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Node.js and Elastic APM

Tracetest is a testing tool based on OpenTelemetry that allows you to test your distributed application. It allows you to use data from distributed traces generated by OpenTelemetry to validate and assert if your application has the desired behavior defined by your test definitions.

Elastic is a search, observability, and security platform. The company is famous for developing the ELK stack - ElasticSearch, Kibana, Beats and Logstash that is used by thousands of developers. Elastic offers a cloud platform, Elastic Cloud, as its commercial offering to enable observability across logs, application performance monitoring (APM), and infrastructure monitoring, real user monitoring (RUM) and synthetic monitoring.

Sample Node.js App with Elastic, OpenTelemetry and Tracetest

This is a simple quick start on how to configure a Node.js app to use Elastic APM Agent with traces and Tracetest for enhancing your E2E and integration tests with trace-based testing. The infrastructure will use Elastic APM and Elasticsearch as the trace data store and OpenTelemetry Collector to receive traces from the Node.js app and send them to Elastic APM.


You will need Docker and Docker Compose installed on your machine to run this quick start app!

Project Structure

  • docker-compose.yml - Docker Compose file that starts the whole environment.
    • Elastic stack single node cluster with Elasticsearch, Kibana and, the APM Server.
    • OTel collector to support Tracetest.
    • Tracetest instance.
  • collector-config.yml - The OTel collector configuration file.
  • app.js - Sample NodeJS application listening on port 8080 and instrumented with Elastic Nodejs APM agent.

The project is built with Docker Compose.

1. Node.js App

The docker-compose.yaml contains a service called app for the Node.js app.

2. Tracetest

The docker-compose.yaml file, collector.config.yaml, tracetest-provision.yaml, and tracetest-config.yaml contain configs for setting up Tracetest, Elastic APM, Elasticsearch, Kibana and the OpenTelemetry Collector.

Docker Compose Network

All services in the docker-compose.yaml are on the same network and will be reachable by hostname from within other services. For example, apm-server:8200 in the elastic-apm-agent.js will map to the apm-server service, where the port 8200 is the port where the Elastic APM accepts traces. And, https://es01:9200 in the tracetest-provision.yaml will map to the es01 service and port 9200 where Tracetest will fetch trace data from Elasticsearch.

Node.js App

The Node.js app is a simple Express app, contained in the app.js file.

The Elastic APM tracing is contained in the elastic-apm-agent.js file. Traces will be sent to the OpenTelemetry Collector.

Here's the content of the elastic-apm-agent.js file:

const apm = require("elastic-apm-node").start({
serviceName: "sample-app",
serverUrl: "http://apm-server:8200",

Traces will be sent to the Elastic APM endpoint.

The hostname and port is:

  • HTTP: http://apm-server:8200

Enabling the tracer is done by preloading the trace file.

node -r ./elastic-apm-agent.js app.js

In the package.json you will see two npm scripts for running the respective tracers alongside the app.js.

"scripts": {
"with-elastic-apm-tracer":"node -r ./elastic-apm-agent.js app.js"

To start the server, run this command:

npm run with-elastic-apm-tracer

As you can see the Dockerfile uses the command above.

FROM node:slim
WORKDIR /usr/src/app
COPY package*.json ./
RUN npm install
COPY . .
CMD [ "npm", "run", "with-elastic-apm-tracer" ]

And, the docker-compose.yaml contains just one service for the Node.js app.

image: quick-start-nodejs-elastic-apm
hostname: app
build: .
- "8080:8080"
condition: service_started


The docker-compose.yaml contains 6 services that configure Tracetest and Elastic.

  • Postgres - Postgres is a prerequisite for Tracetest to work. It stores trace data when running the trace-based tests.
  • OpenTelemetry Collector - A vendor-agnostic implementation of how to receive, process and export telemetry data.
  • Elasticsearch - Data store and search engine. (Also contains a setup service to configure Elasticsearch)
  • Elastic APM - Elastic application performance monitoring and traces.
  • Kibana - Kibana is a free and open user interface that lets you visualize your Elasticsearch data and navigate the Elastic Stack.
  • Tracetest - Trace-based testing that generates end-to-end tests automatically from traces.

They will start in this order:

  1. Postgres & Setup
  2. Elasticsearch
  3. Kibana
  4. Elastic APM Server
  5. OpenTelemetry Collector
  6. Tracetest

View the entire docker-compose.yaml file here.

Tracetest depends on Postgres and the OpenTelemetry Collector. The OpenTelemetry Collector depends on the Elastic APM Server that then depends on Elasticsearch and Kibana.

Both Tracetest and the OpenTelemetry Collector require config files to be loaded via a volume.

Elasticsearch, Kibana and Elastic APM use a .env file to load their config.

Steps to Start the Environment

To start the environment run this command:

docker compose up -d

Connecting Tracetest to Elastic APM

But how does Tracetest fetch traces?

Tracetest connects to Elastic APM to fetch trace data.

In the Web UI, open settings, and select Elastic APM.

Or, if you prefer using the CLI, you can use this file config.

type: DataStore
name: elasticapm
type: elasticapm
default: true
- https://es01:9200
username: elastic
password: changeme
index: traces-apm-default
insecureSkipVerify: true

Proceed to run this command in the terminal and specify the file above.

tracetest apply datastore -f my/data-store/file/location.yaml

Step-by-step Guide

Open http://localhost:11633/ to configure the connection to Elasticsearch:

  1. In Settings, configure Elastic APM as the Data Store.
  2. Set traces-apm-default as the Index name.
  3. Add the Address and set it to https://es01:9200.
  4. Set the Username to elastic and password to changeme.
  5. You will need to download the CA certificate from the Docker image and upload it to the config under "Upload CA file".
    • The command to download the ca.crt file is: docker cp tracetest-elasticapm-with-elastic-agent-es01-1:/usr/share/elasticsearch/config/certs/ca/ca.crt .
    • Alternatively, you can skip CA certificate validation by setting the Enable TLS but don't verify the certificate option.
  6. Test the connection and Save it, if all is successful.

Create a new test:

  1. Use the "HTTP Request" option. Hit Next.
  2. Name your test and add a description. Hit Next.
  3. Configure the GET URL to be http://app:8080 since the tests will be running in docker compose network. Hit Create.
  4. Running the test should succeed.

Open Kibana

Open https://localhost:5601 and login using elastic:changeme credentials. The credentials can be changed in the .env file. Navigate to APM (upper lefthand corner menu) -> Services and you should see the tracetest service with the rest of the details.

Steps to Stop the Environment

docker compose down -v

# Remove the built app docker image
docker rmi quick-start-nodejs:latest

Learn More

Feel free to check out our examples in GitHub and join our Slack Community for more info!