Instrumenting Ruby Code

GitLab Performance Monitoring allows instrumenting of both methods and custom blocks of Ruby code. Method instrumentation is the primary form of instrumentation with block-based instrumentation only being used when we want to drill down to specific regions of code within a method.

Instrumenting Methods

Instrumenting methods is done by using the Gitlab::Metrics::Instrumentation module. This module offers a few different methods that can be used to instrument code:

  • instrument_method: instruments a single class method.
  • instrument_instance_method: instruments a single instance method.
  • instrument_class_hierarchy: given a Class this method will recursively instrument all sub-classes (both class and instance methods).
  • instrument_methods: instruments all public and private class methods of a Module.
  • instrument_instance_methods: instruments all public and private instance methods of a Module.

To remove the need for typing the full Gitlab::Metrics::Instrumentation namespace you can use the configure class method. This method simply yields the supplied block while passing Gitlab::Metrics::Instrumentation as its argument. An example:

Gitlab::Metrics::Instrumentation.configure do |conf|
  conf.instrument_method(Foo, :bar)
  conf.instrument_method(Foo, :baz)

Using this method is in general preferred over directly calling the various instrumentation methods.

Method instrumentation should be added in the initializer config/initializers/metrics.rb.


Instrumenting a single method:

Gitlab::Metrics::Instrumentation.configure do |conf|
  conf.instrument_method(User, :find_by)

Instrumenting an entire class hierarchy:

Gitlab::Metrics::Instrumentation.configure do |conf|

Instrumenting all public class methods:

Gitlab::Metrics::Instrumentation.configure do |conf|

Checking Instrumented Methods

The easiest way to check if a method has been instrumented is to check its source location. For example:

method = Rugged::TagCollection.instance_method(:[])


If the source location points to lib/gitlab/metrics/instrumentation.rb you know the method has been instrumented.

If you're using Pry you can use the $ command to display the source code of a method (along with its source location), this is easier than running the above Ruby code. In case of the above snippet you'd run the following:

$ Rugged::TagCollection#[]

This will print out something along the lines of:

From: /path/to/your/gitlab/lib/gitlab/metrics/instrumentation.rb @ line 148:
Owner: #<Module:0x0055f0865c6d50>
Visibility: public
Number of lines: 21

def #{name}(#{args_signature})
  if trans = Gitlab::Metrics::Instrumentation.transaction
    trans.measure_method(#{label.inspect}) { super }

Instrumenting Ruby Blocks

Measuring blocks of Ruby code is done by calling Gitlab::Metrics.measure and passing it a block. For example:

Gitlab::Metrics.measure(:foo) do

The block is executed and the execution time is stored as a set of fields in the currently running transaction. If no transaction is present the block is yielded without measuring anything.

3 values are measured for a block:

  1. The real time elapsed, stored in NAME_real_time.
  2. The CPU time elapsed, stored in NAME_cpu_time.
  3. The call count, stored in NAME_call_count.

Both the real and CPU timings are measured in milliseconds.

Multiple calls to the same block will result in the final values being the sum of all individual values. Take this code for example:

3.times do
  Gitlab::Metrics.measure(:sleep) do
    sleep 1

Here the final value of sleep_real_time will be 3, not 1.