Monitor database/sql with OpenTelemetry

database/sql package provides a lightweight and idiomatic interface to row-oriented databases in Golang. It supports most popular relational DBMS via 3-rd party drivers.

This article will teach you how to monitor database/sql performance using OpenTelemetry observability framework.

What is OpenTelemetry?

OpenTelemetryopen in new window is an open-source observability framework hosted by Cloud Native Computing Foundation. It is a merger of OpenCensus and OpenTracing projects.

OpenTelemetry aims to provide a single standard across all types of observability signals such as OpenTemetry tracingopen in new window, and OpenTelemetry metricsopen in new window.

OpenTelemetry specifies how to collect and send telemetry data to backend platforms. With OpenTelemetry, you can instrument your application once and then add or change vendors without changing the instrumentation.

OpenTelemetry is available for most programming languages and provides interoperability across different languages and environments.


To install database/sql OpenTelemetry instrumentation:

go get

Using database/sql

To instrument database/sql, you need to connect to a database using the API provided by otelsql:

sql.Open(driverName, dsn)otelsql.Open(driverName, dsn)
import (
	semconv ""

db, err := otelsql.Open("sqlite", "file::memory:?cache=shared",
if err != nil {

// db is *sql.DB

And then use context-aware API to propagate the active span via context:

var num int
if err := db.QueryRowContext(ctx, "SELECT 42").Scan(&num); err != nil {

What is Uptrace?

Uptrace is an open source APMopen in new window for OpenTelemetry that helps developers pinpoint failures and find performance bottlenecks. Uptrace can process billions of spans on a single server and allows to monitor your software at 10x lower cost.

You can get startedopen in new window with Uptrace by downloading a DEB/RPM package or a pre-compiled Go binary.

What's next?

Next, instrumentopen in new window more operations, for example, database queries, errors, and logs. You can also learn about OpenTelemetry Go Tracing APIopen in new window to create your own instrumentations.

Popular instrumentations:

See also:

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