The purpose of the GreyBox application is to alert you that you have deployments in your Azure account that you are being charged for. This might sound like it's backwards, in that most people might be looking for something telling them that thier applications aren't running. This application is actually meant for people who give talks about Azure, or simply do demo work or Proof of Concepts that they don't want left running.

Getting Started

To get GreyBox running you'll need:
  • An Azure Account (check out the Azure Site for more details).
  • Your Auzre Account Subscription ID
    • You can get this from the Account Tab on the Azure Developer portal once you sign in.
  • The thumbprint form a valid Azure Management API certificate uploaded to your Azure account.
    • You can get this from the Manage API Certificates link off the Account tab on the Azure Developer portal once you sign in.

There are some good instructions on getting a management API certificate created and uploaded on the Azure Team Blog.

Once you have your Subscription ID and Certificate Thumbprint you'll need to update the GreyBox.exe.config file to provide these settings.
You'll want to change the following keys in the configuration:
    <add key="SubscriptionId" value="--ADD YOUR SUBSCRIPTION ID HERE--"/>
    <add key="CertificateThumbprint" value="--ADD YOUR CERTIFICATE THUMBPRINT HERE--"/>

The Subscription ID will look like a GUID and the Certificate Thumbprint will be a long alpha-numeric string. Replace everything in the value, including the dashes.
Then just start up GreyBox.exe by double-clicking. You can also put it in your Startup folder so it starts when you log in.

Notifications

GreyBox will provide you with alerts regarding running deployments for the subscription you provide. You can change how often GreyBox checks for your deployments by modifying the RefreshTimerIntervalInMinutes key in the Greybox.exe.config file. The value is represented in minutes. Remember that management API calls to your services are FREE.
Also, when there are running deployments the GreyBox icon will be blue in the system tray. If there are no running deployments, or if internet connectivity has been lost, the icon will be Grey.

Stopping Deployments

The idea behind GreyBox is that you will be notified about deployments you may have been left running after a demo or POC. The idea here is that if you see one running when it shouldn't be you can tell it to stop and be removed from the deployments. With GreyBox you can delete a single deployment, or remove all of them. Right click on the GreyBox icon in the system tray and choose to Kill either a single deployment, or all deployments for the subscription. Warning: You aren't prompted if you really want to stop the deployment, GreyBox will simply comply. Obvioulsy you don't want to run this with a subscription running true production applications.

Note that once you tell GreyBox to Kill one or more deployments you'll see an alert that the Kill command has been sent, but it might be a few minutes before the instance is actually removed from Azure and GreyBox goes grey (or the single instance is removed). Telling it to Kill the instance again won't hurt anything, but it also won't make it die any faster either. Just be patient. If you have your check interval set for anything more than 2 minutes it's likely that you will see the change at the next scheduled refresh.

Troubleshooting

GreyBox has trace messages that it is writing out, but there are no TraceListeners added to the configuration by default. To see what it's up to you can always attached your own TraceListener in the config, or use a debugging tool like DebugView to see what's being written to Trace as the application is running. Exceptions are written to this mechanism as well as operational information.

Last edited Jun 30, 2010 at 2:18 AM by MikeWo, version 5

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