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Trace data is often produced in large volumes, it is not only expensive to collect and store but also expensive to transmit.

In order to strike a balance between observability and expenses, traces are sampled. Sampling is the process by which a decision is made on whether to process/export a span or not.


OpenCensus provides these types of samplers

A sampler’s decision affects Span.TraceOptions’ sampling bit by setting or clearing it if the sampler returns True or False respectively.

There are 2 ways of setting a sampler to use:

Global sampler

The global sampler is a sampler that’s set via the global TraceConfig

package main

import ""

func main() {
    // Having already created your sampler "theSampler"
    trace.ApplyConfig(trace.Config{DefaultSampler: theSampler})
package io.opencensus.tutorials.tracing.sampling;

import io.opencensus.trace.config.TraceConfig;

public class App {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Get the global TraceConfig
        TraceConfig globalTraceConfig = Tracing.getTraceConfig();

        // Now update the global TraceConfig
#include "opencensus/trace/sampler.h"
#include "opencensus/trace/trace_config.h"
#include "opencensus/trace/trace_params.h"

int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    opencensus::trace::ProbabilitySampler theSampler(theProbability);
    const struct opencensus::trace::TraceParams globalConfig = {

Per span sampler aka “Span scoped”

This sampler is set when starting a span, via the constructor

import ""

func doWork() {
    // Having already created your sampler "theSampler" and "ctx"
    ctx, span := trace.StartSpan(ctx, "DoWork", trace.WithSampler(theSampler))
package io.opencensus.tutorials.tracing.sampling;

import io.opencensus.trace.common.Scope;

void doWork() {
    // Having already defined "theSampler" and "tracer"
    try (Scope ss = tracer.spanBuilder("DoWork").setSampler(theSampler).startScopedSpan()){
void doWork() {
    // Having already defined "theSampler"
    opencensus::trace::Span theSpan = \
            opencensus::trace::Span::StartSpan("DoWork", nullptr, {&theSampler});



Resource URL
TraceConfig in specs specs/trace/TraceConfig
Per-Span sampler in specs specs/trace/Sampling
GoDoc: ApplyConfig trace.ApplyConfig
JavaDoc: TraceConfig io.opencensus.trace.config.TraceConfig
C++: TraceConfig opencensus::trace::TraceConfig