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This is documentation for the next version of Pyroscope. For the latest stable release, go to the latest version.

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Profiling Java using Grafana Alloy or Agent

Grafana Alloy and Grafana Agent in Flow mode support Java profiling.

Written in the River language, the configuration file is composed of components that are used to collect, transform, and send data.

Caution

Grafana Alloy is the new name for our distribution of the OTel collector. Grafana Agent has been deprecated and is in Long-Term Support (LTS) through October 31, 2025. Grafana Agent will reach an End-of-Life (EOL) on November 1, 2025. Read more about why we recommend migrating to Grafana Alloy.

Configure the components

The pyroscope.java component is used to continuously profile Java processes running on the local Linux OS using async-profiler.

river
pyroscope.java "java" {
  profiling_config {
    interval = "15s"
    alloc = "512k"
    cpu = true
    lock = "10ms"
    sample_rate = 100
  }
  forward_to = [pyroscope.write.endpoint.receiver]
  targets = discovery.relabel.java.output
}

Using the targets argument, you can specify which processes and containers to profile on the machine. The targets can be from discovery.process component. You can use discovery.process join argument to join process targets with extra discoveries such as dicovery.kubernetes, discovery.docker and discovery.dockerswarm. You can use the discovery.relabel component to relabel discovered targets and set your own labels . For more information, see Components.

The forward_to parameter should point to a pyroscope.write component to send the collected profiles to your Pyroscope Server or Grafana Cloud.

NameTypeDescriptionDefaultRequired
targetslist(map(string))List of java process targets to profile.yes
forward_tolist(ProfilesReceiver)List of receivers to send collected profiles to.yes
tmp_dirstringTemporary directory to store async-profiler./tmpno

The special label __process_pid__ must always be present in each target of targets and corresponds to the PID of the process to profile.

The special label service_name is required and must always be present. If service_name is not specified, pyroscope.java attempts to infer it from discovery meta labels. If service_name is not specified and could not be inferred, then it is set to unspecified.

The profiling_config block describes how async-profiler is invoked.

The following arguments are supported:

NameTypeDescriptionDefaultRequired
intervaldurationHow frequently to collect profiles from the targets.“60s”no
cpuboolA flag to enable cpu profiling, using itimer async-profiler event.trueno
sample_rateintCPU profiling sample rate. It is converted from Hz to interval and passed as -i arg to async-profiler.100no
allocstringAllocation profiling sampling configuration It is passed as --alloc arg to async-profiler.“512k”no
lockstringLock profiling sampling configuration. It is passed as --lock arg to async-profiler.“10ms”no

For more information on async-profiler configuration, see profiler-options.

Set privileges for the collector

You must run the collector, either Grafana Alloy (recommended) or Agent (legacy), as root and inside host pid namespace for the pyroscope.java and discover.process components to work.

Start the collector

To start Grafana Alloy, replace configuration.alloy with your configuration file name:

alloy run --stability.level=public-preview configuration.alloy

The stability.level option is required for pyroscope.scrape. For more information about stability.level, refer to The run command documentation.

To start Grafana Agent, replace configuration.river with your configuration file name: grafana-agent-flow run configuration.river

Send data to Grafana Cloud Profiles

When sending to Grafana Cloud Profiles, you can use the following pyroscope.write component configuration which uses environment variables.

Ensure that you have appropriately configured the GC_URL, GC_USER, and GC_PASSWORD environment variables.

river
pyroscope.write "endpoint" {
    endpoint {
        basic_auth {
            password = env("GC_PASSWORD")
            username = env("GC_USER")
        }
        url = env("GC_URL")
    }
}

Examples

Profiling local process

river
discovery.process "all" {
}

discovery.relabel "java" {
    targets = discovery.process.all.targets
    // Filter only java processes
    rule {
        source_labels = ["__meta_process_exe"]
        action = "keep"
        regex = ".*/java$"
    }
    // Filter processes. For example: only processes with command line containing "FastSlow"
    rule {
        source_labels = ["__meta_process_commandline"]
        regex = "java FastSlow"
        action = "keep"
    }
    // Provide a service name for the process, otherwise it will be unspecified.
    rule {
        action = "replace"
        target_label = "service_name"
        replacement = "java-fast-slow"
    }
}

pyroscope.java "java" {
  forward_to = [pyroscope.write.example.receiver]
  targets = discovery.relabel.java.output
}

pyroscope.write "example" {
  endpoint {
    url = "http://pyroscope:4040"
  }
}

Profiling docker containers

river
discovery.docker "local_containers" {
  host = "unix:///var/run/docker.sock"
}

discovery.process "all" {
  join = discovery.docker.local_containers.targets
}

discovery.relabel "java" {
    targets = discovery.process.all.targets
    // Filter only java processes
    rule {
        source_labels = ["__meta_process_exe"]
        action = "keep"
        regex = ".*/java$"
    }
    // Filter only needed containers
    rule {
        source_labels = ["__meta_docker_container_name"]
        regex = ".*suspicious_pascal"
        action = "keep"
    }
    // Provide a service name for the process, otherwise it will default to the value of __meta_docker_container_name label.
    rule {
        action = "replace"
        target_label = "service_name"
        replacement = "java-fast-slow"
    }
}

pyroscope.java "java" {
  forward_to = [pyroscope.write.example.receiver]
  targets = discovery.relabel.java.output
}

pyroscope.write "example" {
  endpoint {
    url = "http://pyroscope:4040"
  }
}

Profiling Kubernetes pods

river

discovery.kubernetes "local_pods" {
  selectors {
    field = "spec.nodeName=" + env("HOSTNAME")
    role = "pod"
  }
  role = "pod"
}

discovery.process "all" {
  join = discovery.kubernetes.local_pods.targets
}

discovery.relabel "java_pods" {
  targets = discovery.process.all.targets
  // Filter only java processes
  rule {
    source_labels = ["__meta_process_exe"]
    action = "keep"
    regex = ".*/java$"
  }
  rule {
    action = "drop"
    regex = "Succeeded|Failed|Completed"
    source_labels = ["__meta_kubernetes_pod_phase"]
  }
  rule {
    action = "replace"
    source_labels = ["__meta_kubernetes_namespace"]
    target_label = "namespace"
  }
  rule {
    action = "replace"
    source_labels = ["__meta_kubernetes_pod_name"]
    target_label = "pod"
  }
  rule {
    action = "replace"
    source_labels = ["__meta_kubernetes_pod_node_name"]
    target_label = "node"
  }
  rule {
    action = "replace"
    source_labels = ["__meta_kubernetes_pod_container_name"]
    target_label = "container"
  }
  // Provide arbitrary service_name label, otherwise it will be inferred from discovery labels automatically
  rule {
    action = "replace"
    regex = "(.*)@(.*)"
    replacement = "java/${1}/${2}"
    separator = "@"
    source_labels = ["__meta_kubernetes_namespace", "__meta_kubernetes_pod_container_name"]
    target_label = "service_name"
  }
  // Filter only needed services
  rule {
    action = "keep"
    regex = "(java/ns1/.*)|(java/ns2/container-.*0)"
    source_labels = ["service_name"]
  }
}

pyroscope.java "java" {
  forward_to = [pyroscope.write.example.receiver]
  targets = discovery.relabel.java.output
}

pyroscope.write "example" {
  endpoint {
    url = "http://pyroscope:4040"
  }
}

References

For more information:

Grafana Alloy

Grafana Agent