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Tracing

Powertools tracing is an opinionated thin wrapper for AWS X-Ray Java SDK a provides functionality to reduce the overhead of performing common tracing tasks.

Tracing showcase

Key Features

  • Capture cold start as annotation, and responses as well as full exceptions as metadata
  • Helper methods to improve the developer experience of creating new X-Ray subsegments.
  • Better developer experience when developing with multiple threads.
  • Auto patch supported modules by AWS X-Ray

Initialization

Before your use this utility, your AWS Lambda function must have permissions to send traces to AWS X-Ray.

Example using AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM)

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Resources:
    HelloWorldFunction:
        Type: AWS::Serverless::Function
        Properties:
        ...
        Runtime: java8

        Tracing: Active
        Environment:
            Variables:
                POWERTOOLS_SERVICE_NAME: example

The Powertools service name is used as the X-Ray namespace. This can be set using the environment variable POWERTOOLS_SERVICE_NAME

Lambda handler

To enable Powertools tracing to your function add the @Tracing annotation to your handleRequest method or on any method will capture the method as a separate subsegment automatically. You can optionally choose to customize segment name that appears in traces.

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public class App implements RequestHandler<APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent, APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent> {

    @Tracing
    public APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent handleRequest(APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent input, Context context) {
        businessLogic1();

        businessLogic2();
    }

    @Tracing
    public void businessLogic1(){

    }

    @Tracing
    public void businessLogic2(){

    }
}
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public class App implements RequestHandler<APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent, APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent> {

    @Tracing(segmentName="yourCustomName")
    public APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent handleRequest(APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent input, Context context) {
    ...
    }

When using this @Tracing annotation, Utility performs these additional tasks to ease operations:

  • Creates a ColdStart annotation to easily filter traces that have had an initialization overhead.
  • Creates a Service annotation if service parameter or POWERTOOLS_SERVICE_NAME is set.
  • Captures any response, or full exceptions generated by the handler, and include as tracing metadata.

By default, this annotation will automatically record method responses and exceptions. You can change the default behavior by setting the environment variables POWERTOOLS_TRACER_CAPTURE_RESPONSE and POWERTOOLS_TRACER_CAPTURE_ERROR as needed. Optionally, you can override behavior by different supported captureMode to record response, exception or both.

Returning sensitive information from your Lambda handler or functions, where Tracing is used?

You can disable annotation from capturing their responses and exception as tracing metadata with captureMode=DISABLED or globally by setting environment variables POWERTOOLS_TRACER_CAPTURE_RESPONSE and POWERTOOLS_TRACER_CAPTURE_ERROR to false

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public class App implements RequestHandler<APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent, APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent> {

    @Tracing(captureMode=CaptureMode.DISABLED)
    public APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent handleRequest(APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent input, Context context) {
    ...
    }
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Resources:
    HelloWorldFunction:
        Type: AWS::Serverless::Function
        Properties:
        ...
        Runtime: java8

        Tracing: Active
        Environment:
            Variables:
                POWERTOOLS_TRACER_CAPTURE_RESPONSE: false
                POWERTOOLS_TRACER_CAPTURE_ERROR: false

Annotations & Metadata

Annotations are key-values associated with traces and indexed by AWS X-Ray. You can use them to filter traces and to create Trace Groups to slice and dice your transactions.

Metadata are key-values also associated with traces but not indexed by AWS X-Ray. You can use them to add additional context for an operation using any native object.

You can add annotations using putAnnotation() method from TracingUtils

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import software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.Tracing;
import software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.TracingUtils;

public class App implements RequestHandler<APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent, APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent> {

    @Tracing
    public APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent handleRequest(APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent input, Context context) {
        TracingUtils.putAnnotation("annotation", "value");
    }
}

You can add metadata using putMetadata() method from TracingUtils

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import software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.Tracing;
import software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.TracingUtils;

public class App implements RequestHandler<APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent, APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent> {

    @Tracing
    public APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent handleRequest(APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent input, Context context) {
        TracingUtils.putMetadata("content", "value");
    }
}

Override default object mapper

You can optionally choose to override default object mapper which is used to serialize method response and exceptions when enabled. You might want to supply custom object mapper in order to control how serialisation is done, for example, when you want to log only specific fields from received event due to security.

