Thursday, 2 August 2012

Dynamics CRM Identifying and troubleshooting performance bottlenecks with Microsoft Network Monitor

Analyse your Dynamics CRM performance with two great Microsoft tools:
  1. Microsoft Network Monitor is a great tool used to troubleshoot applications and network traffic; Fiddler is probably the only tool you may ever use to troubleshoot traffic and HTTP requests. However if you need something more advanced to troubleshoot and inspect in detail TCP/IP packets you will need Microsoft Network Monitor or may consider Wireshark. 
  2. Microsoft Visual Round Trip Analyzer sits on top of the Network Monitor; it analyses traffic in a friendly format with a graphical representation of the client-server communications and the greatest feature generates a report with scores based on the captured traffic to easily identify network and application bottlenecks.

Download Network Monitor

Download Microsoft Visual Round Trip Analyzer

1. Capturing Data
When the software installed open Network Monitor and click New Capture > click play. This will start capturing traffic. When you done, save the captured traffic as a *.cap file.

You can also Capture data with Microsoft Visual Round Trip Analyzer, press the play button and it will start capturing traffic, however you will only be able to view the data when you stop.

2. Analysing Data
Now open the Microsoft Visual Round Trip Analyzer and Open the *.cap file.

On the first tab, you will see the Main Chart, a graphical representation of the captured activity. The vertical scale shows TCP ports from Client to Server, and horizontal scale shows the time.

On the below example I've highlighted two ports where the CRM address was used. Each coloured area represents a packet, hovering the mouse over the coloured area displays details of the specific packet.

Using the Zoom in button, Zoom to port: 59838 and the graph will start looking like this:

Technical description of the graphical representation.

On the statistics tab, you can get a breakdown of the traffic per content-type. Also the colours on this tab should represent the colours on the first tab. On the below screenshot you can see 31MB of data for Application/soap+xml; charset=utf-8 this is Outlook client traffic.

The tab all files, displays all activity per Frame. you can use the frame number as a packet identifier on the network monitor application. Also if you highlight any of the url's on this list, you get detailed information about the packet.

Identify one of the Frames you want to inspect in more detail from the first column. Open Network Monitor and open the same *.cap file you have loaded onto the Microsoft Visual Round Trip Analyzer. I'm going to pickup the Frame 1620, on the Network Monitor locate the Frame number 1620 and you then should be able to inspect this in greater detail as per the below screenshot:

3. Identifying Performance Bottlenecks
Now the interesting Analysis tab, I think this is a great feature, it scores the traffic recorded. The process is simple, the tool analysis the traffic and scores A to F, (good to bad). Displays the results on a list and highlights the scores in different colours (green, orange, red) describing what is being measured and scored. The below screenshots illustrates this feature:

Hover the mouse over one of the scores and you get detailed information about the score.

4. Summary 
Hope you find this tool and this post useful.
  • Microsoft Network Monitor captures all network traffic on a specific interface
  • *.cap files can be opened by Microsoft Visual Round Trip Analyzer for a more friendly analyse of the traffic
  • Microsoft Visual Round Trip Analyzer built-in feature helps identify network and application performance bottlenecks
  • Identify specific TCP/IP frames to inspect in greater detail within Microsoft Network Monitor

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