Message queuesedit

The Node.js Agent will automatically create spans for activity to/from your Amazon SQS message queues. To record these spans, your message queue activity must occur during a transaction. If you’re performing queue operations during an HTTP request from a supported framework, the agent will start a transaction automatically. However, if you’re performing queue operations in a stand-alone program (such as a message processor), you’ll need to use the Node.js Agent’s startTransaction() method to manually create transactions for your messages.

You can see an example of this in the following code sample.

const apm = require('elastic-apm-node').start({/*...*/})
const AWS = require('aws-sdk');
// Set the region
AWS.config.update({region: 'us-west'});

// Create an SQS service object
const sqs = new AWS.SQS({apiVersion: '2012-11-05'});

/* ... */

const transaction = apm.startTransaction("Process Messages", 'cli') 
sqs.receiveMessage(params, function(err, data) {
  if(err) {
    console.log("Receive Error", err);
  } else {
    console.log(`Length: ${data.Messages.length}`)
    /* process messages */
  // end the transaction

Prior to calling the sqs.receiveMessage method, start a new transaction.

Only end the transaction after the queue’s processing callback finishes executing. The will ensure a transaction is active while processing your queue messages.

Distributed tracing and messaging queuesedit

To enable queue scheduling and queue processing with distributed tracing, use the Node.js Agent’s API to store a traceparent header with your queue message; then, provide that traceparent header when starting a new transaction.

Here’s a new example that uses the Node.js Agent API to store the traceparent as a message attribute and then uses that attribute to link your new transaction with the original.

Storing the Traceparent

When sending the message, you’ll want to add the trace as one of the MessageAttributes.

// stores the traceparent when sending the queue message
const traceParent = apm.currentTransaction ? apm.currentTransaction.traceparent : ''

// Use the Amazon SQS `MessageAttributes` to pass
// on the  traceparent header
const params = {
  /* ... other params ... */
  MessageAttributes: {
    /* ... other attributes ... */
        DataType: "String",
        StringValue: traceParent

sqs.sendMessage(params, function(err, data) {
  /* ... */

This will save the traceparent value so we can use it later on when receiving the messages.

Applying the Traceparent

When we receive our queue messages, we’ll check the message for our Traceparent header, and use it to start a new transaction. By starting a transaction with this traceparent header we’ll be linking the sending and receiving via distributed tracing.

// uses the traceparent to start a transaction

sqs.receiveMessage(params, function(err, data) {
  if(!data.Messages) {

  // loop over your returned messages
  for(const message of data.Messages) { 
    // start a transaction to process each message, using our previously
    // saved distributed tracing traceparent header
    let traceparent
    if(message.MessageAttributes.MyTraceparent) {
        traceparent = message.MessageAttributes.MyTraceparent.StringValue
    const transactionMessage = apm.startTransaction('RECEIVE_TRANSACTION', 'cli', {
    /* ... process message ... */

Even though we only scheduled one queue message, Amazon’s SQS API returns an array of multiple messages. Therefore we’ll need to loop over each one.

We extract the traceparent header we’d previously save, and use it to start a transaction.

Once we’re done processing a single message, we end the transaction and move on to the next.