How to add observability

This guide documents how to add a combination of logging, tracing, and monitoring via the all-in-one internal/observation package. If you're not ready to migrate completely to internal/observation, you can consult one of the guides for direct usage of specific observability components:

Core concepts

The high-level ideas behind the internal/observation package are:

  • Each service creates an observation Context that carries a root logger, tracer, and a metrics registerer as its context.
  • An observation Context can create an observation Operation which represents a section of code that can be invoked many times.
    • An observation Operation is configured with state that applies to all invocation of the code.
  • An observation Operation can wrap a an invocation of a section of code by calling its With method. This prepares a trace and some state to be reconciled after the invocation has completed.
    • The With method returns a function that, when deferred, will emit metrics, additional logs, and finalize the trace span.


observationContext := observation.NewContext(log.Scoped("my-scope", "a simple description"))

metrics := metrics.NewREDMetrics(

operation := observationContext.Operation(observation.Op{
    Name:         "Thing.SomeOperation",
    MetricLabelValues: []string{"some_operation"},
    Metrics:      metrics,

// You can log some logs directly using operation—these logs will be structured
// with context about your operation.
operation.Info("something happened!", log.String("additional", "context"))

function SomeOperation(ctx context.Context) (err error) {
    // logs and metrics may be available before or after the operation, so they
    // can be supplied either at the start of the operation, or after in the
    // defer of endObservation.

    ctx, trace, endObservation := operation.With(ctx, &err, observation.Args{ /* logs and metrics */ })
    defer func() { endObservation(1, observation.Args{ /* additional logs and metrics */ }) }()

    // ...

    // You can log some logs directly from the returned trace—these logs will be
    // structured with the trace ID, trace fields, and observation context.
    trace.Info("I did the thing!", log.Int("things", 3))

    // ...

Log fields and metric labels can be supplied at construction of an Operation, at invocation of an operation (the With function), or after the invocation completes but before the observation has terminated (the endObservation function). Log fields and metric labels are concatenated together in the order they are attached to an operation.