Carolyn Van Slyck

Intellitrace, New Relic and Windows Azure

I recently discovered Intellitrace and think it’s the bee’s knees. It was especially helpful debugging issues on Windows Azure. Since I couldn’t attach a debugger to my site, and it was working fine on my development machine, being able to view errors and other information (that Elmah wasn’t pickup up) seemed like a huge win. So I decided to leave Intellitrace enabled on my web role and moved on with my life.

Fast forward to last week when I learned that New Relic standard edition is free for Azure users. SIGN ME UP! I had been having performance problems lately that I couldn’t pin-point and New Relic was just the right tool to figure them out. But I couldn’t get it working, for DAYS. Not my finest moment… After working with New Relic tech support, I learned that you can’t have Intellitrace and New Relic running at the same time. So Intellitrace was “winning” and I wasn’t receiving any data on New Relic.

Problem solved right? Even more than I realized. After disabling Intellitrace, not only did New Relic start working (like a charm) but my app performance increased 5x. Pages that would take 5-6s went down to 800ms - 1.3s. I had previously looked at CPU and memory usage on my instance and a single page request would spike the CPU to 100% and memory usage was almost maxed out. Now a page would spike to 10% CPU and memory is comfortably at 50%. I may even try downgrading from a Small to Extra Small instance just for kicks. :)

Lessons learned?

  • Only turn on Intellitrace on development and staging.
  • If you swap staging and production, make sure to disable Intellitrace before swapping.
  • Pay attention to the level of tracing you have turned on in your Azure project settings.
  • New Relic doesn’t work with Intellitrace enabled…