Read this guide on how to collect all the telemetry from the .NET Aspire eShop application into an OpenTelemetry backend such as New Relic
.NET Aspire is the new kid on the block when it comes to an opinionated, cloud ready stack for building observable, production ready, distributed applications. Having a built-in dashboard for the monitoring data is nice during development. But how do you configure OpenTelemetry correctly to send into an observability backend? This is what this talk is all about. And you’ll also learn how to send custom attributes by leveraging OpenTelemetry SDKs.
.NET Aspire was first announced and introduced at .NET Conf 2023 Keynote. The challenges it tries to solve are:
- Complex: cloud computing is fundamentally hard.
- Getting Started: for new developers in this space, a first step into cloud native can be overwhelming.
- Choices: developers need to make a lot of choices.
- Paved Path: .NET did not have a golden paved path available for developers to build cloud-native applications.
This is exactly where .NET Aspire comes into play. It comes with the following features as part of the stack:
- Components: curated suite of NuGet packages specifically selected to facilitate the integration of cloud-native applications with prominent services and platforms, including but not limited to Redis and PostgreSQL. Each component furnishes essential cloud-native functionalities through either automatic provisioning or standardized configuration patterns.
- Developer Dashboard: allows you to track closely various aspects of your application, including logs, traces, and environment configurations, in real-time. It’s purpose-built to enhance the local development experience, providing an insightful overview of your app’s state and structure.
- Tooling/Orchestration: .NET Aspire comes with project templates and tooling experiences for Visual Studio and the dotnet CLI help you create and interact with .NET Aspire apps. It also provides features for running and connecting multi-project applications and their dependencies.
eShop demo application
A reference .NET application implementing an eCommerce web site using a services-based architecture.
In the latest version of the application, the source code is already updated to include .NET Aspire as part of the project. You can install the latest .NET 8 SDK and clone the repository. You can run the following commands to install the Aspire workload:
dotnet workload update
dotnet workload install aspire
dotnet restore eShop.Web.slnf
Once you have all the other prerequisites ready on your machine, you can run the application from your terminal with the following command:
dotnet run --project src/eShop.AppHost/eShop.AppHost.csproj
.NET Aspire developer dashboard
Once the application is up and running, you can hop over to the developer dashboard to identify the various resources that are part of the eShop application including the endpoints and URL(s) to reach the running resources directly.
This dashboard also comes with monitoring telemetry including logs, traces and metrics.
.NET Aspire orchestration
.NET Aspire provides APIs for expressing resources and dependencies within your distributed application.
Before continuing, consider some common terminology used in .NET Aspire:
- App model: A collection of resources that make up your distributed application (DistributedApplication). For a more formal definition, see Define the app model.
- App host/Orchestrator project: The .NET project that orchestrates the app model, named with the *.AppHost suffix (by convention).
- Resource: A resource represents a part of an application whether it be a .NET project, container, or executable, or some other resource like a database, cache, or cloud service (such as a storage service).
- Reference: A reference defines a connection between resources, expressed as a dependency. For more information, see Reference resources.
.NET Aspire empowers you to seamlessly build, provision, deploy, configure, test, run, and observe your cloud application. This is achieved through the utilization of an app model that outlines the resources in your app and their relationships.
Sending telemetry to an OpenTelemetry backend such as New Relic
Having a built-in dashboard for the monitoring data is nice during development. In this section I am focusing on how to configure OpenTelemetry correctly to send all telemetry into New Relic as my observability backend of choice.
For the scenario described in this article, I created my own fork of the official eShop application. Within this repository, you will be able to find the app host project that contains its main component.
Lines 17 to 26 define some basic configuration variables that you can provide using environment variables in your terminal.
- NEW_RELIC_LICENSE_KEY: New Relic license key for the OTLP API header value
- NEW_RELIC_REGION: US or EU region configuration for your New Relic account
Based on the New Relic region configuration, the code will define the New Relic OTLP endpoint for OpenTelemetry and us it in the
The rest of the app host project is already prepared to add an environment configuration for each of the projects that are part of the Aspire application. As an example, here is the configuration for the Identity.API project:
var identityApi = builder.AddProject<Projects.Identity_API>("identity-api")
In this fork of the eShop application I have added in some additional environment configuration. Each of the
.WithEnvironment statements adds a necessary environment variable for the service:
- OTEL_EXPORTER_OTLP_ENDPOINT: the OTLP endpoint for all the telemetry for this service, in our case the New Relic OTLP endpoint
- OTEL_EXPORTER_OTLP_HEADERS: the api header value which includes our New Relic license key (
string OTEL_EXPORTER_OTLP_HEADERS = "api-key=" + NEW_RELIC_LICENSE_KEY;)
- OTEL_SERVICE_NAME: the name of the service relevant to create a respective entity in New Relic
The rest of the services are configured appropriately.
Once you configured the environment variables in your terminal (i.e.
NEW_RELIC_REGION), you can go ahead and start the Aspire application with the following command:
dotnet run --project src/eShop.AppHost/eShop.AppHost.csproj
You can confirm whether everything is configured correctly, by looking at the environment and click on the view icon for one of the projects:
OTEL_EXPORTER_OTLP_ENDPOINT should point to the New Relic OTLP endpoint.
After a little while, you should be able to see data from your application visible in the APM & Services - OpenTelemetry section of New Relic:
You can then observe and analyze all your telemetry and fopr example look at the New Relic Service map
… or Distributed Tracing view: