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Python: Blog Post

Tracing Celery Performance for Web Applications

A few useful ways to get insight into Celery performance when running tasks.

Are you using Celery to process Python back-end tasks asynchronously?  Have you wanted to get insight into their resource consumption and efficiency?  Here’s a few useful ways to get insight into Celery performance when running tasks.

A simple celery task
For a quick review, Celery lets you turn any python method into an asynchronous task.  Here’s a simple one:

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from celery.task import task
@task
def add(x, y):
return x + y

Let’s trace Celery
We’ll start with the good stuff. In the latest release of our Python instrumentation, oboeware-1.0, we have an updated API that makes it super-easy to gather performance data from any Python code, including Celery tasks. Here’s how we’d add tracing to our example task:

Celery-Oboe

The key part is the @oboe.Context.trace decorator.  Note that we’re assigning to the keys Controller and Action.  This will be used by Tracelytics to segment the data.  You can also optionally use the keys HTTP-Host and URL to indicate domain and URL to Tracelytics.  Here’s what the data we’re gathering looks like in the dashboard (I added a few sqlalchemy queries to spice up the data):

celery performance in tracelytics

The code at the top is configuration tunables: set the sample rate to a fractional value to trace only a fraction of your Celery tasks.

Event-based workers
You might be using event-based workers to save a few bytes of ram.  Tracelytics also supports eventlet-based workers.  However, you’ll need to install our Tracelytics-enabled greenlet module using pip or easy install:

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$ pip install --extra-index-url=http://pypi.tracelytics.com greenlet-0.3.4-tly1.0

Slightly more interesting
Of course, you’re probably interested in more complex celery tasks than that.  The good news is, all of our normal instrumentation works with your celery workers.  Here’s a screenshot of one of our internal Celery workers in action:

tracing complex celery tasks

Other resources
Looking for different tools?  Good news–there’s a pretty healthy Celery ecosystem.  Here’s a few useful packages and I’m sure there’s tons I’m forgetting–leave comments for anything else you find helpful with Celery!

celery performance

  • If you want to keep track of worker status, you might be interested in celerymon, a monitor for celery tasks.  It keeps tabs of task execution and workers.
  • Trying to track down a memory leak?  Consider running dowser inside your celery worker.

Photo Credit: dottiemae

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Dan Kuebrich is a web performance geek, currently working on Application Performance Management at AppNeta. He was previously a founder of Tracelytics (acquired by AppNeta), and before that worked on AmieStreet/Songza.com.

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