Windows Azure Web Sites: DASHBOARD Management Page

This post will address the Web Sites DASHBOARD management page. In one of my earlier posts I discussed the QuickStart management page.

The DASHBOARD management page is one of the most important pages. We'll discuss all the options on this page one by one. Before we proceed further, here is a snapshot of the DASHBOARD page:

There are several sections which depicts different data and provides the users with certain information and options.


As soon as the user lands on this page, he will see the graphical representation of certain CPU metrics which provides some insight into the overall usage of the site. I will not discuss this entirely here as this is a replica of the same information which is available on the MONITOR management page. The only change is that here the users have the ability to select only these metrics:

  • RESPONSE TIME (This option would become available when Endpoint monitoring)

Below is a snapshot of the chart when the endpoint monitoring is enabled:

We will discuss this in more detail when I would post about MONITOR Management Page later.

Command Bar

At the bottom of the page is the Command Bar that provides basic manage functionalities to stop, start and browse a website. Below is a snapshot:

As seen above it includes the following options:

  • BROWSE – launches the website URL in a web browser.
  • STOP – Stops the website.
  • RESTART – Re-starts the website.
    DOMAINS – Takes the user to the Domain Names section under the CONFIGURE Management Page. The users can add custom domain names. This option is enabled if the website is running in either SHARED or STANDARD mode.
  • DELETE – Deletes the website from your subscription.
  • WEBMATRIX – Launches the WebMatrix tool on the client side so that the users can edit the website. If WebMatrix is not installed, then it would prompt the user to install it.

Web Endpoint Status

Currently this feature is in PREVIEW
(or BETA) and is available only if the website is running in STANDARD mode. This provides for monitoring functionality for the Web Site's HTTP or HTTPS endpoints from up to 3 geographically distributed locations. Below is a snapshot before the web endpoint is configured for monitoring:

This section corresponds to the monitoring section under the CONFIGURE Management Page.

The users can configure a maximum of 2 endpoints each of which can be monitored from up to 3 geographic locations. Rephrasing again, "one endpoint can be monitored from up to 3 geographical locations". There are 8 geographical locations to choose from, they are:

  1. Chicago, Illinois (US)
  2. San Antonio, Texas (US)
  3. San Jose, California (US)
  4. Ashburn, Virginia (US)
  5. Dublin, Ireland
  6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Singapore

To set this up the user needs to browse to the Configure management page. After the user has created the endpoint, the Dashboard management page takes some time to update the changes. It may take approximately 10-15 minutes for the portal to reflect the changes. Until the changes are reflected the user will see this:

Once the portal has finished updating, the user will see something similar to this:

As shown above, the user will get an option to view the result of the tests. UI will display the endpoints that were tested (from the chosen geo-locations) along with the timestamp. The time stamp seen in the above image reflects the user's local time-zone. The user has to click on the endpoint's name to view the results. I setup 2 endpoints called Kaushal and test as seen above. Below is the output when I click on one of the endpoints.

Autoscale Status

This section displays the data corresponding to the AUTOSCALE option under SCALE Management page. Currently this feature is in PREVIEW
(or BETA) and is available only if the website is running in STANDARD mode. Below is a snapshot of the section before autoscale has been configured:

Once the website has been scaled to STANDARD and autoscale has been set to CPU, the portal would update the section and this is what it would display:

Usage Overview

This section displays the usage quotas for Data Out, CPU Time, File System Storage,
Memory Usage, SQL Server Database Size etc.

  • The green bar for each resource indicates how much of the subscription's resource usage quota is being consumed by the current web site.
  • The grey bar displayed for each resource indicates how much of a subscription's resource usage quota is being consumed by all other shared mode web sites associated with user's Web Site subscription.

This section displays different set of data depending on which mode the website might be running in. Typically this section depicts the quota restriction enforced by Windows Azure on the utilization of system resources.

  • Data Out – a measure of the amount of data sent from web sites to their clients in the current quota interval (24 hours).
  • CPU Time – the amount of CPU time used by web sites running in Free/Shared mode for the current quota interval.
  • File System Storage – The amount of file system storage in use by the web site.
  • Memory Usage – The amount of physical memory in use by the web site.
  • Database Size – The total SQL Server storage space utilized by the website on this DB.

NOTE: The database info is related to SQL Server and not MySQL. There are no metrics available for MySQL on WAWS currently. To view this please logon to ClearDB's site.

As I mentioned earlier, WAWS prevents over usage of the resources through quota restrictions on the website. It takes subsequent actions when a website overuses the resources, this is done to prevent any subscriber from exhausting resources to the detriment of other subscribers.

What happens when a resource usage quota is exceeded?

