Introduction to distributed tracing

Distributed tracing extends APM transaction tracing. Transaction tracing is effective for analyzing activity in one application. With distributed tracing, you can see the entire journey your requests take as they travel through distributed systems.

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Quick start

To get started right away:

Trace requests across apps and services

While APM transaction tracing is helpful for analyzing calls in a single application, distributed tracing broadens your view by showing the path a request takes across multiple applications and services, from start to finish. With this wider view, you can quickly troubleshoot performance bottlenecks and errors.

As requests travel between services, each segment is recorded as a span, which represents time spent in services or resources of those services. All the spans of a request are combined into a single distributed trace to give you a picture of an entire request.

Once your traces are captured in New Relic, here’s what you can do:

What you can do How it works with distributed tracing
See the user experience

If you enable distributed tracing for browser monitoring, you can tie that client/user experience to the backend code. You can understand which users are affected by a backend error or code change.

Track your lambda functions

If you enable distributed tracing for your lambda functions, serverless code will be connected to all of your other code as it executes.

Detect anomalous spans

Spans that are slow in comparison to typical behavior are marked as anomalous, with charts comparing them to typical performance.

See your errors and logs

Frontend and backend errors appear right in the context of your traces. Everything you need to troubleshoot is in one place.

Filter results

You can filter charts using many data points, so you can analyze trace data in different ways.

Customize queries and dashboards

You can create custom queries of your trace data and create custom data dashboards.

See data across accounts

See a global view of traces from across all your accounts and applications in New Relic One.

Query traces programmatically

Query distributed trace data by using GraphQL in our NerdGraph API explorer.

For more help

If you need more help, check out these support and learning resources: