Distributed Tracing

What is Distributed tracing?

Distributed tracing is a technique to monitor applications built using microservice architecture. The concept is also known as distributed request tracing. It is used by the developers to debug and optimize the code. It provides a view of what exactly is happening with the specific requests.

Why it is Important?

Organizations are observing digital transformation from a monolithic application to container-based microservices architecture. Though it is creating robust architecture, it brings operational complexity that requires monitoring.

In DevOps microservices architecture, microservices communicate with each other. It is necessary to have a holistic, real-time view of application performance and requests as they move through the microservices that make up cloud-based applications.   Monitoring is a complex and time-consuming process This requires special tools in order to get to the root-cause analysis. This makes it necessary to have an end-to-end observability mechanism in place.

How does it work?

It allocates a unique trace ID to a single request. As user requests move through a distributed system, sets of spans are generated for every new operation that is needed on the journey. This includes information like service names, dates, time, error messages etc. This trace data, logs, and signal information provide a metric that enables developers to debug current systems and optimize code for future service improvement.

Benefits of distributed tracing

  • It reduces the mean time to resolution.
  • Instant root-cause identification.
  • Quick troubleshooting enhances the end-user customer experience.
  • Continuous health monitoring of a system.
  • Breaks the silos between  DevOps developers and SRE teams.


Microservice architecture provides flexibility in terms of modularization of the code in the form of microservices. The architecture becomes complex when microservices need to communicate with each other and have dependencies. Monitoring plays a vital role in this scenario. Distributed tracing helps developers to debug the code and optimize it. Tracing provides a view of what exactly is happening with the specific requests, thus helping to identify the root cause of the problem and the respective solutions.

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