How Grafana Tempo simplifies distributed tracing

Of the 3 pillars of observability, traces have historically lagged at the rear of logs and metrics in usage. We’re hoping to adjust that with Grafana Tempo, an quick-to-work, high-scale, and price tag-efficient dispersed tracing back conclusion.

Tempo makes it possible for customers to scale tracing as considerably as doable with much less operational price tag and complexity than ever right before. Tempo’s only dependency is object storage, and it supports research solely by using trace ID. Contrary to other tracing back finishes, Tempo can hit huge scale with no a challenging-to-manage Elasticsearch or Cassandra cluster.

We released this open up supply project in Oct 2020, and just 7 months afterwards, we’re psyched to announce that Tempo has arrived at GA with v1..

In the previous months we have principally been centered on balance, horizontally sharding the query path, and overall performance improvements to improve scale. We have also notably extra compression to the back-conclusion traces and publish-forward log, which lessens local disk I/O and full storage necessary to handle your traces.

In this article, we’ll wander through an overview of dispersed tracing, and what Tempo brings to the desk.

Why dispersed tracing?

While metrics and logs can do the job collectively to pinpoint a difficulty, they the two absence important things. Metrics are excellent for aggregations but absence fantastic-grained information. Logs are excellent at revealing what took place sequentially in an software, or probably even across programs, but they do not present how a single ask for quite possibly behaves inside of a support. Logs will notify us why a support is owning challenges, but probably not why a supplied ask for is owning challenges.

This is in which tracing comes in. Dispersed tracing is a way to observe and log a single ask for as it crosses through all of the expert services in your infrastructure.

grafana tempo 01 Grafana Labs

The display screen image previously mentioned reveals a Prometheus query that is passed down through four diverse expert services in about 18 milliseconds. There is a whole lot of element about how the ask for is dealt with. If this ask for took ten seconds, then the trace could notify us precisely in which it put in those people ten seconds—and maybe why it put in time in specific areas—to enable us realize what is heading on in an infrastructure or how to resolve a difficulty.

In tracing, spans are representations of units of do the job in a supplied software, and they are represented by all of the horizontal bars in the query previously mentioned. If we designed a query to a back conclusion, to a databases, or to a caching server, we could wrap those people in spans to get information about how long each of those people parts took.

Spans are relevant to each other in a handful of diverse techniques, but principally by a mother or father-kid romance. So in the query previously mentioned, there are two relevant spans in which promqlEval is the mother or father and promqlPrepare is a kid. This romance is how our tracing back conclusion is capable to get all these spans, rebuild them into a single trace, and return that trace when we check with for it.

Why Grafana Tempo?

At Grafana Labs, we have been frustrated with our down-sampled dispersed tracing technique. Discovering a sample trace was generally not challenging, but our engineers typically desired to locate a specific trace.

We desired our tracing technique to be capable to usually remedy inquiries like, “Why was this customer’s query gradual?” Or “An intermittent bug showed up once again. Can I see the precise trace?”

We decided we desired 100% sampling, but we didn’t want to manage the Elasticsearch or Cassandra cluster necessary to pull it off.

Then we realized that our tracing back conclusion didn’t will need to index our traces. We could learn traces through logs and exemplars. Why pay out to index your traces and your logs and your metrics? All we required was a way to retailer traces by ID. And which is why we developed Tempo.

grafana tempo 02 Grafana Labs

Tempo is used to ingest and retailer the total read path of Grafana Labs’ manufacturing, staging, and growth environments. Now we are ingesting two.two million spans per second and storing 132TB of compressed trace information totaling 74 billion traces. Our p50 to retrieve a trace is ~two.two seconds.

Correlations between metrics, logs, and traces

With Tempo, the vision for more correlations between metrics, logs, and traces is turning out to be a reality.

Linking from logs to traces

Loki and other log information sources can be configured to create links from trace IDs in log lines. Using logs, you can research by path, position code, latency, consumer, IP tackle, or just about anything else you can things on to the exact log line as a trace ID.

Look at a line these as:

path=/api/v1/customers position=500 latency=25ms traceid=598083459f85afab userid=4928

All of these fields now give a searchable index for your trace IDs in Tempo. By indexing our traces with our logs we permit personal groups to personalize their indexes into their traces. Just about every team can log on the exact line as trace ID any industry that is significant to them and it immediately results in a searchable industry for traces as effectively.

As of Loki two., if any log consists of an identifier for a trace, you can click on on it and soar immediately to that trace in Tempo.

grafana tempo 03 Grafana Labs

Linking from metrics to traces

Using exemplars, traces can now be identified immediately from metrics.

grafana tempo 04 Grafana Labs

Logs permit you to locate the precise trace you’re browsing for dependent on logged fields, when exemplars let you locate a trace that exemplifies a sample. You can have links to traces dependent on your metrics query immediately embedded in your Grafana graph. Contact up p99s, 500 mistake codes, or specific endpoints making use of a Prometheus query, and all of your traces now turn out to be applicable examples of the sample you’re looking at.

Linking from traces to logs

So exemplars and logs can be used for discovery, and Tempo can be used for storing every little thing with no stressing about the monthly bill. To link from a trace back into logs, the Grafana Agent makes it possible for you to enhance your traces, logs, and metrics with regular metadata, which then results in correlations that have been not earlier doable. After jumping from an exemplar to a trace, you can now go immediately to the logs of the battling support. The trace quickly identifies what aspect of your ask for path caused the mistake, and the logs enable you discover why.

grafana tempo 05 Grafana Labs

Study more about Grafana Tempo

Sign up for us in the Grafana Slack #tempo channel or the tempo-customers Google group, and view our GrafanaCONline session, “Open supply dispersed tracing with Grafana Tempo,” for a deeper dive into Tempo. Tempo dispersed tracing is also now offered as section of the absolutely free and paid out tiers of our entirely managed, composable observability platform, Grafana Cloud 50 GB of traces are provided in the absolutely free tier.

Joe Elliott is principal engineer at Grafana Labs.

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