Lightweight Microsoft.NET Process Debugging in Production Environments

Everyone is aware of the problem of discovering the causes of a bug when it’s only present in one environment and, if it’s Production, the problem is even bigger, even if you have a solid error logging system in place.

Recently we faced this same situation and we didn’t have any clues to help us, only that the w3wp process was dying and the ASP.NET session remained locked. After some thought, we arrived at the conclusion that there was an infinite loop somewhere, and we had a vague idea of the “zone” of code where this was happening, but we couldn’t reproduce it in any other environment even after several hours of testing.

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Clouds Evolve: Dealing with Infrastructure Complexity

As expected, at least by me, Amazon EC2 is evolving in a more “concrete” platform good for web hosting; in fact, some time ago I received a mail from AWS announcing two new features: Elastic IP Addresses and Availability Zones (you read for sure the news also on Slashdot: Amazon EC2 Now More Ready for Application Hosting, isn’t it?)

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Amazon EC2 will get persistent storage

Only a small note to let you know that Amazon is hearing us and added a new feature to EC2: persistent storage.

As a subscriber of AWS services yesterday I received an email in which Amazon announces that we “will be able to create volumes ranging in size from 1 GB to 1 TB, and will be able to attach multiple volumes to a single instance. Volumes are designed for high throughput, low latency access from Amazon EC2, and can be attached to any running EC2 instance where they will show up as a device inside of the instance…“.

The mail ends saying that the new functionality “will be publicly available later this year” and offers a link to request to join the private beta program; I subscribed it and will let you now as soon as I’ll put my hands on it.

More on the [Computing] Clouds

Recently I stumbled upon a couple of articles1,2 and, remembering my experience with EC2, I discovered that utility computing was not what I was searching for: I was searching for something that helped me without adding complexity, but I was not happy with simple web hosting offers, I wanted also complete control over my infrastructure to have the technical freedom that I could need and because, when I think about my customers’ data, I trust no one.

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Helping Improve Virtualmin

Only a small note to let you know that Virtualmin (from version 3.54) can be used for serious work when importing websites from Plesk backups: I tried the previous version with some web sites but it was too buggy, so I decided to help authors in debugging and testing it; I think that now Virtualmin can import the backups in a rather complete way.

BTW, Plesk is a good product, full of features, but I prefer Webmin/Virtualmin because they let me have full control of the server, instead of the way of Plesk that is too automatic in my opinion and offers less choices, impositions that I feel too strong (one for all: Plesk comes and works only with QMail).

The Road to MDA

The most expensive phase of software construction is coding and this is because it’s the less intuitive: it requires constant attention and reasoning, errors (logical or not) are difficult to spot because they are immersed in text that often is long, separated in more than one file, and not written by us.

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Proof that Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Profiler causes no harm

If you ever wondered if SQL Server Profiler can influence negatively your production database servers that you watch every day with love and attentions, then stop wondering because I have an empirical proof of the fact that it causes no harm.
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