What is Grafana Beyla?

Grafana Beyla is an open source eBPF-based auto-instrumentation tool that helps you easily get started with application observability for Go, C/C++, Rust, Python, Ruby, Java, NodeJS, .NET, and more.

eBPF is used to capture RED metrics (Rate-Error-Duration) and basic trace spans for Linux HTTP/S and gRPC services – without any modifications to application code or configuration.

Read the announcement blog post

Grafana Beyla overview

Grafana Beyla is an OSS project that enables automatic instrumentation for HTTP/gRPC applications written in Go, C/C++, Rust, Python, Ruby, Java (including GraalVM Native), NodeJS, .NET, and more. It’s based on eBPF, which allows you to attach your own programs to different points of the Linux kernel. 

Often, instrumenting an app for application observability requires adding a language agent to the deployment or package, manually adding tracepoints, and then redeploying. With Beyla, you can instrument all your services with a single command, without modifying source code. 

Beyla was started at Grafana Labs and announced in 2023. The mission of the project is to help users get started quickly with application observability by leveraging eBPF. The collected telemetry data can then be correlated with backend and infrastructure data in the Grafana Labs LGTM stack (Loki for logs, Grafana for visualization, Tempo for traces, and Mimir for metrics) for a seamless, full-stack, open source observability solution.

Grafana Labs is proud to lead the development of the Grafana Beyla project, building first-class support for Beyla into Grafana, and ensuring Grafana Labs users receive Beyla support and application observability features as needed.

Why use Grafana Beyla?

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Get instant RED metrics and traces from your web services and clients.
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Compatible in any Linux environment with kernels later than 5.4.
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Export standard RED metrics and traces in the OpenTelemetry format and as native Prometheus metrics.
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Compatible with all versions of programming languages, including those not supported by the OTel or Prometheus SDKs.
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Supports a wide range of programming languages — Go, Java, .NET, NodeJS, Python, Ruby, Rust, and more.
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Automatic instrumentation without code change.
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Can improve CPU and memory usage for interpreted languages compared to classic instrumentation libraries.
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Built-in support for Kubernetes metadata to make it easier to identify which resource is failing.

How does Grafana Beyla work for eBPF auto-instrumentation?

Architecture diagram of Application Observability configurations in Grafana Cloud.
Beyla inspects an application running on Linux to determine which technologies are used within the application.
After it has identified the application characteristics, the tool activates a number of eBPF uprobes and kprobes, strategically placed to capture information about the HTTP/gRPC traffic the application is receiving or sending.
Using the uprobes/kprobes, Beyla generates events related to the HTTP/gRPC traffic of the application, which are then converted and exported as OpenTelemetry metrics and traces.
OpenTelemetry metrics and traces can be sent to a Grafana Agent instance configured in Flow mode, where they are enriched and sent to OSS databases such as Grafana Tempo for traces and Grafana Mimir for metrics.
The easiest way to get started is to configure Beyla with Grafana Agent in Flow mode to send your metrics and traces to the Application Observability solution in Grafana Cloud, where they can be visualized in prebuilt dashboards and correlated with your other telemetry data.

What is eBPF?

eBPF technology allows for attaching programs to different points of the Linux kernel. eBPF programs run in privileged mode to allow inspecting runtime information from different parts of your kernel: system calls, network stack, and even inserting probes in your user space programs.

The eBPF programs are safe, as they are compiled for their own Virtual Machine instruction set and then can run in a sandbox environment that pre-verifies each loaded program for safe memory access and finite execution time. 

After being verified, the eBPF binaries are compiled Just-In-Time (JIT) to the host native architecture (x86-64, ARM64, etc.) for efficient and fast execution.

The eBPF code is loaded from ordinary programs running in the user space, and both kernel and user space programs can share information through a set of communication mechanisms that are provided by the eBPF specification: ring buffers, arrays, hash maps, etc.

Diagram showing how eBPF instrumentation works.

Built on open source, driven by the community

We’re excited to share our learnings and work with the open source community on this easy-to-use auto-instrumentation application observability tool.

Meet the Beyla contributors

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Get started with application observability on Grafana Cloud