CPU usage mismatch or usage over 100%


CPU percent usage data between New Relic APM and Servers seems contradictory, or your CPU usage exceeds 100%.


CPU usage data for APM is different than CPU usage data for Servers.

  • In APM, CPU percent usage measures aggregate usage of all instances of an application or service on a given server.
  • In Servers, CPU percent usage measures average usage of all CPUs on a given server.

For more information, see the examples and product-specific details below:

Example of CPU usage mismatch

This example illustrates a discrepancy between APM and Servers CPU percent usage:

This image compares two different CPU metrics in APM and servers.
APM > Monitoring > (selected app) and Servers > Servers: The CPU metrics in APM and Servers have different meanings.
New Relic APM

To view your app's CPU usage: From the New Relic menu bar, select APM > (selected app) > Monitoring > Overview. The number of instances is listed under each server name (for example, 55 instances).

APM CPU percent usage measures aggregate CPU usage of all instances of your app or service on a given server. This percentage is affected by the number of instances running across cores on the server. Multiple instances of a service running on one server or in a multi-core server environment can produce CPU usage percentages well above 100%.

APM calculates the percentage by aggregating CPU time and dividing by clock time:

CPU usage = (instance CPU time + instance CPU time + [...]) / (clock time)

Example: Upgrading to a quad core processor

If you upgrade from a dual processor to a quad processor under the same server architecture, you should see roughly the same CPU numbers for the same loads and applications. If New Relic normalized the calculation, the upgrade would appear to produce an abrupt decrease in your CPU usage, even if the number of cycles you are using would be the same. Adding more instances does not make your code more efficient.

New Relic Servers

To view your individual server CPU usage:

  1. From the New Relic menu bar, select Servers.
  2. Optional: To sort the servers list by highest or lowest CPU usage, select the CPU column heading.
  3. To drill down into detailed CPU usage information, select the individual server.

The exact calculation for CPU usage depends on your platform:

Platform Calculation details

Servers for Linux measures average CPU usage for all CPUs on a given server. Servers generates a normalized metric based on the average percentage of time each CPU is busy. This means adding cores to the server causes the CPU capacity to increase:

CPU usage = (CPU time + CPU time + [...]) / (clock time * number of CPUs)
Servers for Windows

Servers for Windows uses WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) to collect usage for all CPUs and their cores as a single metric. This metric is collected once every twenty seconds using the following query:

SELECT PercentPrivilegedTime,PercentUserTime,TimeStamp_Sys100NS FROM Win32_PerfRawData_PerfOS_Processor WHERE Name = '_Total'

Servers for Windows then calculates usage individually for PercentPrivilegedTime and PercentUserTime:

( (newCPUTime - oldCPUTime) / (newTimeStamp - oldTimeStamp) ) * 100

For more help

Additional documentation resources include:

Join the discussion about New Relic APM in the New Relic Online Technical Community! The Technical Community is a public platform to discuss and troubleshoot your New Relic toolset.

If you need additional help, get support at support.newrelic.com.