The span data that you view and use in Lightstep for observability into your system depends on the quality of your tracing instrumentation. The better and more comprehensive your instrumentation is, the better Lightstep can collect and analyze your data to provide highly actionable information.

Lightstep analyzes the instrumentation on your services and determines how you can improve it to make Lightstep work even better for you.

Control the Attributes that Lightstep Checks For

Using attributes in your instrumentation is one of the best ways to get the most out of Lightstep. Attributes carry information about the span, like the version of the service, a customer ID, or the environment the service is running in.

As part of the IQ score, Lightstep automatically checks for a version attribute (if you’ve created a deployment marker), as well as the host.name attribute and the span.kind attribute (to determine service boundaries). For the Custom span and Environment attributes scores, you can control which attributes Lightstep should look for when scoring your instrumentation.

The OpenTelemetry spec defines standard custom attributes and environment attributes that your instrumentation may want to include.

For example, if you want every span to have a customer and k8s.cluster.name attribute reporting to Lightstep, you can register them and their absence or presence is taken into account when determining the score. This is a great way to ensure all services are sending data to Lightstep thats important to your business.

If you don’t register any custom span attributes, Lightstep checks for the existence of at least one (non-registered) custom span attribute in your instrumentation and will alert you if none are found. Lightstep doesn’t check for the existence of non-registered environment attributes.

To register custom and environment attributes:

  1. Click Settings to open your project’s settings page.
  2. Scroll down to Instrumentation Quality Settings.
  3. For either type of attribute, click the + icon. A dropdown shows all attributes found in your instrumentation. Start typing to select the attribute from the list.

    Register attributes for the IQ score

View Score Details

From the Service Directory view, select a service and click the Instrumentation Quality tab to learn how well your instrumentation for that service measures up.

The number on the tab and at the top of the page shows your score, which can be 0 to 100%. The score is a combination of several factors, each shown in a card. Cards with an orange border contain tips on how to improve the instrumentation. Green shows that you’ve done a great job with instrumentation for that factor.

Your service must be running and reporting at least one ingress operation to Lightstep Satellites to receive a score.

View Tips for Improving Instrumentation

Click Learn how to improve on a card to see tips for improving your score.

The operations that Lightstep analyzed for this instrumentation area are listed on the left. A checkmark means that the operation has sufficient instrumentation for this factor. An exclamation point indicates that changes are needed to satisfy the factor.

When you view the details of the score for the Custom span or Environment attributes, Lightstep shows you the attributes currently registered. To edit the attributes, click the project settings link. Attributes registered

Make the changes, deploy your Service(s), and watch your score improve!