OpenTelemetry promises an open standard for observability

OpenTelemetry promises an open standard for observability

OpenTelemetry is an observability framework that combines data on logs, traces and metrics. The framework is used as an open standard that makes it possible to immediately link the programming languages and infrastructures your company uses.

Keeping business applications constantly up-to-date can be a huge challenge. On the one hand, this is because applications want to tackle more and more problems and therefore grow in size. On the other hand, dependence on IT is increasing in enterprises which makes it harder to keep track of the many updates of a growing stack of applications. Moreover, those updates usually follow each other in quick succession, so software developers can keep their applications secure and modern.

OpenTelemetry, as an open-source observability framework, can help monitor the health of these applications. Users can tap into the framework to collect, measure and analyze application and system performance data.

The framework was formed through the merging of the OpenTracing and OpenCensus projects. Both projects seek to create a clear environment for monitoring “distributed tracing,” which are requests that applications send to underlying systems of that application.

Combining logs, traces and metrics

An observability framework is useful for gaining deeper insight into the operation of software applications. This is obtained by combining data on logs, traces and metrics. Here, logs keep track of past events, metrics provide information about different parts of the system and, finally, traces look at how an application request behaves and develops.

Moreover, information is accessible right from the development phase and remains accessible later in production. Based on this information, performance problems and errors can be identified early on. This allows problems to be addressed quickly, improving the application’s overall user experience.

OpenTelemetry is one such framework that works with various programming languages and infrastructures. Support for more programming languages is still in development. At this moment only Java is stable for all components of the framework, which are traces, metrics and logs. You can check the status of other programming languages on the OpenTelemetry website.

Getting started easier with the right profile

Meanwhile, OpenTelemetry has become an indispensable component for a small group of IT teams. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), as the owner of the project, says that OpenTelemetry is a project that has already been successfully implemented by a small number of organizations and has garnered a healthy group of developers behind it.

A company’s internal operations should also lend themselves to deploying the observability framework. It is important to check the profiles of the people in your IT team. The data collected does not generate insights automatically and thus will require the watchful eye of a data expert. A data expert can extract compelling insights from OpenTelemetry and thus make decisions based on data. It is also possible to use the data to discover opportunities that have not yet been exploited, such as optimization opportunities.

Without a data expert, OpenTelemetry can offer these things to your business in the long run. It will only require a longer learning curve. In addition, developers must be mindful of respecting user privacy when collecting data. That can complicate the implementation process, especially for extensive applications.

Ultimately, OpenTelemetry can offer a lot in most business cases. The road to getting the full potential out of the framework will just be a bit longer for some companies than others. Once things get started, OpenTelemetry can be a useful tool for gaining in-depth insight into application performance and issues.

Also read: OpenTelemetry provides insight into cloud-native applications and environments