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OpenTelemetry resources: Best practices

All data from OpenTelemetry is associated with a resource. A resource is a representation of the entity producing telemetry as resource attributes. The resource attributes are used to adapt a resource to New Relic's notion of an entity.

Data received is associated with an entity through a process called entity synthesis whereby the resource attributes present are matched to rules which determine the type of entity the data will be associated with. For data sourced from OpenTelemetry, the entity synthesis rules are designed to respect the OpenTelemetry resource semantic conventions.

The resource semantic conventions define different bodies of conventions for describing different types of entities. For example, the service and host conventions define the resource attributes which describe a service or host instance, respectively.

Supported entity types

Described here are the New Relic entity types which are supported when using OpenTelemetry instrumentation. Included for each supported entity type are:

  • The resource attributes required for entity synthesis.
  • Recommended attributes that drive certain aspects of the New Relic UI.
  • Attributes which become entity tags, when present.


A service entity is synthesized by adhering to the OpenTelemetry resource semantic conventions describing a service instance.

Refer to our documentation and examples for monitoring service entities using OpenTelemetry.

Required attributes

  • service.name: The service name you see in the UI comes from this value.
  • service.instance.id: Enables faceting between multiple instances of the same service.
  • telemetry.sdk.language: When present, this value drives the display of any runtime-specific UI, such as the JVM runtime page for Java applications.

Entity tags


A host entity is synthesized by adhering to the OpenTelemetry resource semantic conventions describing a host.

Refer to our documentation for monitoring host entities using the host metrics receiver for the OpenTelemetry collector.

Required attributes

Entity tags

Supported entity relationships

New Relic supports relationships between entities sourced from OpenTelemetry instrumentation. These relationships are synthesized automatically when the appropriate relationship criteria is met. Below are the relationships that are currently supported and their required criteria.

Service to host

Relationships between a service and host entity require that the service includes the host.id resource attribute and that it matches the host.id of the host it is running on.

Adding custom tags to an entity

You can use tags to organize and filter your entities in the UI. Tags are key-value pairs, for example team: operations, added to various sets of data, like monitored apps and hosts. Certain important attributes are automatically available as tags, such as account ID; you can also add your own custom tags directly in the UI, or with one of the methods below.

Adding resource attributes prefixed with tags will result in a tag on your entity in New Relic. For example, adding the attribute tags.mytag=myvalue will result in the entity tag mytag=myvalue.

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