The OpenTelemetry Collector provides a vendor-agnostic agent for receiving, processing, and exporting telemetry data. It eliminates the necessity to operate and maintain multiple agents, resulting in enhanced scalability. It also supports open-source observability data formats (such as Jaeger, Prometheus, Fluent Bit, etc.), which can be sent to one or more open-source or commercial back-ends.
The Collector can be run as a local agent or as a centralized data collection Gateway as a standalone service.
If you’re using Kubernetes we recommend using the OpenTelemetry Operator to automate the management of your fleet of Collectors. The Operator automatically gathers cluster metrics, handles auto-scaling, and more.
The Collector configuration file has 5 main sections:
Receivers: push or pull based components that get data into the Collector
Procesors: optional components that can transform data from the receivers or exporters
Exporters: push or pull based components that send data from the Collector to your configured destinations
Extensions: optional components that do not primarily involve processing telemetry data like Collector health monitoring, service discovery, and more.
Service: enables the components that were configured in the other sections. If a component isn’t in the Service section then it isn’t used.
Related Lightstep Documentation:
- Update a pre-existing Collector to send data to Lightstep
- Quick Start: Use the Collector for application data
- Quick Start: Use the Collector to collect infrastructure metrics
- Quick Start Kubernetes: Collector and Operator
- Lightstep’s default recommended Collector configuration
Related Community Resources: