Tag Archives: Software

Problems with an External (non-ASP.NET) Root Cause

Sometimes when you’re having trouble with an ASP.NET site, the problem turns out to not be ASP.NET itself. Here’s the top three issues and their causes. This category are for cases that were concluded because of external reasons and are outside of the control of support to directly affect. The sub categories are 3rd party software, Anti-virus software, Hardware, Virus attacks, DOS attacks, etc.

If you’ve ever run a production website you know there’s always that argument about whether to run anti-virus software in production. It’s not like anyone’s emailing viruses and saving them to production web servers, but you want to be careful. Sometimes IT or security insists on it. However, this means you’ll have software that is not your website software trying to access files at the same time your site is trying to access them.

Here’s the essence as a bulleted list

  • Concurrency while under pressure: This causes problems in big software. Make sure your anti-virus software is configure appropriately and that you’re aware of which processes are accessing which files, as well as how, why and when
  • Profile your applications: .NET and the Web are not black boxes. You can see what’s happening if you look. Know what bytes are going out the wire. Know who is accessing the disk. Measure twice, cut once, they say? I say measure a dozen times. You’d be surprised how often folks put an app in production and they’ve never once profiled it.
  • Anti-Virus Software: It can’t be emphasized enough that site owners should ensure they are running the latest AV engine and definitions from their chosen anti-malware vendor. They’ve see folks hitting hangs due to flakey AV drivers that are over two years out of date.  Another point about AV software is that it is not just about old-school AV scanning of file access. Many products now do low level monitoring of port activity, script activity within processes and memory allocation activity and do not always do these things 100% correctly. Stay up to date!
  • Know where you’re calling out to: Also, connection to remote endpoints: calling web services, accessing file systems etc. All of this can slow you down if you’re not paying attention. Is your DNS correct? Did you add your external hosts to a hosts file to remove DNS latency? 
  • processModel autoconfig=true: This is in machine.config and folks always mess with it. Don’t assume that you know better than the defaults. Everyone wants to change the defaults, add threads, remove threads, change the way the pool works because they think their textboxes-over-data application is special. Chances are it’s not, and you’d be surprised how often people will spend days on the phone with support and discover that the defaults were fine and they had changed them long ago and forgotten. Know what you’ve changed away from the defaults, and know why.

Links 2009-6-22

Windows 7/VS 2010 stuff

PowerShell stuff


  • TestDriven.Net 2.22 RTM – What’s New? – Jamie Cansdale announces the RTM release of TestDriven.NET 2.22 which includes support for VS2010, NUnit 2.5, TypeMock, NCover, F#
  • NSyntheis 0.1.1 has escaped! – Stuart Caborn announces his first release of NSyntheis, a port of the Ruby project Syntheis which aims to provide a means of joining tests which call mock expectations with tests which call actual implementations. This release works with Nant, NUnit 2.5 and Rhino Mocks.
  • VS Addin: Fast Add Reference Dialog – No more Coffee Break! – Tuna Toksoz shares a new Visual Studio Add-in which aims to provide a much faster Add References dialog. This is something I will be checking out, as despite the efforts made by the VS team the dialog in 2008 is still far too slow