Fueling innovative software
July 15-18, 2019
Portland, OR

Untangling the knots with distributed tracing

Isobel Redelmeier (LightStep)
4:15pm4:55pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Live Coding ONLY
Location: Portland 252
Secondary topics:  Open Source
Average rating: ***..
(3.17, 12 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Software engineers, tech leads, SREs, and DevOps engineers




You’re sick of grepping through logs all day, hunting down the root cause of last night’s outage. Your team dreams of refactoring to a better architecture but struggles to get started amid the mountain of spaghetti code. Your production meets all performance objectives only because you can’t even measure it. Distributed tracing can help you solve all of these problems (and more). But before you can leverage tracing in your code, you first need to actually add the tracing.

Join Isobel Redelmeier to learn how to instrument an existing code base. You’ll start somewhere several levels worse off than “Hello, world” with a ball of mud more akin to reality than the greenfield slate so many tutorials seem to think everyone is perpetually blessed with and discover how to instrument not only your own code but also your favorite libraries and frameworks out there.

The session uses Python, but the concepts should be equally applicable to your preferred language.

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of distributed knowledge and backends (e.g., HTTP request/response model, SQL, or other data store)
  • Experience coding in Python or another programming language

What you'll learn

  • Learn to add distributed tracing to existing systems, instrument OSS libraries and frameworks with tracing, and combine distributed tracing with other observability tooling
  • Discover what you get for free or cheap versus when your code needs more effort
Photo of Isobel Redelmeier

Isobel Redelmeier


Isobel Redelmeier works on open source software at LightStep, where she focuses on OpenTracing and other observability solutions to improve performance management across distributed systems. She learned firsthand how difficult, and how valuable, observability can be when working at Pivotal, where she pushed code in about 10 languages to different production systems while working with Pivotal Labs. She later focused on security in Cloud Foundry.