Open source

Grafana Agent configuration for OpenTelemetry

The recommended way to send OpenTelemetry data to Grafana Cloud or your Grafana OSS stack is with the Grafana Agent Flow.


This document assumes that you have already installed a Grafana Agent and that you have access to a Grafana OSS or a Grafana Cloud stack. Please follow the Grafana Agent installation instructions if needed. If you would like to work with Grafana Cloud but do not have an account yet, you can easily create one for free.


An agent-config.river configuration file is needed for the Grafana Agent to run successfully in flow mode. You can download one that will configure an agent to start with both gRPC and HTTP servers. The gRPC and HTTP servers will be available on their default endpoints.

  • gRPC: http://localhost:4317
  • HTTP: http://localhost:4318

The configuration file requires several environmental variable to be set. They are described in the following table.

Environment VariableDescriptionExample
GRAFANA_CLOUD_API_KEYThe API key generated aboveeyJvSomeLongStringJ9fQ==
GRAFANA_CLOUD_PROMETHEUS_URL"Remote Write Endpoint" when you click on "Details" in the "Prometheus" section on grafana.comhttps://prometheus-prod-***
GRAFANA_CLOUD_PROMETHEUS_USERNAME"Username / Instance ID" when you click on "Details" in the "Prometheus" section on grafana.com11111
GRAFANA_CLOUD_LOKI_URLThe "url" in "From a standalone host" when you click on "Details" in the "Loki" section on (without the username and password part)https://logs-prod-***
GRAFANA_CLOUD_LOKI_USERNAME"User" when you click on "Details" in the "Loki" section on grafana.com11112
GRAFANA_CLOUD_TEMPO_ENDPOINTThe "endpoint" in "Sending Data to Tempo" when you click on "Details" in the "Tempo" section on grafana.comtempo-***
GRAFANA_CLOUD_TEMPO_USERNAME"User" when you click on "Details" in the "Tempo" section on grafana.com11113

Running the Agent

Download the above-mentioned agent-config.river file and set the necessary environment variables. Then start the Grafana Agent in flow mode with the following command. Remember to first update the path to your agent-config.river file, so it has the correct location.

Note the below command is not for agents running within a docker container.

AGENT_MODE=flow; /bin/agent run <PATH_TO_FILE>/agent-config.river

Once the agent has started, the agent’s log should include output indicating that the gRPC and HTTP servers have started.

ts=2023-04... level=info component=otelcol.receiver.otlp.default msg="Starting GRPC server" endpoint=
ts=2023-04... level=info component=otelcol.receiver.otlp.default msg="Starting HTTP server" endpoint=

Optional Smoke Test

Click here for a sample HTTP POST request.

You can use the below curl statement to smoke test the grafana agent’s HTTP trace endpoint.

curl --location 'http://localhost:4318/v1/traces' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--data '{
"id": "12345",
    "name": "postman-fake-trace",
    "start_time": 1.333058486989E9,
    "trace_id": "1-agent-test-999",
    "end_time": 1.333058487934E9

Agent Logging

Grafana Agent logging defaults to:

  • level = “info”
  • format = “logfmt”

Add the following block to agent-config.river if you wish to change the logging level or format.

logging {
  level = <LEVEL>
  format = <FORMAT>

Refer to the documentation for all logging options.