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Go Pull Mode

Modern observability systems generally fall into two categories: those where services push data, and those where the observability system pulls data from services. We find that both approaches are suitable: they both have advantages and disadvantages, and one of them can be more desirable than another under certain circumstances.

Pyroscope server can operate in both Pull and Push modes. The current implementation makes extensive use of Prometheus scrape and service discovery mechanisms. We express our deep gratitude to Prometheus team for their incredible work!


If you want to use mutex or block profiling you have to explicitly enable it in your application. See Mutex Profiling section for more information.


Before golang 1.19 version, goroutine profile will lead to a long time STW proportional to the number of goroutines, see here for more details.

Supported languages and platforms#

Any application that exposes data in pprof format via HTTP can be set as a remote profiling target.

Scrape configuration#

Pyroscope uses exactly the same mechanisms as Prometheus does in order to ensure smooth user experience. Therefore, it is configured in almost identical way, and Prometheus documentation can be used as a reference.

You will need to add the following content to your pyroscope/server.yml Pyroscope config file. See the Server config documentation for more information on where this config is located by default on your system.

---# A list of scrape configurations.scrape-configs:  # The job name assigned to scraped profiles by default.  - job-name: pyroscope
    # How frequently to scrape targets by default.    scrape-interval: 10s
    # The list of profiles to be scraped from the targets.    enabled-profiles: [cpu, mem, goroutines, mutex, block]
    # List of labeled statically configured targets for this job.    static-configs:      - application: my-application-name        spy-name: gospy        targets:          - hostname:6060        labels:          env: dev
  • application is the name of the application being profiled. Mandatory field.
  • targets lists application instances. It is important to avoid mixing profiles of different applications.

Scrape interval#

By default, a target is scraped on 10 seconds interval which is specified with scrape-interval parameter. That is, with the default configuration a 10 seconds profile is collected every 10 seconds. Both interval and duration parameters can be modified to allow sampling strategies, where only a subset of targets is being profiled at a given time and only a subset of profiling data is being collected.

For example, configuring scrape-interval to 60 seconds with the default 10 second profiling duration effectively means that only 1/6 of the data is collected, because only 1/6 of the targets is being scraped, which in turn:

  • Reduces the overall profiling overhead
  • Decreases resource usage of the Pyroscope server
---scrape-configs:  - job-name: pyroscope    scrape-interval: 60s    enabled-profiles: [cpu, mem, goroutines, mutex, block]    static-configs:      - application: my-application-name        spy-name: gospy        targets:          - hostname:6060        labels:          env: dev

There are two types of profiles in Go:

  • Profiles that accumulate samples during a profiling session: cpu, mutex, and block.
  • Instant profiles that represent the current state: goroutines and mem โ€“ Pyroscope stores the delta of two consecutive "snapshots".

For profiles of the first type, you can override the duration of the profiling session, which allows you to use even more flexible scenarios. However, setting the profiling duration shorter than the scrape interval degrades the accuracy of the resulting profiles and may significantly complicate their analysis.

For profiles of the second type, profiling duration is always equal to scrape-interval.

The example configuration below instructs Pyroscope to collected cpu, block, and mutex profiles for 30 seconds every minute, goroutine and memory profiles are collected every minute as well but include all the stack trace samples emerged within this time window.


If you change profile duration, you also need to increase scrape-timeout accordingly. scrape-timeout defaults to 15 seconds.

---scrape-configs:  - job-name: pyroscope    scrape-interval: 60s    scrape-timeout: 60s    enabled-profiles: [cpu, mem, goroutines, mutex, block]    use-delta-profiles: true    profiles:      cpu:        params:          seconds: [ "30" ]      block:        params:          seconds: [ "30" ]      mutex:        params:          seconds: [ "30" ]    static-configs:      - application: my-application-name        spy-name: gospy        targets:          - hostname:6060        labels:          env: dev

Because of the storage engine specifics, we advise you to set intervals (both profiling duration and scrape interval) to a multiple of 10 seconds. This allows you to reduce the use of resources by the pyroscope server.

Service Discovery#

Pyroscope creates pull targets based on the discovered labels. At least __name__ and __address__ labels must be present, where __name__ is the name of the application being profiled.

