Docs » Supported integrations in Splunk Observability Cloud » Instrument back-end applications to send spans to Splunk APM » Instrument .NET applications for Splunk Observability Cloud (OpenTelemetry) » Performance reference for Splunk Distribution of OpenTelemetry .NET

Performance reference for Splunk Distribution of OpenTelemetry .NET πŸ”—

The Splunk Distribution of OpenTelemetry .NET instruments your application by running inside the same .NET AppDomain. Like other software instrumentations, the .NET instrumentation requires system resources such as CPU, memory, and network bandwidth. The use of resources by the instrumentation is known as instrumentation overhead or performance overhead.

The Splunk Distribution of OpenTelemetry .NET instrumentation has minimal impact on system performance when instrumenting .NET applications, although the final instrumentation overhead depends on multiple factors. Some factors that might increase instrumentation overhead are environmental, such as the physical machine architecture, CPU frequency, amount and speed of memory, system temperature, and so on. Other factors include virtualization and containerization, the operating system and its libraries, the .NET version, the algorithmic design of the software, and software dependencies.

Due to the complexity of modern software and the broad diversity in deployment scenarios, it is impossible to come up with a single instrumentation overhead estimate. To find the overhead of any instrumentation in a given deployment, you have to conduct experiments and collect measurements directly. Therefore, all statements about performance must be treated as general information and guidelines that are subject to evaluation in a specific system.

The following sections describe the minimum requirements of the Splunk Distribution of OpenTelemetry .NET instrumentation, as well as potential constraints impacting performance, and guidelines to optimize and troubleshoot the performance of the instrumentation.

Minimum requirements for production deployments πŸ”—

The Splunk Distribution of OpenTelemetry .NET supports the following .NET versions:

  • Instrumentation for traces and metrics:

    • .NET 8.0 (End of Support: November 10, 2026)

    • .NET 6.0 (End of Support: November 12, 2024)

    • .NET Framework 4.7 and higher

    • .NET Framework 4.6.2 (End of Support: January 12, 2027)

  • AlwaysOn Profiling:

    • .NET 8.0 (End of Support: November 10, 2026)

    • .NET 6.0 (End of Support: November 12, 2024)


      .NET Framework is not supported for AlwaysOn Profiling.


.NET 7 reached End of Life on May 14, 2024. Best effort support is provided for the last version only, 7.0.19, which was tested using Splunk Distribution of OpenTelemetry .NET version 1.5.0.

The distribution supports the following architectures:

  • x86

  • AMD64 (x86-64)


ARM architectures are not supported.

Guidelines to reduce instrumentation overhead πŸ”—

The following best practices and techniques might help in reducing overhead caused by the .NET instrumentation.

Configure trace sampling πŸ”—

The volume of spans processed by the instrumentation might impact instrumentation overhead. You can configure trace sampling to adjust the span volume and reduce resource usage. See Samplers configuration for more information on sampling settings and their effect.

Turn off specific instrumentations πŸ”—

Consider turning off instrumentations that you don’t need or are producing too many spans to further reduce instrumentation overhead and span volume. To turn off an instrumentation, use OTEL_DOTNET_AUTO_TRACES_{name}_INSTRUMENTATION_ENABLED environment variable, where {name} is the name of the instrumentation.

For example, the following option turns off the SqlClient instrumentation:



Use Trace Analyzer in Splunk APM to explore the spans from your application and identify instrumentations you don’t need. See Explore your traces using Trace Analyzer in Splunk APM for more information.

Reduce manual instrumentation to a minimum πŸ”—

Manual instrumentation might introduce inefficiencies that increase instrumentation overhead. For example, starting an activity in every method results in a high span volume, which in turn increases noise in the data and consumes more system resources. Use manual instrumentation only where adequate or necessary.

Provision adequate resources πŸ”—

Make sure to provision enough resources for your instrumentation and for the Collector. The amount of resources such as memory or disk depend on your application architecture and needs. For example, a common setup is to run the instrumented application on the same host as the Splunk Distribution of OpenTelemetry Collector. In that case, consider rightsizing the resources for the Collector and optimize its settings. See Sizing and scaling.

