Sending OpenTelemetry data to Grafana Cloud


In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, the need for observability has become paramount. As applications and infrastructure grow more complex, the ability to understand, monitor, and troubleshoot their behavior in real-time is a fundamental requirement. This is where Grafana Cloud and OpenTelemetry, as dynamic tools, enter the scene.

What are we going to look at in this blog post

In this blog post, we will explore the powerful synergy between Grafana Cloud and OpenTelemetry. We'll delve into how to send data to Grafana Cloud to use the game-changing potential of OpenTelemetry for monitoring, tracing and logging.

Why should you read this blog post

Whether you are an experienced developer looking to improve your observability stack or a newcomer to the world of monitoring, tracing and logging, this blog post is intended to provide you with a starting point and a practical example of using OpenTelemetry data in Grafana Cloud.

What is Grafana Cloud?

Grafana Cloud is a comprehensive observability platform designed to empower organizations to gain deep insights into their applications and infrastructure. Born out of the open-source Grafana project, it extends the capabilities of Grafana to provide a unified, cloud-based solution for monitoring, visualization, and alerting. It offers an forever free plan to getting started on observability.

What is OpenTelemetry

OpenTelemetry is an open-source project that aims to standardize and simplify the collection of observability data in software applications. It provides a framework and a set of APIs to instrument, collect, and transmit telemetry data, which includes metrics, traces, and logs. OpenTelemetry is a critical component in modern observability and monitoring solutions, allowing developers to gain insights into the behavior and performance of their applications and systems.

Integrating Grafana Cloud with OpenTelemetry

In order to see hands on, how we can integrate Grafana Cloud with OpenTelemetry, we can use the already instrumented microservice demo application provided by OpenTelemetry, which will be referred to as OTel-Demo from now on.


  • A Kubernetes cluster: For this demonstration we are going to use a simple k3d cluster which will need Docker to run, but you may use any other cluster you are comfortable with.
  • We will use Helm to install the OTel-Demo.
  • A Grafana Cloud account.
  • (Optional) k9s: k9s makes managing your cluster easier and is therefore our tool recommendation!


Once you have met the prerequisites, we can start by adding the OpenTelemetry Helm repo:

1helm repo add open-telemetry

Before we can deploy the Helm chart, we need to get a few things, which can be found in the Grafana Cloud Portal (to access the portal you can click on one of the links at the top of the landing page of Grafana Cloud).

Grafana Cloud Portal

The following URLs and Usernames are found in the Details page of the corresponding Integration:

  • Prometheus Integration:
    • Note the Prometheus Remote Write endpoint as <PROMETHEUS-URL>.
    • Record the "Username" as <PROMETHEUS-USER-ID> (e.g. 12345).
  • Tempo Integration:
    • Capture the Tempo URL and derive the <TEMPO-URL-WITHOUT-HTTPS> by extracting the hostname and port (e.g.
    • Note the "Username" as <TEMPO-USER-ID>.
  • Loki Integration:
  • Access Policy and Token:
    • Establish an Access Policy and generate a token with write permissions for logs, traces, and metrics, referred to as <ACCESS-POLICY-TOKEN>.

With all the URLs, Usernames and the Token in our possession, we can create a custom values.yaml file for our Helm deployment und replace everything within < > with the correct values.

 2  envOverrides:
 4    value: <KUBERNETES-NODE-NAME> # kubectl get nodes
 7  mode: daemonset
 8  presets:
 9    logsCollection:
10      enabled: true
11      includeCollectorLogs: false
12  config:
13    extensions:
14      basicauth/traces:
15        client_auth:
16          username: <TEMPO-USER-ID>
17          password: <ACCESS-POLICY-TOKEN>
18      basicauth/metrics:
19        client_auth:
20          username: <PROMETHEUS-USER-ID>
21          password: <ACCESS-POLICY-TOKEN>
22      basicauth/logs:
23        client_auth:
24          username: <LOKI-USER-ID>
25          password: <ACCESS-POLICY-TOKEN>
27    exporters:
28      otlp:
29        endpoint: <TEMPO-URL-WITHOUT-HTTPS>
30        tls:
31          insecure: false
32        auth:
33          authenticator: basicauth/traces
35      prometheusremotewrite:
36        endpoint: <PROMETHEUS-URL>
37        auth:
38          authenticator: basicauth/metrics
40      loki:
41        endpoint: <LOKI-URL>
42        auth:
43          authenticator: basicauth/logs
45    processors:
46      spanmetrics:
47        metrics_exporter: prometheusremotewrite
49    service:
50      extensions: [ basicauth/traces, basicauth/metrics, basicauth/logs, health_check , memory_ballast ]
51      pipelines:
52        metrics:
53          exporters: [prometheusremotewrite]
54        logs:
55          receivers: [filelog]
56          exporters: [loki]

Access Token

With everything ready, lets deploy our Helm chart:

1helm upgrade --install my-otel-demo open-telemetry/opentelemetry-demo --values values.yaml

Now we will be able to use the Explorer tap in Grafana Cloud to view our logs, traces and metrics, as well as expose the frontend of the demo application, we just deployed:

  • Exposing the application using port-forward:
1kubectl port-forward svc/my-otel-demo-frontendproxy 8080:8080
  • Using k9s:

k9s port-forward

Logs with Loki

On the Explorer tap switch to the Loki data source and explore the logs:


Metrics with Prometheus

On the Explorer tap switch to the Prometheus data source and explore the metrics:


Traces with Tempo

On the Explorer tap switch to the Tempo data source and explore the traces:


Custom Dashboards

On the right upper corner of Grafana Cloud we can use the “+“ sign to add new dashboards. We can import predefined dashboards like the “HTTP Metrics OpenTelemetry“ dashboard, using the ID: 18860

HTTP Metrics OpenTelemetry

In Conclusion

In this blog post, we covered the following topics:

  • Grafana Cloud: A comprehensive observability platform, born from Grafana, providing unified cloud-based monitoring and visualization, with a free starting plan.
  • OpenTelemetry: An open-source project standardizing observability data collection in software, simplifying metrics, traces, and logs instrumentation for valuable insights into application performance.
  • How to connect an application generating OTLP data with Grafana Cloud Metrics, Traces and Logs through the OpenTelemetry Collector.
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