Grafana Cloud

Application Observability Python quickstart

Follow these steps to get started quickly with Grafana Application Observability:

  1. Install the instrumentation library
  2. Configure an application
  3. Run the application
  4. Observe the service in Application Observability

This guide is intended for local development or evaluation setups and sends data directly to Grafana Cloud without a data collector.


For a production setup with a data collector and troubleshooting information, consult the production documentation.

Application Observability - Quickstart architecture

Install the instrumentation library

Install the latest release of the OpenTelemetry Python package:

pip install opentelemetry-distro[otlp]
opentelemetry-bootstrap -a install


A number of popular Python libraries are auto-instrumented, including Flask and Django. You can find the full list here.

Configure an application

Next, customize the following shell script to configure an application:


Logs have to be enabled explicitly with OTEL_LOGS_EXPORTER=otlp and OTEL_PYTHON_LOGGING_AUTO_INSTRUMENTATION_ENABLED=true, because it is still experimental.

<authentication environment variables from step 3 - please replace the space after Basic with %20, e.g. Basic%20fd…> export OTEL_SERVICE_NAME=<Service Name>

export OTEL_PYTHON_LOGGING_AUTO_INSTRUMENTATION_ENABLED=true export OTEL_LOGS_EXPORTER=otlp opentelemetry-instrument flask run -p 8080


Do not run this setup in production - it could cause performance issues (global lock).

Follow these steps to get necessary information for the shell script:

  1. Sign in to Grafana Cloud, register for a Free Grafana Cloud account if required, the browser will navigate to the Grafana Cloud Portal page

    If the account has access to multiple Grafana Cloud Organizations, select an organization from the top left organization dropdown.

    If the organization has access to multiple Grafana Cloud Stacks, navigate to a stack from the left side bar or the main Stacks list.

  2. With a stack selected, or in the single stack scenario, below Manage your Grafana Cloud Stack, click Configure in the OpenTelemetry section:

  3. In the Password / API Token section, click on Generate now to create a new API token:

    • Give the API token a name, for example cart-service
    • Click on Create token
    • Click on Close without copying the token
    • Click on Copy to Clipboard to copy the environment variables to the clipboard

  1. Pick a Service Name to identify the service, for example cart
  1. Replace flask run -p 8080 with the start command that runs the application to instrument

Run the application

Finally, run the application with the shell script and make some requests to the service to send data to Grafana Cloud.

Observe the service in Application Observability

Open Application observability:

  1. Navigate to a stack https://<your-stack-name.>
  2. Expand the top left menu below the Grafana logo
  3. Click on Application

Activate metrics generation

Application Observability relies on metrics generated from traces already sent to Grafana Cloud Traces.

Metrics generation is self-serve, and can be enabled during onboarding and disabled from Application Observability configuration.

To complete the setup, click Activate Application Observability to enable metrics generation.

Enable metrics generation


After activating Application Observability and enabling metrics generation, it might take up to five minutes to generate metrics and show graphs.

Visualize and discover

Discover more about Application Observability in the documentation:

  • Service Inventory: filter, and search services and view RED metrics.
  • Service Overview: traces, logs, RED metrics, operations, and runtime information.
  • Service Map: graph of connected services, service dependencies, and data flow.

Example application

See the Rolldice service for a complete example setup.