32)           'Add counter       perfCounters.Add(exceptionCounter)           'Create another counter to show executions       Dim runCounter As CounterCreationData = _           New CounterCreationData( _               "Run Count", _               "This counter profiles the " & _               "total number of times " & _               "my applications have run on this machine.", _               PerformanceCounterType.NumberOfItems32)           'Add second counter       perfCounters.Add(runCounter)           'Add counters to Performance Monitor       PerformanceCounterCategory.Create("My Apps", _                                         "My Counters Help", _                                         perfCounters)     End If       End Sub     End Class 

As in Example 6-12, the existence of the performance category is checked. In this example, the category is called " My Apps ." If the category does not exist, it is created. Each performance category can contain any number of counters. In the example, one counter is created to track exceptions and another is created to track the number of times an application is run. Each counter is an instance of System.Diagnostics.CounterCreationData .

When creating the counter, the name of the counter, its help text, and its data type are provided. The help text is included for the benefit of the Add Counters dialog. A message box displays this text when the Explain button is pressed, as shown in Figure 6-4.

Figure 6-4. Custom performance counter help text

The important thing to remember is that counters cannot be added once the performance category is created, so think before jumping in head first.

After the counter is created, it is added to a collection of type CounterCreationDataCollection , which ends up as the third parameter to the PerformanceCounterCategory.Create method. The first two parameters are the name of and the help text for the category. This method makes the category and counters available to the Performance utility. If you want to track exceptions, you could place code similar to Example 6-13 into the startup routines of your application. If the category does not exist and you try to access it, an exception will be thrown. The irony!

To delete a custom performance counter, use the following code:

 PerformanceCounterCategory.Delete("My Apps") 

6.6.3 Providing Performance Data

Now that a performance category exists, you need a way to write to the counter. If you were looking for an excuse to create your own exception object, here it is. Example 6-14 contains a derived exception class that writes to the exception counter that was just discussed.

Example 6-14. Exception class that writes to performance counter
 Public Class MyBaseException : Inherits ApplicationException   Public Sub New( )     If PerformanceCounterCategory.Exists("My Apps") Then       Dim pc As New PerformanceCounter("My Apps", _           "Exceptions Thrown", False)       'Increment the counter       pc.Increment( )     End If   End Sub End Class 

In this instance, the constructor of the PerformanceCounter class takes the category name, the counter name, and whether or not the counter is read-only. Of course, to access the counter for a write operation, this last parameter must be False . Here, the Increment method adds one to the current counter value. To test the entire process, use code like this:

 Try     Throw New MyBaseException( ) Catch e As MyBaseException     If PerformanceCounterCategory.Exists("My Apps") Then         Dim pc As New PerformanceCounter("My Apps", _                                          "Exceptions Thrown")         'Increment the counter         Console.WriteLine(pc.RawValue( ).ToString( ))     End If End Try 

As an exercise, you might consider adding the ExceptionInfo class or the functionality it provides to your performance tracking exception class.

only for RuBoard

Object-Oriented Programming with Visual Basic. Net
Object-Oriented Programming with Visual Basic .NET
ISBN: 0596001460
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2001
Pages: 112
Authors: J.P. Hamilton

Similar book on Amazon

flylib.com © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: flylib@qtcs.net