Is Retrace Safe for Production Servers?
  • 11 Jun 2018
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Is Retrace Safe for Production Servers?

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Designed for Production Usage

Application performance monitoring products like Retrace are amazingly powerful for understanding the performance and behavior of your web applications. The downside is that code profiling solutions can slow down your applications due to their overhead. From day one we have designed Retrace to be very lightweight and safe for production servers.

Three key reasons why Retrace is designed for production usage:

  • Code profiling is minimized to key application framework methods
  • Implemented in highly optimized and benchmarked code.
  • Data processing is done in a separate process, outside of your application code

The last point above is particularly important. Some APM solutions collect, aggregate, and upload processed data all within the same process. That same process is your IIS worker process. This has the potential to cause erratic and major performance problems in your applications. Stackify avoids this by using a separate Windows service to process the profiler output to minimize performance impact to your application.

Impact on Real-World Applications

Our experience and industry research shows that the impact to most real-world applications is an increase in application CPU and response times of 1-10% (relative). This varies wildly based on the top of application, complexity of the application, and how many things are being profiled.

Key Metrics to Watch When Testing APM Profiler Overhead

When testing profiler overhead, there are a few metrics you want to track. One of the most important to not be overlooked is the throughput itself. With APM turned on, you could potentially see page load times not affected very much, but the actual number of requests being handled is lower. Here are the four most important metrics to measure:

  • Requests response times
  • Requests per second
  • Total requests during test (total throughput)
  • Application & server CPU usage


Retrace has minimal to no impact to most web applications, making it safe to run at all times on production servers. Naturally, your results may not exactly mirror our test results since all apps are different, but hopefully this in-depth look into what you can expect with Retrace enabled will give you confidence that you can trust Stackify to provide deep visibility into your application’s performance hot spots without contributing new ones!

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