OpenTelemetry provides a vendor-neutral open-source observability framework for generating and forwarding telemetry data. Commonly collected data includes traces and logs. It also supports distributed tracing for tracing activity across multiple services. For more about OpenTelemetry distributed tracing, see the OpenTelemetry documentation.


The Observe OpenTelemetry app supports OpenTelemetry traces. Since OpenTelemetry logging is still under active development by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, ingest log data using another method, such as the Observe Kubernetes app.

The Observe OpenTelemetry app ingests your OpenTelemetry data for monitoring and troubleshooting your application performance. It allows you to answer questions such as:

  • Which microservices have an elevated error rate, and what are the errors?

  • Which microservice in a slow request took the longest to respond?

  • With other microservices call a particular service?

There are two distinct starting points in the Observe OpenTelemetry App:

  • Services Home dashboard

  • Trace Search dashboard.

Use the Services Home dashboard to get a health overview of all of the microservices in an application. To investigate a specific trace, use the Trace Search dashboard.

Viewing Service Performance in Observe

The Services Home dashboard gives a high-level overview of your application services performance. You can quickly get insights into each service’s span rates, error rates, and latency.

Service Home dashboard showing span rate, error rate, and latency.

Figure 1 - The Service Home dashboard

Double-click on a span in the Service Summary table to see more detail in the Service Inspector.

  • Span Latency by Operation

  • A summary of span rate, error rate, and latency by Operation

  • Upstream Caller/Downstream Callee span rates

  • Slowest Spans

  • Spans with Errors

Service Inspector

Figure 2 - The Service Inspector

Double-click on an operation to inspect information such as span rate, error rate, latency, the slowest spans, and spans with errors.

Operations Inspector

Figure 3 - The Operations Inspector

Viewing Trace Performance in Observe

The Trace Search dashboard summarizes all your traces, allowing you to search for traces of interest. You can search based on two criteria:

  • A range of minimum and maximum trace durations

  • Traces containing particular values, such as those with errors

Trace Search Dashboard

Figure 4 - The Trace Search dashboard

For example, to search for traces containing errors:

  • Click Dataset filter on the left

  • Select field “error”, operator “=”, and value “true”

  • Click Apply to filter the data.

Trace Search with filter for traces with errors

Figure 5 - Filtering for traces with errors

The dashboard displays details of your selected traces:

  • Trace rate, error rate, and trace duration for the matching traces.

  • A Traces table that contains a list of the individual traces.

  • A health overview of the Services and Operations that match the traces.

To inspect a trace, double-click to open the trace inspector. The Trace Inspector displays a waterfall view of all services called from this trace.

Trace Inspector

Figure 6 - The Trace Inspector

Click on a span to show additional detail.

Trace Inspector with side rail details

Figure 7 - Trace Inspector details

Use the Spans and Events table to inspect errors, associated services, or operations within each span.