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eBPF-Primarily based Auto-Instrumentation Outperforms Guide Instrumentation

eBPF-Primarily based Auto-Instrumentation Outperforms Guide Instrumentation

2023-10-30 09:10:22

We’re creating Odigos, an open-source mission for easy distributed tracing. See extra at

Distributed tracing tracks the journey of requests as they transfer by way of a distributed system, providing insights for debugging, efficiency optimization, and end-to-end visibility. It’s essential for gaining in-depth insights into request flows inside complicated distributed techniques.

Nonetheless, there are two methods wherein it might suck: intensive code modifications (requires handbook instrumentation), and a big efficiency influence.

Odigos addresses the code change problem by utilizing eBPF for automating tracing with none handbook effort or code modifications. We generate traces in OpenTelemetry format, guaranteeing compatibility and avoiding vendor lock-in. You possibly can learn extra here

That leaves the efficiency points, which we’ve been engaged on. Our efficiency checks, which we’ll go into under, present that eBPF-based automated instrumentation is over 20x quicker than manually instrumenting code. That is achieved by separating information recording and information processing, eliminating additional workload, object allocation, and community calls throughout utility runtime.

Because of this, you’ll be able to have the very best of each worlds: automated distributed tracing with minimal efficiency overhead.

How we examined

Benchmarking latency shouldn’t be a trivial process. Latency will be measured in many various methods, every with its personal benefits and downsides. Our testing is impressed by this wonderful speak by Gil Tene known as How NOT to Measure Latency. We’re utilizing a High Dynamic Range Histogram to visualise the outcomes and wrk2 to generate load.

So as to scale back noise as a lot as attainable, we’re operating every check on a devoted AWS naked steel occasion (c5n.steel) with Intel Xeon Platinum 8000 sequence (Skylake-SP) processor.

For the goal utility, we’re utilizing a easy Go HTTP server written in Go 1.21 that returns a easy JSON response.

Take a look at outcomes

Every check is run for five minutes and generates 10,000 requests per second.
First, we ran the check with none instrumentation. Then we ran the check with handbook instrumentation utilizing OpenTelemetry Go SDK and eventually, we ran the check with eBPF-based automatic instrumentation.

Test Results

On the decrease percentiles (as much as the 99.ninth percentile), the overhead of not having instrumentation, handbook instrumentation, and eBPF-based automated instrumentation is analogous

Nonetheless, on the larger percentiles (99.ninth percentile and above), handbook instrumentation has a considerably larger overhead than eBPF-based automated instrumentation, which is over 20x quicker.

In the event you’re questioning whether or not the highest of the spectrum issues, the reply is sure, particularly in distributed environments. The next desk reveals what number of purchasers will expertise the 99th percentile latency in line with the variety of totally different companies concerned within the request (taken from Gil’s speak)

p99 is a lie

For max precision and isolation, we’re producing traces containing a single span. In a manufacturing surroundings, we anticipate the efficiency distinction to be even higher.

The efficiency influence of producing distributed traces

Let’s examine what occurs inside our utility once we generate distributed traces, both manually through SDKs or mechanically through one thing like a Java agent or monkey patching:

See Also

  1. Recording information – Spans objects that include the related information are being created
  2. Sustaining a queue of knowledge – Spans are being batched in a queue earlier than being despatched to the exterior system
  3. Delivering information to the exterior system – The applying sends the information within the queue to the exterior system by making community calls, serializing the information, and sending it over the community.

One other consideration to bear in mind is that the applying runtime should now handle extra objects, which might negatively influence heap measurement and GC efficiency, particularly in languages with stop-the-world GC like Java. All this could result in longer GC pauses and decreased efficiency. We’ll dive deeper and discover this matter in a separate weblog publish. Keep tuned.

In contrast to metrics and logs, distributed tracing is a stateful sign. Logs are sometimes written to a file, and metrics are sometimes pulled from an HTTP endpoint by the monitoring system (for instance /metrics endpoint when exposing Prometheus metrics). Distributed tracing is totally different. It requires the applying to actively ship batched information to an exterior system.

Separation between recording and processing

When utilizing eBPF to generate distributed traces, we’re separating the recording of the information from the processing of the information. The recording of the information is completed by the eBPF program and the processing and supply of the information is completed by a distinct course of. Because of this the applying runtime does no further work, creates no further objects, and makes no further community calls. The one further overhead (in comparison with not having any instrumentation) is the overhead of invoking eBPF applications (context switching from person house to kernel house).


Historically, there was a tradeoff between automated distributed tracing and efficiency.

Odigos solves this drawback by offering a method to automate distributed tracing that really improves efficiency. It’s because we use eBPF-based automated instrumentation to scale back the overhead of producing distributed tracing information.

Because of this, now you can have the very best of each worlds: automated distributed tracing with none efficiency overhead.

Extra updates coming quickly

eBPF-based automated instrumentation is a game-changer, enabling us to generate distributed traces with out code modifications or efficiency influence. We’re simply getting began and can carry this to extra programming languages quickly. Keep tuned!

Strive it out

The simplest method to strive eBPF-based distributed tracing right now is to make use of our open-source project, Odigos. Please assist us by starring ⭐ the mission on GitHub.

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