The YourKit (v7.0.5) profiler is interesting in terms of price (79€ single place license, 409€ + 1 year support and upgrades) and feature set. You do get a performance and memory profiler in one package for which you normally need also to pay extra from the other vendors. As an interesting side note the profiler UI is written in Java because they do also sell Java profilers with the same feature set. To get all methods of a VS startup you need first to configure it to include System* in the profiled methods and you need to configure * to measure wall clock time. By default it does record only CPU times which allows you to optimize CPU hungry operations. But you will never see a Thread.Sleep(10000) in the profiler blocking the UI in this mode.
It can profile as all others processes started from within the profiler but it can also profile the next or all started processes.
As usual it can profile in sampling and tracing mode. But since it is a memory profiler as well it does by default also record all object allocations > 1MB. With allocation recording enabled VS2012 did crash but without allocation recording there were no problems. The CPU tab contains the time line of the application and when you click in the graph you the call stacks of all threads at this time. This is really a nice feature. When you select a time region you the CPU Usage estimation for this time window.
I have seen many applications consuming 100% CPU only because they did create garbage like crazy. For this is the Garbage Collection tab interesting in conjunction with a time range.
This view is like the CPU table only that the CPU graph (green) is missing. All relevant information except for GCs/s is already visible in the CPU tab. Very handy to pinpoint excessive GC or CPU bound issues.
The Threads tab does show the thread names and their lifetime. This is useful to see thread interactions or which thread is hottest in terms of CPU consumption.
On the CPU tab the call tree does exist in a merged and thread specific view. When you click on a method you get below a list of all called methods. There you can sort for methods with a high own time which are worth optimizing.
In the Method List you can select which scope you want to see. Back Traces are the methods which did call you.
Callees ist the list of methods called directly or indirectly by your method as a flat list. This is not a call stack but still very useful to see which methods were slow so you can see the “root” cause quite quickly without the need to click trough long call stacks.
The last view Merged Calles is a call stacked view of the previous view. This does help a lot to understand did call each method at run time. You would get the same view with a debugger for one call invocation but here you get the full statistics (invocation count) as well.
Since YourKit is also a memory profiler you can directly see which objects you have on your managed heap and which objects do hold most of your precious memory. You can in in the Object Explorer view also examine the contents of your objects (strings or whatsoever) to get a better understanding which objects where potentially allocating this stuff.
YourKit is a very easy to use combined memory and performance profiler in one product. The unbeatable single license price makes it very attractive to straightly buy it. Although it is a Java UI it is very responsive and the memory consumption is considerably lower compared to dotTrace and ANTS profiler. What I do really like is to start the YourKit ui and then start the processes I want to profile as usual. There is no need to alter your own application code to be able to inject a profiler into your new started processes. For performance and memory profiling you can simply select the process you want to investigate from the list of started processes.
That's the way I like to use profilers. Just get out of the way and let the application run without any special preparations.
Next: Telerik JustTrace