Profile live Azure containers with Application Insights

You can enable the Application Insights Profiler for ASP.NET Core application running in your container almost without code. To enable the Application Insights Profiler on your container instance, you need to:

  • Add the reference to the Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.Profiler.AspNetCore NuGet package.
  • Update the code to enable the Profiler.
  • Set up the Application Insights instrumentation key.

In this article, you learn about the various ways that you can:

  • Install the NuGet package in the project.
  • Set the environment variable via the orchestrator (like Kubernetes).
  • Learn security considerations around production deployment, like protecting your Application Insights instrumentation key.


Set up the environment

  1. Clone and use the following sample project:

    git clone
  2. Go to the Container App example:

    cd examples/EnableServiceProfilerForContainerAppNet6
  3. This example is a barebones project created by calling the following CLI command:

    dotnet new mvc -n EnableServiceProfilerForContainerApp

    We've added delay in the Controllers/WeatherForecastController.cs project to simulate the bottleneck.

    [HttpGet(Name = "GetWeatherForecast")]
    public IEnumerable<WeatherForecast> Get()
        // Other existing code.
    private void SimulateDelay()
        // Delay for 500ms to 2s to simulate a bottleneck.
        Thread.Sleep((new Random()).Next(500, 2000));
  4. Add the NuGet package to collect the Profiler traces:

    dotnet add package Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.Profiler.AspNetCore
  5. Enable Application Insights and Profiler.

    Add builder.Services.AddApplicationInsightsTelemetry() and builder.Services.AddServiceProfiler() after the WebApplication.CreateBuilder() method in Program.cs:

    var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);
    builder.Services.AddApplicationInsightsTelemetry(); // Add this line of code to enable Application Insights.
    builder.Services.AddServiceProfiler(); // Add this line of code to enable Profiler
    var app = builder.Build();

Pull the latest ASP.NET Core build/runtime images

  1. Go to the .NET Core 6.0 example directory:

    cd examples/EnableServiceProfilerForContainerAppNet6
  2. Pull the latest ASP.NET Core images:

    docker pull
    docker pull


Find the official images for the Docker SDK and runtime.

Add your Application Insights key

  1. Via your Application Insights resource in the Azure portal, take note of your Application Insights instrumentation key.

    Screenshot that shows finding the instrumentation key in the Azure portal.

  2. Open appsettings.json and add your Application Insights instrumentation key to this code section:

            "InstrumentationKey": "Your instrumentation key"

Build and run the Docker image

  1. Review the Docker file.

  2. Build the example image:

    docker build -t profilerapp .
  3. Run the container:

    docker run -d -p 8080:80 --name testapp profilerapp

View the container via your browser

To hit the endpoint, you have two options:

  • Visit http://localhost:8080/weatherforecast in your browser.

  • Use curl:

    curl http://localhost:8080/weatherforecast

Inspect the logs

Optionally, inspect the local log to see if a session of profiling finished:

docker logs testapp

In the local logs, note the following events:

Starting application insights profiler with instrumentation key: your-instrumentation key # Double check the instrumentation key
Service Profiler session started.               # Profiler started.
Finished calling trace uploader. Exit code: 0   # Uploader is called with exit code 0.
Service Profiler session finished.              # A profiling session is completed.

View the Service Profiler traces

  1. Wait for 2 to 5 minutes so that the events can be aggregated to Application Insights.

  2. Open the Performance pane in your Application Insights resource.

  3. After the trace process is finished, the Profiler Traces button appears.

    Screenshot that shows the Profiler traces button in the Performance pane.

Clean up resources

Run the following command to stop the example project:

docker rm -f testapp

Next steps