go get

A golang package that implements a distributed tracing capability inspired by Google's Dapper

by SpirentOrion

v2.0.0-20170120165743-d545c99718d1 (see all)License:MIT
go get

Trace package GoDoc

Trace is a golang package that implements a distributed tracing capability inspired by Google's Dapper. Traces may be optionally recorded to a database backend or local file. HTTP middleware is provided to facilitate easy tracing of requests and cascading of trace contexts during request fanout scenarios.

To install the package:

$ go get

Tracing Data Model

Each trace is logically comprised of one or more spans in a tree-like structure. You are free to determine the granularity of traces and spans. Typical usages include:

  • Each request received at a web API endpoint starts a new trace.
  • Each scheduled background task starts a new trace.
  • Each span represents some type of start-to-finish activity. By creating new spans you can differentiate between different types or stages of activity within a single trace.

Traces are identified by a probabilistically unique 64-bit integer. All spans within in a trace share the same trace id. Identifiers are randomly generated within this number space and thus do not require use of a centralized allocator.

Spans are also identified by their own unique 64-bit integer values. Each span records its trace id, the id of its parent span, its location, its start time, its finish time, and other data that you may provide.

With this structure it is possible to build a causal record of activity within trace. For any trace, activity began with the first span -- the span with a parent id of 0. Any spans within the same trace that have a parent id matching the first span's id were caused by the first span. And so on.

If processing of a span requires fanout to other services or processes the trace context may be propagated using HTTP request headers or other appropriate mechanisms. Each span's location indicates where the activity actually occurred, in terms of both process and hostname. When activity spans multiple hosts, start and finish times are based on the host's clock and aren't necessarily synchronized.

Recording Backends

Currently, two recording backend packages are provided:

BackendImport Path


A simple example is provided with trace recording via the YAML recorder:

$ cd $GOPATH/src/
$ go run main.go


$ curl -i
$ cat example.yaml

Note that the YAML recorder only records finished spans. Each span is rendered as a separate document in the YAML stream.

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