OpenTelemetry native supportedit

The Elastic Stack natively supports the OpenTelemetry protocol (OTLP). This means trace data and metrics collected from your applications and infrastructure can be sent directly to the Elastic Stack.

Send data from an OpenTelemetry collectoredit

Connect your OpenTelemetry collector instances to Elastic Observability using the OTLP exporter:

  # ...

  # ...
    check_interval: 1s
    limit_mib: 2000

    verbosity: detailed 
    # Elastic APM server https endpoint without the "https://" prefix
    endpoint: "${env:ELASTIC_APM_SERVER_ENDPOINT}"  
      # Elastic APM Server secret token
      Authorization: "Bearer ${env:ELASTIC_APM_SECRET_TOKEN}"  

      receivers: [otlp]
      exporters: [debug, otlp/elastic]
      receivers: [otlp]
      exporters: [debug, otlp/elastic]
      receivers: [otlp]
      exporters: [debug, otlp/elastic]

The receivers, like the OTLP receiver, that forward data emitted by APM agents, or the host metrics receiver.

We recommend using the Batch processor and the memory limiter processor. For more information, see recommended processors.

The debug exporter is helpful for troubleshooting, and supports configurable verbosity levels: basic (default), normal, and detailed.

Elastic Observability endpoint configuration. APM Server supports a ProtoBuf payload via both the OTLP protocol over gRPC transport (OTLP/gRPC) and the OTLP protocol over HTTP transport (OTLP/HTTP). To learn more about these exporters, see the OpenTelemetry Collector documentation: OTLP/HTTP Exporter or OTLP/gRPC exporter.

Hostname and port of the APM Server endpoint. For example, elastic-apm-server:8200.

Credential for Elastic APM secret token authorization (Authorization: "Bearer a_secret_token") or API key authorization (Authorization: "ApiKey an_api_key").

Environment-specific configuration parameters can be conveniently passed in as environment variables documented here (e.g. ELASTIC_APM_SERVER_ENDPOINT and ELASTIC_APM_SECRET_TOKEN).

[preview] This functionality is in technical preview and may be changed or removed in a future release. Elastic will work to fix any issues, but features in technical preview are not subject to the support SLA of official GA features. To send OpenTelemetry logs to Elastic Stack version 8.0+, declare a logs pipeline.

You’re now ready to export traces and metrics from your services and applications.

When using the OpenTelemetry collector, you should always prefer sending data via the OTLP exporter to an Elastic APM Server. Other methods, like using the elasticsearch exporter to send data directly to Elasticsearch will send data to the Elastic Stack, but will bypass all of the validation and data processing that the APM Server performs. In addition, your data will not be viewable in the Kibana Observability apps if you use the elasticsearch exporter.

Send data from an OpenTelemetry agentedit

To export traces and metrics to APM Server, instrument your services and applications with the OpenTelemetry API, SDK, or both. For example, if you are a Java developer, you need to instrument your Java app with the OpenTelemetry agent for Java. See the OpenTelemetry Instrumentation guides to download the OpenTelemetry Agent or SDK for your language.

Define environment variables to configure the OpenTelemetry agent and enable communication with Elastic APM. For example, if you are instrumenting a Java app, define the following environment variables:

export OTEL_EXPORTER_OTLP_ENDPOINT=https://apm_server_url:8200
export OTEL_EXPORTER_OTLP_HEADERS="Authorization=Bearer an_apm_secret_token"
export OTEL_LOGS_EXPORTER="otlp" \ 
java -javaagent:/path/to/opentelemetry-javaagent-all.jar \
     -classpath lib/*:classes/ \

[preview] This functionality is in technical preview and may be changed or removed in a future release. Elastic will work to fix any issues, but features in technical preview are not subject to the support SLA of official GA features. The OpenTelemetry logs intake via APM Server is currently in technical preview.


Fields that describe the service and the environment that the service runs in. See resource attributes for more information.


APM Server URL. The host and port that APM Server listens for events on.


Authorization header that includes the Elastic APM Secret token or API key: "Authorization=Bearer an_apm_secret_token" or "Authorization=ApiKey an_api_key".

For information on how to format an API key, see API keys.

Please note the required space between Bearer and an_apm_secret_token, and ApiKey and an_api_key.


Metrics exporter to use. See exporter selection for more information.


Logs exporter to use. See exporter selection for more information.

You are now ready to collect traces and metrics before verifying metrics and visualizing metrics in Kibana.

Proxy requests to APM Serveredit

APM Server supports both the OTLP/gRPC and OTLP/HTTP protocol on the same port as Elastic APM agent requests. For ease of setup, we recommend using OTLP/HTTP when proxying or load balancing requests to the APM Server.

If you use the OTLP/gRPC protocol, requests to the APM Server must use either HTTP/2 over TLS or HTTP/2 Cleartext (H2C). No matter which protocol is used, OTLP/gRPC requests will have the header: "Content-Type: application/grpc".

When using a layer 7 (L7) proxy like AWS ALB, requests must be proxied in a way that ensures requests to the APM Server follow the rules outlined above. For example, with ALB you can create rules to select an alternative backend protocol based on the headers of requests coming into ALB. In this example, you’d select the gRPC protocol when the "Content-Type: application/grpc" header exists on a request.

For more information on how to configure an AWS ALB to support gRPC, see this AWS blog post: Application Load Balancer Support for End-to-End HTTP/2 and gRPC.

For more information on how APM Server services gRPC requests, see Muxing gRPC and HTTP/1.1.

Next stepsedit