Multimeter User Guide
Phabricator User Documentation (Application User Guides)

Using Multimeter, a sampling profiler.


IMPORTANT: This document describes a prototype application.

Multimeter is a sampling profiler that can give you coarse information about Phabricator resource usage. In particular, it can help quickly identify sources of load, like bots or scripts which are making a very large number of requests.

Configuring and Using Multimeter

To access Multimeter, go to ApplicationsMultimeter.

By default, Multimeter samples 0.1% of pages. This should be a reasonable rate for most installs, but you can increase or decrease the rate by adjusting debug.sample-rate. Increasing the rate (by setting the value to a lower number, like 100, to sample 1% of pages) will increase the granularity of the data, at a small performance cost.

Using Multimeter

Multimeter shows you what Phabricator has spent time doing recently. By looking at the samples it collects, you can identify major sources of load or resource use, whether they are specific users, pages, subprocesses, or other types of activity.

By identifying and understanding unexpected load, you can adjust usage patterns or configuration to make better use of resources (for example, rewrite bots that are making too many calls), or report specific, actionable issues to the upstream for resolution.

The main screen of Multimeter shows you everything Phabricator has spent resources on recently, broken down by action type. Categories are folded up by default, with "(All)" labels.

To filter by a dimension, click the link for it. For example, from the main page, you can click "Web Request" to filter by only web requests. To expand a grouped dimension, click the "(All)" link.

For example, suppose we suspect that someone is running a bot that is making a lot of requests and consuming a lot of resources. We can get a better idea about this by filtering the results like this:

  • Click Web Request. This will show only web requests.
  • Click (All) under "Viewer". This will expand events by viewer.

Recent resource costs for web requests are now shown, grouped and sorted by user. The usernames in the "Viewer" column show who is using resources, in order from greatest use to least use (only administrators can see usernames).

The "Avg" column shows the average cost per event, while the "Cost" column shows the total cost.

If the top few users account for similar costs and are normal, active users, there may be nothing amiss and your problem might lie elsewhere. If a user like slowbot is in the top few users and has way higher usage than anyone else, there might be a script running under that account consuming a disproportionate amount of resources.

Assuming you find a user with unusual usage, you could dig into their usage like this:

  • Click their name (like slowbot) to filter to just their requests.
  • Click (All) under "Label". This expands by request detail.

This will show exactly what they spent those resources doing, and can help identify if they're making a lot of API calls or scraping the site or whatever else.

This is just an example of a specific kind of problem that Multimeter could help resolve. In general, exploring Multimeter data by filtering and expanding resource uses can help you understand how resources are used and identify unexpected uses of resources. For example:

  • Identify a problem with load balancing by filtering on Web Request and expanding on Host. If hosts aren't roughly even, DNS or a load balancer are misconfigured.
  • Identify which pages cost the most by filtering on Web Request and expanding on Label.
  • Find outlier pages by filtering on Web Request and expanding on ID.
  • Find where subprocess are invoked from by filtering on Subprocesses, then expanding on Context.

Next Steps

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