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OpenTelemetry Binary Usage in Virtual Machine


This tutorial shows how you can deploy OpenTelemetry binary an agent, which collects telemetry data. Data such as traces, metrics and logs generated by applications most likely running in the same virtual machine (VM).

It can also be used for collecting data from other VMs in the same cluster, data center or region, however binary is not recommended in that scenerio but container or deployment which can be easily scaled.

In this guide, you will also learn to set up hostmetrics receiver to collect metrics from the VM and view in SigNoz.


  • SigNoz application up and running
  • SigNoz endpoint accessible from the VM
  • availability of ports: 4317, 4318, 8888, 1777, 13133


You can obtain OpenTelemetry collector binary in the assets of each releases: open-telemetry/opentelemetry-collector-releases/releases. There are two ways of installation with binary release assets: deb as systemd and tar.gz as plain binary.


Using deb file, OpenTelemetry Collector will be installed as a systemd and default configuration prepopulated at /etc/otelcol-contrib path. This method would be preferable in case you want the OpenTelemetry collector to always be running in the background.

To download deb file of release version 0.55.0:


In case of different OpenTelemetry collector version, replace 0.55.0 with respective version.

To install otelcol as systemd using dpkg:

sudo dpkg -i otelcol-contrib_0.55.0_linux_amd64.deb

Plain Binary

Using tar.gz release asset, we can extract the OpenTelemetry collector binary and default configuration at our desired path. We can run the binary directly with flags either use `tmux

To download tar.gz file of release version 0.55.0:


In case of different OpenTelemetry collector version, replace 0.55.0 with respective version.

To create otelcol folder and extract files from tar.gz to newly created folder:

mkdir otelcol-contrib && tar xvzf otelcol-contrib_0.55.0_linux_amd64.tar.gz -C otelcol-contrib/

OpenTelemetry Collector Configuration

Let's download standalone configuration for otelcol binary running in the VM:


Replace <IP of machine hosting SigNoz> with the address to SigNoz in configuration highlighted below:

endpoint: "<IP of machine hosting SigNoz>:4317"
insecure: true

In the configuration above, we enable three receivers: OTLP, hostmetrics and prometheus.

OTLP receiver is configured to receive all types of telemetry data: traces, metrics and logs. These data would be forwarded to SigNoz via OTLP gRPC endpoint.

hostmetrics receiver is configured to collect various metrics of the virtual machine. It consists of metrics related to CPU, memory, disk, file system, network, and others.

prometheus receiver is configured to collect the internal metrics of the otelcol. You can update it as per your need to include additional scrape targets accessible from the VM or remove existing targets.

OpenTelemetry Collector Usage

You copy the configuration file to the respective config paths as per your installation methods. Followed by respective instructions to start, restart, and view logs of the otelcol binary.


To copy the updated config.yaml file:

sudo cp config.yaml /etc/otelcol-contrib/config.yaml

To restart otelcol with updated config:

sudo systemctl restart otelcol-contrib.service

To check status of otelcol:

sudo systemctl status otelcol-contrib.service

To view logs of otelcol:

sudo journalctl -u otelcol-contrib.service

To stop of otelcol:

sudo systemctl stop otelcol-contrib.service

Plain Binary

It is recommended to use the otelcol binary inside terminal multiplexer tools like tmux or screen, since plain binary usage is ephemeral.

To copy the updated config.yaml file:

cp config.yaml ./otelcol-contrib/config.yaml

To change directory inside otelcol-contrib folder:

cd otelcol-contrib

To start otelcol with updated config:

./otelcol-contrib --config ./config.yaml &> otelcol-output.log & echo "$!" > otel-pid

To view last 50 lines of otelcol logs:

tail -f -n 50 otelcol-output.log

To stop otelcol:

kill "$(< otel-pid)"

Test Sending Traces

OpenTelemetry collector binary should be able to forward all types of telemetry data recevied: traces, metrics, and logs, to SigNoz OTLP endpoint via gRPC.

Let's send sample traces to the otelcol using tracegen.

To install tracegen binary:

go install[email protected]

To send trace data using tracegen, execute the command below:

tracegen -traces 1 -otlp-endpoint localhost:4317 -otlp-insecure

Output should look like this:

2022-09-30T14:23:20.439+0545 INFO channelz/funcs.go:340 [core][Channel #1] Channel Connectivity change to READY {"system": "grpc", "grpc_log": true}
2022-09-30T14:23:20.439+0545 INFO tracegen/config.go:105 generation of traces isn't being throttled
2022-09-30T14:23:20.440+0545 INFO tracegen/worker.go:91 traces generated {"worker": 0, "traces": 1}
2022-09-30T14:23:20.440+0545 INFO [email protected]/main.go:98 stop the batch span processor
2022-09-30T14:23:20.742+0545 INFO channelz/funcs.go:340 [core][Channel #1] Channel Connectivity change to SHUTDOWN {"system": "grpc", "grpc_log": true}
2022-09-30T14:23:20.742+0545 INFO channelz/funcs.go:340 [core][Channel #1 SubChannel #2] Subchannel Connectivity change to SHUTDOWN {"system": "grpc", "grpc_log": true}
2022-09-30T14:23:20.742+0545 INFO channelz/funcs.go:340 [core][Channel #1 SubChannel #2] Subchannel deleted {"system": "grpc", "grpc_log": true}
2022-09-30T14:23:20.742+0545 INFO channelz/funcs.go:340 [core][Channel #1] Channel deleted {"system": "grpc", "grpc_log": true}
2022-09-30T14:23:20.742+0545 INFO [email protected]/main.go:89 stopping the exporter

If the SigNoz endpoint in the configuration is set correctly and accessible, you should be able to see the traces sent via OpenTelemetry collector in VM from tracegen in the SigNoz UI.

traces generated by tracegen

HostMetrics Dashboard

In this section, we will generate and import dashboard with VM HostMetrics. It involves two steps: generting dashboard JSON using bash script and importing dashboard JSON in SigNoz UI.

To generate HostMetrics dashboards for the VM:

curl -sL | bash

Output should look similar to the following:

✅ Succesfully generated Host Metrics dashboard: signoz-hostmetrics-one-piece.json

After importing the dashboard JSON, we should see the following dashboard in SigNoz UI:

hostmetrics dashboard

List of metrics

Virtual Machine Metrics - hostmetrics
  • system_network_connections
  • system_disk_weighted_io_time
  • system_disk_merged
  • system_disk_operation_time
  • system_disk_pending_operations
  • system_disk_io_time
  • system_disk_operations
  • system_disk_io
  • system_filesystem_inodes_usage
  • system_filesystem_usage
  • system_cpu_time
  • system_memory_usage
  • system_network_packets
  • system_network_dropped
  • system_network_io
  • system_network_errors
  • system_cpu_load_average_5m
  • system_cpu_load_average_15m
  • system_cpu_load_average_1m