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Version: v2.3

Azure Application Insights Sink


This feature requires to install our NuGet package

PM > Install-Package Arcus.Observability.Telemetry.Serilog.Sinks.ApplicationInsights

What is it?#

The Azure Application Insights sink is an extension of the official Application Insights sink that allows you to not only emit traces or events, but the whole Application Insights suite of telemetry types - Traces, Dependencies, Events, Requests & Metrics.

You can easily configure the sink by providing the Azure Application Insights key:

using Serilog;using Serilog.Configuration;
ILogger logger = new LoggerConfiguration()    .MinimumLevel.Debug()    .WriteTo.AzureApplicationInsights("<key>")    .CreateLogger();

Alternatively, you can override the default minimum log level to reduce amount of telemetry being tracked :

using Serilog;using Serilog.Configuration;
ILogger logger = new LoggerConfiguration()    .MinimumLevel.Debug()    .WriteTo.AzureApplicationInsights("<key>", restrictedToMinimumLevel: LogEventLevel.Warning)    .CreateLogger();


The Azure Application Insights sink has some additional configuration which can be changed to influence the tracking.



When tracking exceptions, one can opt-in to track all the public properties of the exception which will be included as custom dimensions. These public properties are formatted with the following pattern: Exception-{0} where {0} is the place where the public property's name is inserted.

The value of the property will be the value of the custom dimension so that the custom dimension will be in the form "Exception-{your-property-name}" = "your-property-value".

This property format pattern can be configured, like shown in the following example:

using Serilog;using Serilog.Configuration;
ILogger logger = new LoggerConfiguration()    .WriteTo.AzureApplicationInsights("<key>", options =>    {        // Opt-in to track all the first-level exception properties; inherited properties will not be included.        options.Exception.IncludeProperties = true;
        // Property format to track the exception's properties (default: `"Exception-{0}"`)        options.Exception.PropertyFormat = "CustomException.{0}");    })    .CreateLogger();

Let's take a custom exception to demonstrate:

public class OrderingException : Exception{    ...
    // Property to be included in Application Insights.    public int OrderNumber { get; }}

With this configuration, the custom dimension name for the public properties of this exception will look like this: "CustomException.OrderNumber".

⚠️ The property format should be in the correct form in order to be used. It's passed to the String.Format eventually which will try to insert the exception's property name.


Q: Why is it mandatory to provide an instrumentation key?#

While the native Azure Application Insights SDK does not enforce an instrumentation key we have chosen to make it mandatory to provide one.

By doing this, we allow you to fail fast and avoid running your application with a misconfigured telemetry setup. If it would be optional, you could have it running for days/weeks only to notice you are not sending any telemetry when everything is on fire and you are in the dark.

If you want to optionally use our sink when there is an instrumentation key, we recommend using this simple pattern:

using Serilog;using Serilog.Configuration;
var loggerConfig =  new LoggerConfiguration()    .MinimumLevel.Debug();
if(string.IsNullOrEmpty(key) == false){    loggerConfig.WriteTo.AzureApplicationInsights(key);}
ILogger logger = loggerConfig.CreateLogger();

Q: Where can I initialize the logger in an ASP.NET Core application or other hosted service?#

Simply use the UseSerilog extension method on IHostBuilder which accepts an Action<HostBuilderContext, IServiceProvider, LoggerConfiguration>. This Action gives you access to the configuration and the configured services:

using Serilog.Configuration;
var host = Host.CreateDefaultBuilder()               .ConfigureAppConfiguration((context, configBuilder) =>               {                   // App specific configuration               })               .UseSerilog((context, serviceProvider, loggerConfig) =>               {                    loggerConf.Enrich.FromLogContext()                              .WriteTo.Console();
                    string instrumentationKey = context.Configuration["ApplicationInsights:InstrumentationKey"];
                    if (!String.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(instrumentationKey))                    {                        loggerConfiguration.WriteTo.AzureApplicationInsights(instrumentationKey, LogEventLevel.Information);                    }               })               .Build();

If the InstrumentationKey is stored as a secret in -for instance- Azure KeyVault, the ISecretProvider from Arcus.Security can be used to retrieve the InstrumentationKey.

using Serilog.Configuration;using Arcus.Security.Core;
var host = Host.CreateDefaultBuilder()               .ConfigureSecretStore((context, config, builder) =>               {                   // Configure the secret store here                   //               })               .UseSerilog((context, serviceProvider, loggerConfig) =>               {                    loggerConf.Enrich.FromLogContext()                              .WriteTo.Console();
                    var secretProvider = serviceProvider.GetService<ISecretProvider>();
                    var instrumentationKey = secretProvider.GetRawSecretAsync("ApplicationInsights:InstrumentationKey").GetAwaiter().GetResult();
                    if (!String.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(instrumentationKey))                    {                        loggerConfiguration.WriteTo.AzureApplicationInsights(instrumentationKey, LogEventLevel.Information);                    }               })               .Build();