Open tracing tools: Overview and critical comparison

Andrea Janes, Xiaozhou Li, Valentina Lenarduzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Background: Coping with the rapid growing complexity in contemporary software architecture, tracing has become an increasingly critical practice and been adopted widely by software engineers. By adopting tracing tools, practitioners are able to monitor, debug, and optimize distributed software architectures easily. However, with excessive number of valid candidates, researchers and practitioners have a hard time finding and selecting the suitable tracing tools by systematically considering their features and advantages. Objective: To such a purpose, this paper aims to provide an overview of popular Open tracing tools via comparison. Methods: Herein, we first identified 30 tools in an objective, systematic, and reproducible manner adopting the Systematic Multivocal Literature Review protocol. Then, we characterized each tool looking at the 1) measured features, 2) popularity both in peer-reviewed literature and online media, and 3) benefits and issues. We used topic modeling and sentiment analysis to extract and summarize the benefits and issues. Specially, we adopted ChatGPT to support the topic interpretation. Results: As a result, this paper presents a systematic comparison amongst the selected tracing tools in terms of their features, popularity, benefits and issues. Conclusion: The result mainly shows that each tracing tool provides a unique combination of features with also different pros and cons. The contribution of this paper is to provide the practitioners better understanding of the tracing tools facilitating their adoption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111793
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • ChatGPT
  • Multivocal literature review
  • Open tracing tool
  • Telemetry

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture


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