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Quickstart for using the Vercel OpenTelemetry Collector

Learn how to get started with OTEL on Vercel to send traces from your Serverless or Edge Functions to application performance monitoring (APM) vendors.
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Vercel's OpenTelemetry collector is available in Beta on Pro and Enterprise plans

Vercel has an OpenTelemetry (OTEL) collector that allows you to send OTEL traces from your Serverless or Edge Functions to application performance monitoring (APM) vendors such as New Relic.

The use of the OTEL collector is recommended due to improved performance, but not strictly required. If desired, you can configure the OTEL SDK to use custom trace exporters.

Traces are a way to collect data about the performance and behavior of your application and help identify the cause of performance issues, errors, and other problems. Learn more about traces in the OpenTelemetry docs.

To start using OpenTelemetry on Vercel, follow the steps below. This guide gives examples using Next.js and other frameworks where you can use Serverless or Edge Functions.

  • You must be using an OTEL Integration:
    • New Relic: Available in Beta to teams on Pro and Enterprise plans by following the steps below
    • DataDog: Available in Private Beta to teams on the Enterprise plan. To get access contact your CSM and follow the steps below
  1. Select an integration from the Observability category in the Marketplace (such as DataDog or New Relic).

    Datadog integration support for OTEL is only available to teams on the Enterprise plan. You must contact your CSM to get access.

    Click the Add Integration button to begin the installation and follow each step to add the correct Scope.

    If you already have installed an OTEL integration, you can skip this step.

  2. To use OTEL, you must enable Traces for the Integration. You can do this either during initial setup, or if you already have the integration installed, select Manage next to the Integration in the Integrations tab and then select Configure.

  3. For JavaScript and Typescript users on Vercel, you can use the @vercel/otel package to call the correct OpenTelemetry SDK for you.

    Install the OpenTelemetry JavaScript SDK and @vercel/otel:

    pnpm i @opentelemetry/api @vercel/otel

    Create an instrumentation.ts file in the root of your project and add the following code to initialize and configure OTEL using @vercel/otel.

    import { registerOTel } from '@vercel/otel';
    export function register() {
      registerOTel({ serviceName: 'your-project-name' });
    // NOTE: You can replace `your-project-name` with the actual name of your project

    Before receiving traces from an APM vendor (such as DataDog), it may be necessary to first create the service you intend to use as a serviceName within the service catalog. Refer to the APM vendor's documentation for specific requirements.

  4. Next.js 13.4+ supports auto-instrumentation which means you no longer have to create a span for each request. To use this feature, you must explicitly opt-in by adding experimental.instrumentationHook = true to your next.config.js.

    For more information, please refer to the Next.js docs for auto-instrumentation.

  5. If you have an existing project, you must trigger a redeployment to use traces.

    You can either deploy your project through the dashboard or through the CLI.

The use of OTEL collector is recommended due to its performance benefits. However, if you need to export tracing to an unsupported APM vendor, you can do so using environment variables or configuration options in the @vercel/otel package.

Most of OpenTelemetry's SDK environment variables are supported by @vercel/otel, including OTLP exporter variables. You can configure these variables using Vercel's environment variables.

And you can supply completely custom exporter using the traceExporter or spanProcessors configuration options in the registerOTel() API.

import { registerOTel } from '@vercel/otel';
import { MyCustomExporter } from './my-custom-exporter';
export function register() {
    serviceName: 'your-project-name',
    traceExporter: new MyCustomExporter(),
Last updated on July 13, 2024