Set span retention policies

Cloud Observability uses Microsatellites to collect span data from your OpenTelemetry instrumentation. That data is then sent to the Cloud Observability platform, which processes and temporarily stores that data during trace assembly. The length of time between the newest and the oldest span currently held for analysis is the retention window (3 days by default), where it can be queried by charts in notebooks or dashboards, and viewed as performance indicators in the Service directory.

Cloud Observability offers a retention window of longer than three days. Contact your customer success representative for more information.

If you choose to save your span data in a dashboard as a Stream, you can increase that retention time up to 2 years (depending on your Cloud Observability plan). Or if your company has a data retention and compliance policy, you can change that time to reflect the allowable maximum age of your data. Span data and exemplars older than that age are deleted and no longer available (the time series are saved for two years).

Only Admin-level users can set the data retention policy.

Follow these steps to set the data retention policy for Cloud Observability:

  1. In the navigation bar, click Settings > Trace exemplar retention.

  2. Click the For project drop-down to select your project.

  3. Click the Retain trace exemplars for drop-down and set the number of days Cloud Observability keeps your data. Changes may take up to 24 hours to take effect.

When data retention settings are enabled, all traces, snapshots, and other raw trace data written outside of the retention period will be deleted. This data is non-recoverable.

If you need to delete data from a time period within your data retention plan, contact our Customer Success team, who can manually delete that data.

See also

Data security

Query your data

Create and manage dashboards

Updated Jan 24, 2024