Optional labels:

  • __scheme__: If the metrics endpoint is secured then you will need to set this to https.
  • __port__: Scrape the target on the indicated port.
  • __profile_{profile_name}_enabled: Indicates whether a particular profile should be scraped.
  • __profile_{profile_name}_path: Specifies URL path exposing pprof profile.
  • __profile_{profile_name}_param_{param_key}: Overrides scrape URL parameters.

Where {profile_name} must be a valid profile configuration name.

At this point, Pyroscope fully supports only Kubernetes Service Discovery.

Mutex Profiling#


Mutex profiling requires pyroscope v0.20.0 or higher.

Mutex profiling is useful for finding sources of contention within your application. It helps you to find out which mutexes are being held by which goroutines.

To enable mutex profiling, you need to add the following code to your application:


rate parameter controls the fraction of mutex contention events that are reported in the mutex profile. On average 1/rate events are reported.

Block Profiling#


Block profiling requires pyroscope v0.20.0 or higher.

Block profiling lets you analyze how much time your program spends waiting on the blocking operations such as:

  • select
  • channel send/receive
  • semacquire
  • notifyListWait

To enable block profiling, you need to add the following code to your application:


rate parameter controls the fraction of goroutine blocking events that are reported in the blocking profile. The profiler aims to sample an average of one blocking event per rate nanoseconds spent blocked.


godeltaprof is a memory profiler for cumulative profiles(heap, block, mutex). It is more efficient because it does the delta/merging before producing pprof data, avoiding extra decompression/parsing/allocations/compression.

To start using godeltaprof in pull mode in a Go application, you need to include godeltaprof module in your app:

go get

Integration is very simillar to net/http/pprof, you need to import a new package and it will expose new endpoints /debug/pprof/delta_heap, /debug/pprof/delta_block, /debug/pprof/delta_mutex

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In the scrape config you need to enable new delta endpoints with use-delta-endpoints: true, for example:

scrape-configs:  - job-name: pyroscope1    enabled-profiles: [cpu, mem, block, mutex]    use-delta-profiles: true


Static targets#

You can find an example of how Pyroscope scrapes static targets in the pyroscope repository.

Kubernetes service discovery#

You can see how Pyroscope discovers remote targets in Kubernetes using the example setup in the pyroscope repository.

Here is an example of how to configure Pyroscope to scrape targets from Kubernetes pods:

---pyroscopeConfigs:  log-level: debug  scrape-configs:  - job-name: 'kubernetes-pods'    enabled-profiles: [ cpu, mem ]    kubernetes-sd-configs:      - role: pod    relabel-configs:      - source-labels: [__meta_kubernetes_pod_annotation_pyroscope_io_scrape]        action: keep        regex: true      - source-labels:          [__meta_kubernetes_pod_annotation_pyroscope_io_application_name]        action: replace        target-label: __name__      - source-labels: [__meta_kubernetes_pod_annotation_pyroscope_io_scheme]        action: replace        regex: (https?)        target-label: __scheme__      - source-labels:          [__address__, __meta_kubernetes_pod_annotation_pyroscope_io_port]        action: replace        regex: ([^:]+)(?::\d+)?;(\d+)        replacement: $1:$2        target-label: __address__      - action: labelmap        regex: __meta_kubernetes_pod_label_(.+)      - source-labels: [__meta_kubernetes_namespace]        action: replace        target-label: kubernetes_namespace      - source-labels: [__meta_kubernetes_pod_name]        action: replace        target-label: kubernetes_pod_name      - source-labels: [__meta_kubernetes_pod_phase]        regex: Pending|Succeeded|Failed|Completed        action: drop      - action: labelmap        regex: __meta_kubernetes_pod_annotation_pyroscope_io_profile_(.+)        replacement: __profile_$1

Kubernetes Service Discovery requires RBAC set up. Please refer to Pyroscope helm chart for details.

File service discovery#

You can configure Pyroscope server to scrape targets defined in files that can be updated dynamically without restarting the server. You can find an example configuration in the pyroscope repository.

Consul service discovery#

Consul service discovery allow retrieving scrape targets from Consul's Catalog API. You can find an example configuration in the pyroscope repository.