Troubleshooting IAAS Virtual Machines in Azure: Part 2 Azure Storage Investigation

I'm doing a lot of Azure architecture work these days; it seems that many business intelligence projects and actually turning into 'data going to the cloud' projects, in disguise. I'm sharing my knowledge here because I want to help people along on the same 'business intelligence to the cloud' journey that I'm travelling. 

In the first topic in the series, I discussed performance best practices for VMs in Azure. In this second post in this series, I will discuss some storage errors that you might see, along with some pointers in resolving these issues. 

Before diving in, it's worth having a quick review of the Windows I/O stack architecture. You can see a handy diagram here, borrowed from Technet.

If you look through your Event Logs, one error that you might see is EventID 129. The description reads Reset to device, \Device\RaidPort1, was issued. There are more details here but the takeaway point is that Event ID 129 points to storage time out issues or dropped requests, and you can contact Azure Support for more direct assistance.

How can you go about monitoring your Azure Storage? As you can see from the diagram, there are many moving parts. 

The good news is that you can use Azure Storage Analytics to set up Azure Storage Monitoring. This means that you can proactively monitor Microsoft Azure Storage Tables, Blobs, Queues, or Files. This also includes other, more familiar data stores such as relational and document databases. There is a great video series on this topic, which you can get over at Channel 9. Here is an overview below, from the fantastic Channel 9 series on DIY Microsoft Azure Troubleshooting. If you haven't seen it, head on over and take a look. The following video comes from Channel 9 so I am crediting them here.

Microsoft have produced a Guide, which will help you to setup Azure Storage Monitoring with Analytics logs. It is aimed at those who are responsible for managing such online services. With respect to Azure Storage accounts, the guide helps you to:

  • Maintain the health and performance of your Azure Storage accounts.
  • Give you processes and tools to help you decide if an issue relates to Azure Storage.
  • Clarify guidance for Azure Storage issues

How do you enable the analytics? Microsoft have published advice here.

Do you want to see the logs? Then review this overview for Storage Analytics.
If you want to focus on collecting log information, then it's worthwhile looking at Windows Azure Storage Analytics SDP Package

I hope that helps. Don't forget to check out the DIY Microsoft Azure Troubleshooting videos on Channel 9!