Info: How to search, troubleshoot and analyze the .NET Trace file.

Applies To

Any release of the product, since this is about a file not created by Venafi.


This KB will outline tips on reading your .NET trace to see if there is something you can act on. It is targeted toward both support and clients.  It is intended to be a supporting tool for when this capture is necessary for a Support ticket with Venafi.

NOTE: This is not to replace getting support, but is meant to augment support from a Venafi professional.

More Information.

First, the file has to be captured. Please follow the article here:

Capturing a .NET Trace

Then, we can analyze the data.

Basic Analysis

The most awkward part about reading these files is the lack of time stamps.  However, with some work, we can get around that. It's very similar to reading IIS logs.

Here are some hints to get through these quickly.

  • Open and to the bottom of the file.  Notepad or any other text editor is just fine.
  • Search UP for a keyword. For instance, perhaps you're troubleshooting a Digicert connection, or your NetScaler provisioning.  You might search for a specific IP address you know we should be reaching, or for part of a web address our call should be reaching (e.g. Symantec).
  • Read the lines you find this on. It will tell you what is happening. If you captured this correctly, it should be pretty simple, and probably the first hit you get if you're careful.  Below is a sample of what you might see:


    Note: Here you can see us trying to contact with a renewal request.  Prior to this, on a different process thread, you can also see timeouts.

Reading these logs tells us all the communication made between the IIS server on our Venafi TPP installation and the destination device, broken down by threads.

For instance, you may see an IP address or FQDN intermediary within the organization (e.g. Proxy Server) that points to where we're stumbling, OR maybe you'll see that the API call is going to the wrong API location (or perhaps, an older or newer one due to the version of the product you own).

Advanced Analysis

Notepad++ is a free tool that can be downloaded but is NOT supported by Venafi. However, it has a feature that makes it very simple to look through these logs. Consider the following screen shot of a Network log in Notepad++:


There are a number of useful things in here.  First though, the error we're troubleshooting in this comunication with an IBM Datapower device is highlighted in the red box.  The numerical value in GREEN is the process ID being traced for this single request, which has, as you can see, several requests - a LOT of communication.

  1. This is the default view of the file. Anytime you click on a value in Notepad++ it will try to find duplicates. This is really handy for editing documents such as this!
  2. This is a "Document Map" which can be toggled at the top.  The idea is that you can drag your "view" up and down the entire doc, AND see highlighted the rows you are looking for with that single value.
  3. this is a "Search" and find all option, opened in a 2nd window. It's helpful because it weeds out all other unreleated processes for a quick view of the entire chain.


Interestingly though, what you learn with Notepad++ is essentially the same as with the basic trace, but maybe a bit easier to read and find.

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