Exemplars in Practice: Finding the Needle in Your Observability Haystack

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 4:00 pm–4:45 pm

Gibbs Cullen, Chronosphere


A common desire among SREs is to have the ability to quickly jump between different data types. For example, being able to jump from a dashboard showing a metric to the distributed traces that the metric represents. Vendors have come up with various proprietary approaches to meet this need with varying degrees of success, but open-source solutions have started to gravitate towards the idea of exemplars to provide a common solution to this problem.

In this talk, Gibbs will give an introduction to exemplars and the open-source tracing landscape (e.g. OpenTelemetry), and will discuss how exemplars give SREs a straightforward path to jump from a metric on a dashboard to a trace related to that metric. She will explore some limitations around exemplars, and present an alternative method for linking metrics and distributed traces—ultimately making "finding the needle in the observability haystack" easier and more efficient for SREs.

Gibbs Cullen, Chronosphere

Gibbs Cullen is a developer advocate at Chronosphere and makes it possible for the community to understand the concepts behind Prometheus and using M3 as a long term storage, in addition to helping the community with best practices in alerting, monitoring and configuring their deployment of Prometheus and M3 in Kubernetes. Prior to Chronosphere she was a product manager on the AWS Data Lab team.

SREcon22 Americas Open Access Sponsored by Blameless

@conference {278132,
author = {Gibbs Cullen},
title = {Exemplars in Practice: Finding the Needle in Your Observability Haystack},
year = {2022},
address = {San Francisco, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar,

Presentation Video