The Role of Distributed Tracing in Quick Problem Solving
November 07, 2019

Ranjani
Site24x7

Share this

Microservices have become the go-to architectural standard in modern distributed systems. According to a recent report by Market Research Future, the industry shift towards adopting microservices is growing at 17 percent annually. Considering how microservices enable rapid application prototyping and faster deployments by reducing dependencies between individual components and services, this isn't all that surprising.

This independence of individual components is achieved by implementing proper interfaces via APIs to ensure that the system functions holistically. While there are plenty of tools and techniques to architect, manage, and automate the deployment of such distributed systems, issues during troubleshooting still happen at the individual service level, thereby prolonging the time taken to resolve an outage. 

The Challenges

Troubleshooting is always taxing, but microservices make it even more cumbersome, as developers have to correlate logs, metrics, and other diagnostic information from multiple lines of services. The higher the number of services in the system, the more complex diagnosis is.


In the unfortunate event of an outage, the microservices environment poses two main challenges: the primary one is fixing the issue and bringing services back online, which, by itself, is a tedious and time-consuming process that involves correlating large amounts of service-level data and coordinating with various tools. But the far greater challenge is narrowing down the problematic service among the myriad of interconnected ones. 

This is where distributed tracing comes into play. This mechanism enables DevOps teams to pinpoint the problem by skimming through the entire system for issues instead of tracing within the boundary of a service.

Causation and Not Just Correlation

Distributed tracing enables IT teams to visualize the flow of transactions across services written in multiple languages hosted across multiple data centers and application frameworks. This gives quick insight into anomalous behaviors and performance bottlenecks, and makes it easy even for a novice to understand the intricacies of the system.

In short, distributed tracing saves a lot of overhead in DevOps by presenting both a bird's-eye view of the system and the capability to zero in on the root cause of an issue.


The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is working on a standard that bridges the gap in providing a unified solution for distributed tracing. Very soon, distributed tracing will be an inevitable part in monitoring microservices.

The Road Ahead

Looking at the bigger picture, analyzing the massive sets of distributed traces would equip IT teams with more information than they usually get from mere troubleshooting. You can actually identify application behavior in various scenarios and derive actionable insights by studying these traces.

Soon, distributed tracing will not be considered as a mere problem solving tool; instead, it will take on an indispensable role in operational decision-making.

Ranjani is a Product Analyst at Site24x7
Share this

The Latest

January 14, 2021

Modernization projects using an incremental and continuous improvement model achieve superior results when compared to other project-based approaches including the ripping and replacing of core business applications, according to the CHAOS2020 Report from Micro Focus and Standish Group ...

January 13, 2021

Enterprise IT infrastructure never ceases to evolve, as companies continually re-examine and reimagine the network to incorporate new technology advancements and meet changing business requirements. But network change initiatives can be costly and time-consuming without a proactive approach to ensuring the right data is available to drive your initiatives ...

January 12, 2021

Data can be hard — knowing where to get it, where to store it, and most importantly, how to use it, are all questions enterprises need to answer. For most companies, this is an ongoing process in which multiple factors and challenges have arisen. In the Actian Datacast 2020: Hybrid Data Trends Snapshot, we shed light on the challenges of cloud migration and how organizations are leveraging data ...

January 11, 2021

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing economic disruptions all over the world, business organizations are further pressed to accelerate their migration to the cloud. As recovery begins and enterprises resume operations, experts expect to see increased spending on cloud services ...

January 07, 2021

Following up the list of Application Performance Management Predictions, APMdigest also asked IT industry experts for their 2021 network performance predictions. The results span 5G, NPM, SD-WAN and more ...

January 06, 2021

Gartner highlighted the six trends that infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders must start preparing for in the next 12-18 months ...

January 05, 2021

As the global pandemic continues, it has become increasingly clear that companies across every industry are planning the "next normal" of their workplace with a much longer-term view. They have moved from serially extending temporary work-from-home (WFH) arrangements to establishing permanent policies focused on empowering people to WFE — work-from-everywhere ...

January 04, 2021

The New Year means it is time for DEVOPSdigest's annual list of DevOps predictions. Industry experts offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how DevOps and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2021 ...

December 17, 2020

Industry experts offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how APM and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2021. Part 6, the final installment in the series, covers ITSM ...

December 16, 2020

Industry experts offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how APM and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2021. Part 5 covers the ITOps team ...