Trace Data Protocol v3

Trace Data Protocol describes the data format between SkyWalking agent/sniffer and backend.


Trace data protocol is defined and provided in gRPC format, also implemented in HTTP 1.1

Report service instance status

  1. Service Instance Properties Service instance has more information than a name, once the agent wants to report this, use ManagementService#reportInstanceProperties service providing a string-key/string-value pair list as the parameter. language of target instance is expected at least.

  2. Service Ping Service instance should keep alive with the backend. The agent should set a scheduler using ManagementService#keepAlive service in every minute.

Send trace and metrics

After you have service id and service instance id, you could send traces and metrics. Now we have

  1. TraceSegmentReportService#collect for skywalking native trace format
  2. JVMMetricReportService#collect for skywalking native jvm format

For trace format, there are some notices

  1. Segment is a concept in SkyWalking, it should include all span for per request in a single OS process, usually single thread based on language.
  2. Span has 3 different groups.
  • EntrySpan EntrySpan represents a service provider, also the endpoint of server side. As an APM system, we are targeting the application servers. So almost all the services and MQ-consumer are EntrySpan(s).

  • LocalSpan LocalSpan represents a normal Java method, which don’t relate with remote service, neither a MQ producer/consumer nor a service(e.g. HTTP service) provider/consumer.

  • ExitSpan ExitSpan represents a client of service or MQ-producer, as named as LeafSpan at early age of SkyWalking. e.g. accessing DB by JDBC, reading Redis/Memcached are cataloged an ExitSpan.

  1. Span across thread or process parent info is called Reference. Reference carries trace id, segment id, span id, service name, service instance name, endpoint name and target address used at client side(not required in across thread) of this request in the parent. Follow Cross Process Propagation Headers Protocol v3 to get more details.

  2. Span#skipAnalysis could be TRUE, if this span doesn’t require backend analysis.