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Get Started with Kamon

Kamon is distributed as a core module with all the metric recording and trace manipulation APIs and optional modules that provide bytecode instrumentation and/or reporting capabilities to your application. All the modules are added to your application as simple library dependencies and additionally, if you are using instrumentation modules then the AspectJ Weaver agent needs to be included as a JVM startup parameter when running your application.

Make sure you follow this steps:

Include the modules you want in your project

All Kamon modules are available through Maven Central and you just need to add them as a compile dependency to your project. The details on how to do this will differ depending on your dependency management tool of choice, but usually just by knowing that our group id is io.kamon and our artifacts are named after the module name you are good to go. Still, here are some examples with common build tools:

libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
  "io.kamon" %% "kamon-core" % "0.6.0",

  // [Optional]
  "io.kamon" %% "kamon-statsd" % "0.6.0",
  // [Optional]
  "io.kamon" %% "kamon-datadog" % "0.6.0"

  // ... and so on with all the modules you need.

Our latest version is published for both Scala 2.10 and Scala 2.11 using SBT’s cross version feature, meaning that our artifacts are suffixed by either _2.10 or _2.11 to denote the target Scala version. If you are not in the Scala world and you are not familiar with this conventions just pick the greatest Scala version available, currently 2.11, as shown in the Maven example above. You can find a complete list of Kamon modules in the left panel of this page.

Start Kamon

To access the metrics and tracing APIs, and to ensure that all Kamon modules are loaded you will need to start Kamon by using the Kamon.start(..) method. This is a one time operation that you should perform as early as possible in your application code to ensure that all instrumentation and uses of the Kamon APIs will work properly. Having it as the first line in your application’s main wont hurt:

object GetStarted extends App {

  val someHistogram = Kamon.metrics.histogram("some-histogram")
  val someCounter = Kamon.metrics.counter("some-counter")


  // This application wont terminate unless you shutdown Kamon.
public class GetStarted {
  public static void main(String[] args) {

    final Histogram someHistogram = Kamon.metrics().histogram("some-histogram");
    final Counter someCounter = Kamon.metrics().counter("some-counter");


    // This application wont terminate unless you shutdown Kamon.

Optionally, you can provide a custom configuration object when starting Kamon. See the configuration section for a quick overview of how to configure Kamon. When you are done with Kamon, remember to shut it down using the Kamon.shutdown() method.

Optional: Prepare your application to start with the AspectJ Weaver

This step is only required if any of the modules that you included in your application requires AspectJ, if that is not your case you can jump directly to the enjoy section!

Starting your application with the AspectJ weaver is dead simple, just add the -javaagent JVM startup parameter pointing to the weaver’s file location and you are done. The details on how to do this vary depending on your preferred way of deployment, here are some quick notes for the most common deployment scenarios:

To manually add the agent on application startup you just need
to add the -javaagent:/path/to/aspectj-weaver.jar as show here:

java -javaagent:~/.aspectj/aspectj-weaver.jar your-app.jar
//Add the aspectj-runner plugin to project/plugins.sbt
addSbtPlugin("io.kamon" % "aspectj-runner" % "0.1.3")

// Run!

// Include the sbt-aspectj (
// plugin in your build by adding the following line to your
// `project/plugins.sbt` file.
//  addSbtPlugin("com.typesafe.sbt" % "sbt-aspectj" % "0.10.0")

// Bring the sbt-aspectj settings into this build

// Here we are effectively adding the `-javaagent` JVM startup
// option with the location of the AspectJ Weaver provided by
// the sbt-aspectj plugin.
javaOptions in run <++= AspectjKeys.weaverOptions in Aspectj

// We need to ensure that the JVM is forked for the
// AspectJ Weaver to kick in properly and do it's magic.
fork in run := true

In case you need to use the AspectJ Weaver but you didn’t set it up correctly, Kamon will log a big and noticeable error message in your log that will hardly pass unnoticed, but Kamon will not kill the application for this error.

If your deployment method is not listed here and you can’t figure out how to add the weaver, please ask for help in our mailing list.


At this point you already have what is necessary to use Kamon. After the Kamon initialization, all available modules will be automatically started, you don’t need to explicitly activate/start them.

But, Kamon is not just about having a couple histograms and counters hanging around in your code to measure stuff, we can do much more than that! Please, refer to the metrics and tracing module’s documentation to learn how to use these core features and to each additional module’s documentation for usage details and recommendations.