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Integration between Finagle tracing to Zipkin transports including http, kafka and scribe.

Quick start

Finagle will use a tracer that it detects in the classpath. For example, depending on io.zipkin.finagle2:zipkin-finagle-http_2.12 will send to Zipkin over Http.

You can look at the example for this in use.

Choosing a tracer explicitly

You can also explicitly choose a tracer, which is more reliable, at the tradeoff of more configuration.

Here an example initializing an http client in scala and java

client = Http.client
             .withTracer(new HttpZipkinTracer())
             .withLabel("frontend") // becomes the zipkin service name
client = Http$.MODULE$.client()
              .withTracer(new HttpZipkinTracer())
              .withLabel("frontend") // becomes the zipkin service name

Note on service names

Sometimes labels used in Finagle do not match the intent of the Zipkin service name. If your traces or dependency graph looks incorrect, set the flag zipkin.localServiceName. This will ignore any of the labels set by servers. In clients, the ServiceName recorded by Finagle will be moved to span.remoteEndpoint.serviceName in Zipkin under the assumption that it was intended to name the remote host.


Global Flags

zipkin-finagle configuration is via global flags.

Global flags can either be set by system property, or commandline argument (ex if using TwitterServer).

Ex the following are equivalent ways to trace every request:

$ java -Dzipkin.localServiceName=favstar  -Dzipkin.initialSampleRate=1.0 ...
$ java -cp my-twitter-server.jar -zipkin.localServiceName=favstar -zipkin.initialSampleRate=1.0

Here are the flags that apply to all transports:

Flag Default Description
zipkin.localServiceName unknown Overrides any ServiceName annotation set by Finagle. Controls Span.localEndpoint.serviceName in Zipkin.
zipkin.initialSampleRate 0.001 (0.1%) Percentage of traces to sample (report to zipkin) in the range [0.0 - 1.0]

Http Configuration

Adding io.zipkin.finagle2:zipkin-finagle-http_2.12 to your classpath will configure Finagle to report trace data to a Zipkin server via HTTP.

Here are the flags that apply to Http:

Flag Default Description localhost:9411 The network location of the Zipkin http service. See
zipkin.http.hostHeader zipkin The Host header used when sending spans to Zipkin
zipkin.http.path /api/v2/spans The path to the spans endpoint
zipkin.http.compressionEnabled true True implies that spans will be gzipped before transport
zipkin.http.tlsEnabled false Whether or not the Zipkin host uses TLS
zipkin.http.tlsValidationEnabled true Whether or not to enable TLS validation for the Zipkin host when TLS is enabled

Ex. Here's how to configure the Zipkin server with a system property:

$ java ...

Kafka Configuration

Adding io.zipkin.finagle2:zipkin-finagle-kafka_2.12 to your classpath will configure Finagle to report trace data to a Kafka topic. The minimum Kafka server version is 0.10

Here are the flags that apply to Kafka:

Flag Default Description
zipkin.kafka.bootstrapServers localhost:9092 Initial set of kafka servers to connect to, rest of cluster will be discovered (comma separated)
zipkin.kafka.topic zipkin Kafka topic zipkin traces will be sent to

Ex. Here's how to configure the Kafka server with a system property:

$ java -Dzipkin.kafka.bootstrapServers= ...

Scribe Configuration

Adding io.zipkin.finagle2:zipkin-finagle-scribe_2.12 to your classpath will configure Finagle to report trace data to the zipkin category of Scribe.

Here are the flags that apply to Scribe:

Flag Default Description localhost:1463 The network location of the Scribe service. See

Ex. Here's how to configure the Scribe host with a system property. In this case pointing directly to a zipkin server:

$ java ...


You can also configure zipkin tracers programmatically. Here's an example:

HttpZipkinTracer.Config config = HttpZipkinTracer.Config.builder()
    // The frontend makes a sampling decision (via Trace.letTracerAndId) and propagates it downstream.
    // This property says sample 100% of traces.
    // All servers need to point to the same zipkin transport

Tracer tracer = HttpZipkinTracer.create(config,
    // print stats about zipkin to the console
    new JavaLoggerStatsReceiver(Logger.getAnonymousLogger()));


You may need to use alternative reporters like zipkin-aws, control configuration not available in flags, or change metrics reporting configuration. To do that, use ZipkinReporter.newBuilder() and supply the arguments you need.

// Setup a sender without using Finagle flags like so:
Properties overrides = new Properties();
overrides.put(ProducerConfig.MAX_BLOCK_MS_CONFIG, 5000);
sender = KafkaSender.newBuilder()

zipkinStats = stats.scope("zipkin");
spanReporter = AsyncReporter.builder(sender)
  .metrics(new ReporterMetricsAdapter(zipkinStats)) // routes reporter metrics to finagle stats

// Now, use it here, but don't forget to close the sender!
tracer = ZipkinTracer.newBuilder(spanReporter).stats(zipkinStats).build();


The following metrics are reported under a transport-specific category to the configured StatsReceiver. For example, if using kafka, they are reported relative to "zipkin.kafka".

Metric Description
spans the count of spans recorded by the tracer
span_bytes the count of encoded span bytes recorded by the tracer
spans_dropped the count of spans dropped for any reason. For example, failure queueing or sending.
messages the count of messages sent to zipkin. Ex POST requests or Kafka messages.
message_bytes the count of encoded message bytes sent. This includes encoding overhead and excludes compression.
messages_dropped/exception_class_name+ count of messages dropped broken down by cause.
span_queue_size last count of spans in the pending queue
span_queue_bytes last count of encoded span bytes in the pending queue


Integration between Finagle tracing to Zipkin transports such as http and kafka





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