About Satellites

Lightstep uses Satellites to collect 100% of the performance data that your tracing instrumentation generates. Satellites collect spans generated by instrumented clients and servers, and then process and temporarily store that data during trace assembly. The Hypothesis Engine (the remote SaaS component) queries the Satellites, records aggregate information about the spans, directs the trace assembly process, and then stores traces durably, all for display in the Lightstep UI.

Learn more about Lightstep’s architecture.

Lightstep does not assemble every trace from your instrumentation. From the 100% of spans collected, only traces that match Streams or serve as examples of application errors, high latency, or other interesting events are assembled.

Lightstep offers three Satellite types, used at different times during the development lifecycle:

  • Local Developer Mode Satellite installed on your machine: Used when developing a single service.
  • Public shared Satellite pool: Used in non-production environments to see performance throughout your system. Because they are in the cloud and shared between organizations, they do not have the performance or security needed for production environments.
  • On-premise Satellite pool: Installed and run in your environment. You maintain and tune these to suit your application’s needs.

For this Learning Path, you’ll use the Public Satellites.

Satellites communicate with the tracers in your instrumentation using an access token. Access tokens are project-specific. You’ll need this access token in the next step when you implement your tracers.

Create an Access Token

You create access tokens for projects from the Project Settings page. Access tokens allow the Satellite to report data to a specific Lightstep project.

To create an access token:

  1. Choose the project to create the access token for.

  2. From the Navigation Bar, click Project Settings.

  3. In the Access Tokens table, click Create New.

    A new row in the table is created with a token. By default, tokens are not given a name.

    It may take up to 5 minutes for the token to propagate to all active Satellites.

  4. To name the token, click Rename, enter a name, and click Rename Token.

Copy the access token, as you’ll need it to add to your tracer instrumentation so that the tracers can communicate with the Satellites.

If you are using the Hipster Shop with this Learning Path, you can now follow these instructions to install it. Copy the access token you just created, as you’ll need to set it as an environment variable during setup.


What Did We Learn?

  • Lightstep uses Satellites to collect and process 100% of your telemetry data.
  • There are three different types of Satellites. Public Satellites can be used during development
  • Project-specific access tokens allow the tracer to communicate with the Satellites.