Importance of trace enabled=”false”

I was reading through some posts on ASP.NET best practices, and a lot is mentioned about <compilation debug=”false” /> on production machines. One thing that seems to be glossed over is <trace enabled=”false” />. Obviously, tracing is a security concern, but does it hurt your application in other ways?

The biggest area I thought tracing could effect an application was memory, so I wanted to see the memory differences of having trace enabled, vs having it disabled.

Test #1 – Trace enabled

<trace requestLimit="5000" enabled="true" mostRecent="false"/>

I loaded up an instance of one of our ASP.NET applications on my machine, and ran a script that generated random hits on a few of the pages.

After about ~4500 requests, here is what perfmon read.

Test #2 – No Tracing

<trace requestLimit="5000" enabled="false" mostRecent="false"/>

Ran the script again, and saw some pretty interesting results.


The Word

At first, the results look the same, but look closer. With tracing enabled the # of Bytes in all Heaps is 710MB, vs 72MB without tracing. That’s a 10x difference! The Gen 2 heap is where most of the difference lies, which is a whopping 692MB vs 65MB. This heap should only contain very long lived objects. Having a growing Gen 2 heap is also going to indicate the need for IIS to recycle soon, since memory obviously isn’t getting deallocated.

If you are running with <deployment retail=”true”/>, then you don’t have to worry about this on production machines. Still, it is important to know the effects that tracing can have on you live environment.

If this graph isn’t making a lot of sense, check out this article on debugging memory problems.

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