Constraints impacting the performance of the .NET instrumentation πŸ”—

In general, the more telemetry you collect from your application, the bigger is the impact on instrumentation overhead. For example, tracing methods that aren’t relevant to your application can still produce considerable instrumentation overhead because tracing such methods is computationally more expensive than running the method itself. Similarly, high cardinality tags in metrics might increase memory usage. Debug logging also increases write operations to disk and memory usage.

Troubleshooting instrumentation overhead issues πŸ”—

When troubleshooting instrumentation overhead issues, do the following:

Consider taking the following actions to decrease instrumentation overhead:

  • If your application is approaching memory limits, consider giving it more memory.

  • If your application is using all the CPU, you might want to scale it horizontally.

  • Try turning off or tuning metrics. See Instrumentation settings.

  • Tune trace sampling settings to reduce span volume. See Samplers configuration.

  • Turn off specific instrumentations. See Turn off specific instrumentations.

  • Review manual instrumentation for unnecessary span generation.

Guidelines for measuring instrumentation overhead πŸ”—

Measuring instrumentation overhead in your own environment and deployments provides accurate data about the impact of instrumentation on the performance of your application or service. The following guidelines describe the general steps for collecting and comparing reliable instrumentation overhead measurements.

Decide what you want to measure πŸ”—

Different users of your application or service might notice different aspects of instrumentation overhead. For example, while end users might notice degradation in service latency, power users with heavy workloads pay more attention to CPU overhead. On the other hand, users who deploy frequently, for example due to elastic workloads, care more about startup time.

Reduce your measurements to factors that are sure to impact the user experience of your application, so as not to produce datasets that contain irrelevant information. Some examples of measurements include the following:

  • User average, user peak, and machine average CPU usage

  • Total memory allocated and maximum heap used

  • Garbage collection pause time

  • Startup time in milliseconds

  • Average and percentile 95 (p95) service latency

  • Network read and write average throughput

Prepare a suitable test environment πŸ”—

By measuring instrumentation overhead in a controlled test environment you can better control and identify the factors affecting performance. When preparing a test environment, complete the following:

  1. Make sure that the configuration of the test environment resembles production.

  2. Isolate the application under test from other services that might interfere.

  3. Turn off or remove all unnecessary system services on the application host.

  4. Ensure that the application has enough system resources to handle the test workload.

Create a battery of realistic tests πŸ”—

Design the tests that you run against the test environment to resemble typical workloads as much as possible. For example, if some REST API endpoints of your service are susceptible to high request volumes, create a test that simulates heavy network traffic.

For .NET applications, use a warm-up phase prior to starting measurements. The .NET is a highly dynamic machine that performs a large number of optimizations through just-in-time compilation (JIT). The warm-up phase helps the application to finish most of its class loading and gives the JIT compiler time to run the majority of optimizations.

Make sure to run a large number of requests and to repeat the test pass many times. This repetition helps to ensure a representative data sample. Include error scenarios in your test data. Simulate an error rate similar to that of a normal workload, typically between 2% to 10%.

Collect comparable measurements πŸ”—

To identify which factors might be affecting performance and causing instrumentation overhead, collect measurements in the same environment after modifying a single factor or condition.

For example, you can take 2 different sets of measurements where the only difference is the presence and settings of the instrumentation:

  • Condition A: No instrumentation or baseline

  • Condition B: With instrumentation

Analyze the instrumentation overhead data πŸ”—

After collecting data from multiple passes, you can compare averages using simple statistical tests to check for significant differences, or plot results in a chart.

Consider that different stacks, applications, and environments might result in different operational characteristics and different instrumentation overhead measurement results.

How to get support πŸ”—

If you are a Splunk Observability Cloud customer and are not able to see your data in Splunk Observability Cloud, you can get help in the following ways.

Available to Splunk Observability Cloud customers

Available to prospective customers and free trial users

  • Ask a question and get answers through community support at Splunk Answers .

  • Join the Splunk #observability user group Slack channel to communicate with customers, partners, and Splunk employees worldwide. To join, see Chat groups in the Get Started with Splunk Community manual.

To learn about even more support options, see Splunk Customer Success .

This page was last updated on May 15, 2024.