How does Tracing Work?

There are four key components within tracing - Instrumentation, Exporter, Protocol, and Collector. We've built all four of these within our tracing tool so it is easy to start troubleshooting your application and surfacing issues.


In order for an application to emit traces for analysis, the application must be instrumented. Your application can be manually or automatically instrumented.

Many of our auto-instrumentation plugins will collect spans for you with just a few lines of code. All of these instrumentors are managed via a single repository called OpenInference.


An exporter takes the spans created via instrumentation and exports them to a collector. In simple terms, it just sends the data to Arize.

OpenTelemetry Protocol

OpenTelemetetry Protocol (or OTLP for short) is the means by which traces arrive from your application to the Arize collector. Arize currently supports OTLP over GRPC.


The Arize server is a collector and a UI that helps you troubleshoot your application in real time. Arize receives your logs and visualizes them on our dashboard. We use many technologies under the hood to ensure we can support millions of traces and return you aggregations and insights on your data.

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