Grafana Cloud

Application Observability recommended architecture


Grafana Application Observability is built on OpenTelemetry and is 100% compatible with the upstream project. Grafana Labs are active participants in the upstream community and lead several initiatives.

Developers who use the Auto Instrumentation agents, the SDKs, and/or OpenTelemetry Collector can leverage Grafana Application Observability without any issue.

To get the best value through observability, enrich the OpenTelemetry signals, traces, logs, and metrics with contextual metadata.

The following projects provide configuration guidance for running Grafana Agent and OpenTelemetry on the cloud or Kubernetes:

Grafana Agent and the OpenTelemetry Collector

Grafana Agent and the OpenTelemetry Collector are two open source projects for telemetry data-collection and transformation.

The OpenTelemetry Collector is maintained by the OpenTelemetry project maintainers and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Grafana Agent is maintained by Grafana Labs, and packages various upstream OpenTelemetry Collector components and Prometheus exporters, to provide stability, support, and an integrated experience with Grafana Application Observability and other Grafana products.


OpenTelemetry auto-instrumentation agents and/or the SDKs are the recommended methods to instrument applications as they export consistent metadata and telemetry across languages and SDKs.

Grafana Agent as the OTLP endpoint

It is recommended to use the OpenTelemetry auto-instrumentation agents or SDKs to instrument applications and forward the OTLP data to Grafana Agent and configure it to write to individual telemetry databases on Grafana Cloud. Grafana Agent acts as an outbound gateway providing reliability and scalability.

Use the Grafana Agent OpenTelemetry (OTLP) integration to send data to Grafana Cloud.

OpenTelemetry Integration

For further details, consult the Grafana Agent documentation for adding OpenTelemetry to the Grafana stack.

Grafana Agent is deeply integrated with Grafana Application Observability and other Grafana products to monitor both infrastructure and applications and correlate between the two:

Agent Architecture

OpenTelemetry Collector

Grafana Application Observability is compatible with the OpenTelemetry Collector, however the feature is experimental and we are exploring ways to support Collector deployments.

We have users successfully using the upstream Collector with Grafana Application Observability, and we can provide the correct config to support the required features where possible.

Consult the OpenTelemetry Collector sampling documentation to learn how to use sampling techniques to reduce costs.

Monitor applications with the The OpenTelemetry Collector:

OpenTelemetry Collector Architecture