Performance Tuningedit

There are many options available to tune agent performance. Which option to adjust depends on whether you are optimizing for speed, memory usage, bandwidth, or storage.

Samplingedit

The first knob to reach for when tuning the performance of the agent is transactionSampleRate. Adjusting the sampling rate controls what percent of requests are traced. By default, the sample rate is set at 1.0, meaning all requests are traced.

The sample rate will impact all four performance categories, so simply turning down the sample rate is an easy way to improve performance.

Example setting the sample rate to 20%:

require('elastic-apm-node').start({
  transactionSampleRate: 0.2
})

Transaction Queueedit

The agent buffers the collected data using an in-memory queue before sending it to the APM Server. The queue is flushed either after a specific amount of time or when it reaches a certain size - whichever comes first. Lowering these defaults can reduce memory usage, but will increase the number of requests to the APM Server.

Flush Intervaledit

To prevent items from staying in the queue for a long time during low activity, the flushInterval setting is used to ensure the queue empties if anything in it is too old.

Lowering the flush interval will ensure transactions are sent to the APM Server faster, but may also result in increased HTTP traffic and cpu usage.

Max Queue Sizeedit

The maxQueueSize controls the maximum number of transactions that may remain in the queue before they must be sent.

Lowering this will reduce memory consumption, however it will increase the number of requests made to the APM Server.

APM Server Timeoutedit

In the event that the connection to the APM Server is slow or unstable, the serverTimeout setting can be set to ensure connections don’t stay open too long. If the server timeout is too high, it may result in too many socket descriptors being held open.

Stack Tracesedit

Stack traces can be a significant contributor to memory usage. There are several settings to adjust how they are used.

Span Stack Tracesedit

In a complex application, a request may produce many spans. Capturing a stack trace for every span can result in significant memory usage. To disable capturing stack traces for spans, set captureSpanStackTraces to false.

This will mainly impact memory usage, but may also have a noticeable impact on speed too. The cpu time required to capture and convert a stack frame to something JavaScript can understand is not insignificant.

Source Linesedit

If you want to keep span stack traces enabled for context, the next thing to try is adjusting how many source lines are reported for each stack trace. When a stack trace is captured, the agent will also capture several lines of source code around each stack frame location in the stack trace.

The are four different settings to control this behaviour:

Source line settings are divided into app frames representing your app code and library frames representing the code of your dependencies. App and library categories are both split into error and span groups. Spans, by default, do not capture source lines. Errors, by default, will capture five lines of code around each stack frame.

Source lines are cached in-process. In memory-constrained environments, the source line cache may use more memory than desired. Turning the limits down will help prevent excessive memory use.

Stack Frame Limitedit

The stackTraceLimit controls how many stack frames should be captured when producing an Error instance of any kind.

This will mainly impact memory usage, but may also have a noticeable impact on speed too. The cpu time required to capture and convert a stack frame to something JavaScript can understand is not insignificant.

Error Log Stack Tracesedit

Most stack traces recorded by the agent will point to where the error was instantiated, not where it was identified and reported to the agent with captureError. For this reason, the agent also has the captureErrorLogStackTraces setting to enable capturing an additional stack trace pointing to the place an error was reported to the agent. By default, it will only capture the stack trace to the reporting point when captureError is called with a string message.

Setting this to always will increase memory and bandwidth usage, so it helps to consider how frequently the app may capture errors.

Spansedit

The transactionMaxSpans setting limits the number of spans which may be recorded within a single transaction before remaining spans are dropped.

Spans may include many things such as a stack trace and context data. Limiting the number of spans that may be recorded will reduce memory usage.

Reducing max spans could result in loss of useful data about what occured within a request, if it is set too low.