Measure app performance

This document shows you how to set up and use Cloud Profiler. You download a sample Go program, run it with profiling enabled, and then use the Profiler interface to explore the captured data.

Before you begin

  1. Sign in to your Google Cloud account. If you're new to Google Cloud, create an account to evaluate how our products perform in real-world scenarios. New customers also get $300 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads.
  2. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  3. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  4. In the Google Cloud console, select APIs & Services, click Enable APIs and Services, and then enable the Cloud Profiler API, or click the following button:

    Go to Cloud Profiler API settings

  5. If API enabled is displayed, then the API is already enabled. If not, click the Enable button.

  6. To open the Cloud Shell, in the Google Cloud console toolbar, click Activate Cloud Shell:

    Activate Cloud Shell.

    After a few moments, a Cloud Shell session opens inside the Google Cloud console:

    Cloud Shell session.

Get a program to profile

The sample program, main.go, is in the golang-samples repository on GitHub. To get it, retrieve the package of Go samples:

git clone

The package retrieval takes a few moments to complete.

Profile the code

Go to the directory of sample code for Profiler in the retrieved package:

cd golang-samples/profiler/profiler_quickstart

The main.go program creates a CPU-intensive workload to provide data to the profiler. Start the program and leave it running:

 go run main.go

This program is designed to load the CPU as it runs. It is configured to use Profiler, which collects profiling data from the program as it runs and periodically saves it.

A few seconds after you start the program, you see the message profiler has started. In about a minute, two more messages are displayed:

 successfully created profile CPU
 start uploading profile

These messages indicate that a profile was created and uploaded to your Cloud Storage project. The program continues to emit the last two messages, about one time per minute, for as long as it runs.

If you receive a permission denied error message after starting the service, see Errors with your Google Cloud project configuration.

Profiler interface

A few moments after you start the application, Profiler displays the initial profile data. The interface offers an array of controls and a flame graph for exploring the profiling data:

Profiler interface with the sample code.

In addition to time controls, there are options that let you choose the set of profile data to use. When you are profiling multiple applications, you use Service to select the origin of the profiled data. Profile type lets you choose the kind of profile data to display. Zone name and Version let you restrict display to data from Compute Engine zones or versions of the application. Weight lets you select profiles captured during peak resource consumption.

To refine how the flame graph displays the profiles you've selected to analyze, you add filters. In the previous screenshot, the filter bar shows one filter. This filter option is Metric and the filter value is CPU time.

Exploring the data

The flame graph displays the call stacks of the program. The flame graph represents each function with a frame. The width of the frame represents the proportion of resource consumption by that function. The top frame represents the entire program. This frame always shows 100% of the resource consumption. This frame also lists how many profiles are averaged together in this graph.

The sample program doesn't have a complicated set of call stacks; in the preceding screenshot, you see 5 frames:

  • The gray frame represents the entire executable, which accounts for 100% of the resources being consumed.
  • The green main frame is the Go runtime.main.
  • The orange main frame is the main routine of the sample program.
  • The orange busyloop frame is a routine called from the sample's main.
  • The orange main.load frame is a routine called from the sample's main.

The filter selector lets you do things like filter out functions that match some name. For example, if there is a standard library of utility functions, you can remove them from the graph. You can also remove call stacks originating at a certain method or simplify the graph in other ways. The main.go application is simple, so there isn't much to filter out.

Even for a simple application, filters let you hide uninteresting frames so that you can more clearly view interesting frames. For example, in the profiling screenshot for the sample code, the gray frame is slightly larger than the first main frame under it. Why? Is there something else going on that's not immediately apparent because the main call stack consumes such an overwhelming percentage of the resources? To view what is occurring outside of the application's main routine, add a filter that hides the call stack of the main routine. Only 0.227% of the resource consumption occurs outside of main:

Hiding stacks in the sample program.

For more information on filtering and other ways to explore the profiling data, see Select the profiles to analyze.

What's next

For general information about profiling, see the following documents:

For information on running the Cloud Profiler agent, see: