There are two types of protocols list here.

  • Probe Protocol. Include the descriptions and definitions about how agent send collected metrics data and traces, also the formats of each entities.

  • Query Protocol. The backend provide query capability to SkyWalking own UI and others. These queries are based on GraphQL.

Probe Protocols

They also related to the probe group, for understand that, look Concepts and Designs document. These groups are Language based native agent protocol, Service Mesh protocol and 3rd-party instrument protocol.

Language based native agent protocol

There are two types of protocols to make language agents work in distributed environments.

  1. Cross Process Propagation Headers Protocol and Cross Process Correlation Headers Protocol are in wire data format, agent/SDK usually uses HTTP/MQ/HTTP2 headers to carry the data with rpc request. The remote agent will receive this in the request handler, and bind the context with this specific request.
  2. Trace Data Protocol is out of wire data, agent/SDK uses this to send traces and metrics to skywalking or other compatible backend.

Cross Process Propagation Headers Protocol v3 is the new protocol for in-wire context propagation, started in 8.0.0 release.

Cross Process Correlation Headers Protocol v1 is a new in-wire context propagation additional and optional protocols. Please read SkyWalking language agents documentations to see whether it is supported. This protocol defines the data format of transporting custom data with Cross Process Propagation Headers Protocol. SkyWalking javaagent begins to support this since 8.0.0.

SkyWalking Trace Data Protocol v3 defines the communication way and format between agent and backend.

Browser probe protocol

The browser probe, such as skywalking-client-js could use this protocol to send to backend. This service provided by gRPC.

SkyWalking Browser Protocol define the communication way and format between skywalking-client-js and backend.

Service Mesh probe protocol

The probe in sidecar or proxy could use this protocol to send data to backendEnd. This service provided by gRPC, requires the following key info:

  1. Service Name or ID at both sides.
  2. Service Instance Name or ID at both sides.
  3. Endpoint. URI in HTTP, service method full signature in gRPC.
  4. Latency. In milliseconds.
  5. Response code in HTTP
  6. Status. Success or fail.
  7. Protocol. HTTP, gRPC
  8. DetectPoint. In Service Mesh sidecar, client or server. In normal L7 proxy, value is proxy.

3rd-party instrument protocol

3rd-party instrument protocols are not defined by SkyWalking. They are just protocols/formats, which SkyWalking is compatible and could receive from their existed libraries. SkyWalking starts with supporting Zipkin v1, v2 data formats.

Backend is based on modularization principle, so very easy to extend a new receiver to support new protocol/format.

Query Protocol

Query protocol follows GraphQL grammar, provides data query capabilities, which depends on your analysis metrics. Read query protocol doc for more details.