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Local Forwarder is an agent that collects Application Insights or OpenCensus telemetry from a variety of SDKs and routes it to the Application Insights backend.
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README.md

Local Forwarder

Background

Local Forwarder is an agent that collects Application Insights or OpenCensus telemetry from a variety of SDKs and routes it to the Application Insights backend. It's capable of running under Windows and Linux. You may also be able to run it under macOS, but that is not officially supported at this time.

Running Local Forwarder

Local Forwarder is an open source project on GitHub. There is a variety of ways to run Local Forwarder across multiple platforms.

Windows

Windows Service

The most natural way of running Local Forwarder under Windows is by installing it as a Windows Service. The release comes with a Windows Service executable (WindowsServiceHost/Microsoft.LocalForwarder.WindowsServiceHost.exe) which can be easily registered with the OS by running a script similar to the following:

Register a service and configure it to start at system boot.

sc create "Local Forwarder" binpath= "WindowsServiceHost\Microsoft.LocalForwarder.WindowsServiceHost.exe" start= auto

Configure the service to restart automatically if it fails for any reason.

sc failure "Local Forwarder" reset= 432000 actions= restart/1000/restart/1000/restart/1000

Start the service immediately.

sc start "Local Forwarder"

Once the service is registered, use Windows tools to manage it.

Console application

For certain use cases it might be beneficial to run Local Forwarder as a console application. The release comes with the following executable versions of the console host:

  • a framework-dependent .NET Core binary /ConsoleHost/publish/Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.dll. Running this binary requires a .NET Core runtime to be installed; refer to this download page for details.
E:\uncdrop\ConsoleHost\publish>dotnet Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.dll
  • a self-contained .NET Core set of binaries for x86 and x64 platforms. These don't require .NET Core runtime to run. /ConsoleHost/win-x86/publish/Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.exe, /ConsoleHost/win-x64/publish/Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.exe.
E:\uncdrop\ConsoleHost\win-x86\publish>Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.exe
E:\uncdrop\ConsoleHost\win-x64\publish>Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.exe

Linux

Same as for Windows, the release comes with the following executable versions of the console host:

  • a framework-dependent .NET Core binary /ConsoleHost/publish/Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.dll. Running this binary requires a .NET Core runtime to be installed; refer to this download page for details.
dotnet Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.dll
  • a self-contained .NET Core set of binaries for linux-64. This one doesn't require .NET Core runtime to run. /ConsoleHost/linux-x64/publish/Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.
user@machine:~/ConsoleHost/linux-x64/publish$ sudo chmod +x Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost
user@machine:~/ConsoleHost/linux-x64/publish$ ./Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost

Many Linux users will want to run Local Forwarder as a daemon. Linux systems come with a variety of solutions for service management, like Upstart, sysv, or systemd. Whatever your particular version is, you can use it to run Local Forwarder in a way which is most appropriate for your scenario.

As an example, let's create a daemon service using systemd. We'll use the framework-dependent version, but the same can be done for a self-contained one as well.

  • create the following service file named localforwarder.service and place it into /lib/systemd/system. This sample assumes your user name is SAMPLE_USER and you've copied Local Forwarder framework-dependent binaries (from /ConsoleHost/publish) to /home/SAMPLE_USER/LOCALFORWARDER_DIR.
# localforwarder.service
# Place this file into /lib/systemd/system/
# Use 'systemctl enable localforwarder' to start the service automatically on each boot
# Use 'systemctl start localforwarder' to start the service immediately

[Unit]
Description=Local Forwarder service
After=network.target
StartLimitIntervalSec=0

[Service]
Type=simple
Restart=always
RestartSec=1
User=SAMPLE_USER
WorkingDirectory=/home/SAMPLE_USER/LOCALFORWARDER_DIR
ExecStart=/usr/bin/env dotnet /home/SAMPLE_USER/LOCALFORWARDER_DIR/Microsoft.LocalForwarder.ConsoleHost.dll noninteractive

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
  • Run the following command to instruct systemd to start Local Forwarder on every boot
systemctl enable localforwarder
  • Run the following command to instruct systemd to start Local Forwarder immediately
systemctl start localforwarder
  • Monitor the service by inspecting *.log files in the /home/SAMPLE_USER/LOCALFORWARDER_DIR directory.

Mac

You may be able to run Local Forwarder under macOS, but that is not officially supported at this time.

Self-hosting

Local Forwarder is also distributed as a .NET Standard NuGet package, allowing you to host it inside your own .NET application.

//!!! TODO include details for downloading NuGet

using Library;
...
Host host = new Host();

// see section below on configuring Local Forwarder
string configuration = ...;
    
host.Run(config, TimeSpan.FromSeconds(5));
...
host.Stop();

Docker

Until we publish the official image, feel free to build one yourself. You may find an example in https://github.com/Microsoft/ApplicationInsights-LocalForwarder/blob/master/examples/opencensus.

Configuring Local Forwarder

  • When running one of Local Forwarder's own hosts (Console Host or Windows Service Host), you will find LocalForwarder.config placed next to the binary.
  • When self-hosting the Local Forwarder NuGet, the configuration of the same format must be provided in code (see section on self-hosting). For the configuration syntax, please see LocalForwarder.config in the GitHub repository. Note that configuration may change from release to release, so pay attention to which version you're using.

Monitoring Local Forwarder

Traces are written out to the file system next to the executable that runs Local Forwarder (look for *.log files). You can place a file with a name of NLog.config next to the executable to provide your own configuration in place of the default one. See documentation for the description of the format. If no configuration file is provided (which is the default), Local Forwarder will use the default configuration which can be found here.

Distributed tracing with OpenCensus

OpenCensus is a vendor-agnostic single distribution of libraries to provide metrics collection and tracing for your services. OpenCensus for Python and Go allows to export data to LocalForwarder (and support for Java is on the way). You may find more information on how to configure it on https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/application-insights/opencensus-python and https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/application-insights/opencensus-go.

Please check out the full example demonstrating OpenCensus instrumentation for golang and python web server applications in this repo: https://github.com/Microsoft/ApplicationInsights-LocalForwarder/blob/master/examples/opencensus

Contributing

This project welcomes contributions and suggestions. Most contributions require you to agree to a Contributor License Agreement (CLA) declaring that you have the right to, and actually do, grant us the rights to use your contribution. For details, visit https://cla.microsoft.com.

When you submit a pull request, a CLA-bot will automatically determine whether you need to provide a CLA and decorate the PR appropriately (e.g., label, comment). Simply follow the instructions provided by the bot. You will only need to do this once across all repos using our CLA.

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct.

For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact opencode@microsoft.com with any additional questions or comments.

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