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import software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.Tracing;
import software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.TracingUtils;
import static software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.CaptureMode.RESPONSE;

/**
 * Handler for requests to Lambda function.
 */
public class App implements RequestHandler<APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent, APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent> { 
    static {
        ObjectMapper objectMapper = new ObjectMapper();
        SimpleModule simpleModule = new SimpleModule();
        objectMapper.registerModule(simpleModule);

        TracingUtils.defaultObjectMapper(objectMapper);
    }

    @Tracing(captureMode = RESPONSE)
    public APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent handleRequest(final APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent input, final Context context) {
        ...
    }
}

Utilities

Tracing modules comes with certain utility method when you don't want to use annotation for capturing a code block under a subsegment, or you are doing multithreaded programming. Refer examples below.

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import software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.Tracing;
import software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.TracingUtils;

public class App implements RequestHandler<APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent, APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent> {

    public APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent handleRequest(APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent input, Context context) {
         TracingUtils.withSubsegment("loggingResponse", subsegment -> {
            // Some business logic
         });

         TracingUtils.withSubsegment("localNamespace", "loggingResponse", subsegment -> {
            // Some business logic
         });
    }
}
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import static software.amazon.lambda.powertools.tracing.TracingUtils.withEntitySubsegment;

public class App implements RequestHandler<APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent, APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent> {

    public APIGatewayProxyResponseEvent handleRequest(APIGatewayProxyRequestEvent input, Context context) {
        // Extract existing trace data
        Entity traceEntity = AWSXRay.getTraceEntity();

        Thread anotherThread = new Thread(() -> withEntitySubsegment("inlineLog", traceEntity, subsegment -> {
            // Business logic in separate thread
        }));
    }
}

Instrumenting SDK clients and HTTP calls

User should make sure to instrument the SDK clients explicitly based on the function dependency. Refer details on how to instrument SDK client with Xray and outgoing http calls.

Testing your code

When using @Tracing annotation, your Junit test cases needs to be configured to create parent Segment required by AWS X-Ray SDK for Java.

Below are two ways in which you can configure your tests.

You can choose to configure environment variable on project level for your test cases run. This is recommended approach as it will avoid the need of configuring each test case specifically.

Below are examples configuring your maven/gradle projects. You can choose to configure it differently as well as long as you are making sure that environment variable LAMBDA_TASK_ROOT is set. This variable is used internally via AWS X-Ray SDK to configure itself properly for lambda runtime.

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<build>
    ...
  <plugins>
    <!--  Configures environment variable to avoid initialization of AWS X-Ray segments for each tests-->
      <plugin>
          <groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
          <artifactId>maven-surefire-plugin</artifactId>
          <configuration>
              <environmentVariables>
                  <LAMBDA_TASK_ROOT>handler</LAMBDA_TASK_ROOT>
              </environmentVariables>
          </configuration>
      </plugin>
  </plugins>
</build>
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// Configures environment variable to avoid initialization of AWS X-Ray segments for each tests
test {
    environment "LAMBDA_TASK_ROOT", "handler"
}

You can choose to configure each of your test case instead as well if you choose not to configure environment variable on project level. Below is an example configuration needed for each test case.

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import com.amazonaws.xray.AWSXRay;
import org.junit.After;
import org.junit.Before;
import org.junit.Test;

public class AppTest {

    @Before
    public void setup() {
        if(null == System.getenv("LAMBDA_TASK_ROOT")) {
            AWSXRay.beginSegment("test");
        }
    }

    @After
    public void tearDown() {
        // Needed when using sam build --use-container
        if (AWSXRay.getCurrentSubsegmentOptional().isPresent()) {
            AWSXRay.endSubsegment();
        }

        if(null == System.getenv("LAMBDA_TASK_ROOT")) {
          AWSXRay.endSegment();
        }
    }

    @Test
    public void successfulResponse() {
        // test logic
    }