Windows Azure takes the following actions if a subscription's resource usage quotas are exceeded in a quota interval:

  • Data Out – when this quota exceeds Windows Azure stops all web sites for a subscription, which are configured to run in SHARED
    mode for the remainder of the current quota interval. Windows Azure will start the web sites at the beginning of the next quota interval.
  • CPU Time – when this quota is exceeded Windows Azure stops all web sites for a subscription, which are configured to run in SHARED
    mode for the remainder of the current quota interval. Windows Azure will start the web sites at the beginning of the next quota interval.
  • File System StorageWindows Azure prevents deployment of any web sites for a subscription, which are configured to run in Shared mode if the deployment will cause the File System Storage usage quota to be exceeded. When the File System Storage resource has grown to the maximum size allowed by its quota, file system storage remains accessible for read operations but all write operations, including those required for normal web site activity are blocked. When this occurs you could configure one or more web sites running in SHARED
    web site mode to run in STANDARD web site mode and reduce usage of file system storage below the File System Storage usage quota.
  • Memory Usage – when this quota is exceeded Windows Azure stops all web sites for a subscription which are configured to run in SHARED
    mode for the remainder of the current quota interval. Windows Azure will start the web sites at the beginning of the next quota interval. Resource metering service on the web worker pushes worker process stats (private bytes memory in this case) to metering DB (twice every minute). Quota enforcement monitors the Metering DB to see if it crossed over 512MB (again twice every minute). Since this quota is per hour basis, if Quota Enforcement sees 512MB in DB it will block this site for the next clock hour. So it could detect violation at 10:59 and block the site only for 1 minute and unblock it at 11.00, similarly if it detects at 10:05 then it will be clock for 55 min till 11th hour.

Linked resources

This will display all the resources and dependencies of the user's web sites. The user can link new or existing Windows Azure SQL Database instances, MySQL instances, or Storage accounts to the web site.

If there are no linked resources then the DASHBOARD page reflects something as shown in the image below:

The MANAGE LINKED RESOURCES (a hyperlink) points to the LINKED RESOURCES management page.

Quick Glance

Towards the right side of the page is the quick glance section which provides the user with few important options and information.

As seen in the above snapshot, it provides the following information:

View connection strings – This link when clicked displays the connection string to the user, provided the application connects to either a SQL or a MySQL database.

  • Download publish profile –
    Clicking this link will prompt the user to download a xml file which contains all of the information required to publish a web application to a Web Site, this file is known as publish profile. This file is saved with the extension "*.PublishSettings". This can be with Microsoft
    Web Matrix to automate publishing of applications to Web Sites.
  • Reset publish profile credentials –
    This option when clicked & confirmed, makes any previously downloaded publish profiles irrelevant. It creates a new publish profile with updated security information. (It is important to note that this changes the password hash, but does not the password. Because the password hash is changed the previous publish profiles are no longer usable)
  • Reset deployment profile credentials –
    sounds similar to the previous option but should not to be confused with it. When clicked the users will be prompted to change the deployment credentials. When the users deploy to a FTP host or a GIT repository, they must authenticate using the deployment credentials created from Web Site's Quick Start or Dashboard management pages.

NOTE: The difference between Reset deployment profile credentials & Reset publish profile credentials has been discussed in more detail in this blog post: Click Here

  • Set up deployment from source control – This option allows the users set up publishing for your web site using a wide variety of source control providers, including Team Foundation Service (TFS), Local Git (a Git repository on your local computer), GitHub, CodePlex, BitBucket, DropBox, or Mercurial. Once configured the users can manage the deployments on the DEPLOYMENTS page.

NOTE: Once the source control is configured the option changes to reflect a new value. For example if the user configures GitHub as a source control, the quick glance section would contain an option called Disconnect from GitHub. See below snapshot:



There are other sections below quick glance (right side of the page) which provide additional information regarding the website.

    Provides the status of the Web Site, whether it is Running or Stopped.
    Specifies the public address used to access the site. This can be modified under the CONFIGURE management page provided the site is running in either Shared or Reserved mode.
  • VIRTUAL IP ADDRESSSpecifies the IP which gets assigned to the website upon enabling IP-based SSL.
    IP-based SSL is enabled the users need to use this IP to configuring custom domains and not the IP of the WAWS Front-end servers.
    Specifies the mode the Web Site has been configured to run. This can be FREE, SHARED or STANDARD.
  • FTP HOSTNAME Specifies the URL to use when the user is publishing the site over FTP. (Also specifies the datacenter where the website is hosted)
  • FTPS HOSTNAMESpecifies the URL to use when the user is publishing the site over FTP.
  • DEPLOYMENT/ FTP USERSpecifies the user account to be used when deploying the web application using FTP. Ensure to prepend the username with the Web Site name followed by backslash. If the websites name is Kaushal and the username is called test, then the value is Kaushal/test.
  • FTP DIAGNOSTIC LOGS Specifies the location where the diagnostics are stored and allow the user to download the same. The user must note to prepend the username with Web Site name followed by the backslash as mentioned earlier. Diagnostics options for a Web Site are available on the CONFIGURE management page for the Web Site. After configuring diagnostics for a Web Site, the user can download the resulting log files via FTP. Consider using a client such as FileZilla to download diagnostic logs from the FTP or FTPS site. A standalone client should provide usability superior to a web browser for specifying credentials, viewing folders and downloading files from FTP or FTPS sites.
  • FTPS DIAGNOSTIC LOGS – Same as previous one except that the user can choose FTPS as the protocol.
    Specifies the location of the Data Center
    where the Web Site is hosted. Users get the option to choose the data center during Web Site creation. Currently there is no option in the Windows Azure Portal to migrate the website to a different data center post website creation.
    Specifies the Windows Azure subscription name used to create the Web Site.
    Specifies the Windows Azure subscription ID used to create the Web Site.


So this is the summary of the DASHBOARD Management Page. I will update this post to keep in sync with the new features that either get added or removed.



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