Big data experts already agree that the amount of generated data is growing exponentially and forecast that it will reach 175 zettabytes by 2025. That projection is predicated upon current realities, which include a growing number of internet users and the billions of embedded systems and connected devices around the world. Even conceptualizing that amount of data is daunting — but then consider how best to manipulate and export it.
OpenTelemetry (OTEL) supports the continued improvement and validation of personalized interactions via a collection of APIs, tools, and SDKs. The goal is to gather relevant data about your customers and their digital experiences so that your business can continue to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. This not only lets you respond to the actions and offerings of your competitors, but it also allows you to offer new and better products, services, and support based on what you’re able to learn from your data.
Companies use OpenTelemetry to gather quality information about their customers, as well as the products and services they offer. When you have your business data, you can manipulate the information, generate reports, draw conclusions, and export telemetry data (metrics, traces, and logs). You can also use the data to analyze the performance variables of your software.
- Why should you care about telemetry?
- Where did OpenTelemetry come from?
- Why is OTEL important?
- How does OTEL help you reduce your reliance on vendors?
- How fast can new systems be adopted with OTEL?
- What are the benefits of OTEL for evolving companies?
- Where is OTEL going next? What does the future look like?
Why should you care about telemetry?
Telemetry has multiple use-case scenarios within system health and data management. For data purposes, telemetry can help to improve quality, application health, performance, and even security.
Telemetry allows you to capture, measure, and analyze data and then transmit it to other platforms or systems, with use-case potential across virtually any area of IT. Some of the main drawbacks for data use and manipulation in the past involve limitations in cross-platform interoperability, flexibility of use, and integration opportunities.
Where did OpenTelemetry come from?
When the OpenTracing and OpenCensus projects agreed to merge their code for combined strength under Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) control, OpenTelemetry (OTEL or OTel) was the resulting open-source and community-driven (sandbox) project. It’s been an extremely active CNCF project, second only to Kubernetes.
Seed governance initially came from LightStep, Google, Microsoft, and even Uber. Since they did not believe they would get it right the first time, the seed governance committee was to be a live, responsive body that could evolve and reform as required to support the iterative process. As the governance body and OpenTelemetry move forward and the popularity increases, more companies opt to become a part of the project.
The governance committee can re-factor and reform at any time, as well as rewrite the charter with a supermajority of 2/3rds of the voting body. One of the base concepts of the seed governance is that the body will “vote with their feet,” which means that members of the body will either fork the project or leave as deemed appropriate for their own needs or project evolution.
Why is OTEL important?
OpenTelemetry offers one set of agents, SDKs libraries, and collector services for metrics and traces. But its goal is really to standardize how data is collected and then sent to backend platforms. OpenTelemetry is an observability framework. Its aim is to assist you in creating and capturing data from cloud-based software. It also addresses signals, client libraries, and collection protocols.
The OpenTelemetry Collector can help you manipulate and change data before it is exported. That observability is important because it allows you to understand what’s going on in your system. You need to determine its behavior and performance, which is part of what makes OpenTelemetry so helpful.
How does OTEL help you reduce your reliance on vendors?
The OpenTelemetry project promises a “single standard for observability instead of two competing standards.” Because of the single standard and a higher bar for observability, you aren’t tied to a single vendor, solution, or platform. You can also transition to other solutions that will better meet your needs for growth and cost savings both now and in the future.
This level of independence lets you make the decisions that are best for your company and your customer base without worrying about how it will tie you down or limit the products and services you’re able to offer.
How fast can new systems be adopted with OTEL?
OpenTelemetry is open-source software, which means it can seamlessly integrate into new systems quickly and effectively. With some systems, you can even integrate OpenTelemetry with no code changes. This interoperability and seamless integration capability has been sorely needed to support cross-platform transitions and system upgrades.
With the ability to easily integrate new systems and upgrade existing systems, you can choose which agents you want to use and then visualize end-to-end traces in your APM solution. This offers unprecedented peace of mind because you won’t have to worry about how or if you can support your new system requirements and evolutions in the future.
While tracing is currently stable, metrics and logs will be more stable in the coming future, since long-term, open-standards support is one of the goals. With that new stability and ability to migrate to new platforms as needed, you can better support your customers’ changing needs while ensuring that you have the capacity for upgrades, changes, and improvements to your network and systems for as long as you stay in business.
What are the benefits of OTEL for evolving companies?
OpenTelemetry offers a myriad of important benefits for evolving companies. It’s not only good for capturing metrics and tracking data related to your customers — it also offers a range of benefits to customers.
You can gather data about your customers no matter where they are located and which platform or device they are using. That allows you to more seamlessly capture metrics and tracking data, which you can then use to personalize your products and services, or just interact in a way that effectively meets your customers’ current needs. It also means that you have a competitive advantage compared to other companies that aren’t able to offer the same level of granularity and personalized service and support.
You’ve been able to capture data for a long time now. So, in some sense, OpenTelemetry is not really anything new. What is different is how that data is collected, with its consistency in format and collection. Since you can assume that one certainty of your business is that you will continue to grow and develop, you’ll need to continually improve upon this ability to capture metrics and data while ensuring that you can easily manipulate and export that data as appropriate.
While expanding and evolving, you may need to change your systems, backends, and even processes. OpenTelemetry can accommodate those transitions. Here are some of the key benefits you should consider when choosing this open-source framework.
Supports observability and a unified solution to achieve business objectives
OpenTelemetry allows for more flexible and centralized observability, with unified specifications and a set of libraries that supports compatibility across platforms. With that kind of flexibility, you can easily visualize end-to-end distributed traces in the APM solution. Your unified observability solution also allows you to visualize traces, logs, metrics, analytics, and other capabilities.
That observability is a measure of how well you can infer the state of a system based on the external outputs. You can change the tool that you use for backend observability so you can more easily assess whether your system is operating to full efficiency. You can also identify and mitigate the effects of attempted DDoS attacks or intrusions on your software development system.
With enhanced observability, you can better determine the health of your system and how it’s performing, as well as what steps to take to further improve it. You get to determine which agents will monitor your applications.
Simplifies integration and innovation with open source
More than 300 companies contributed to the OpenTelemetry project, receiving support and contributions from 100,000 engineers worldwide. With such an outpouring of creative ingenuity, this project is able to provide flexibility and broad-based coverage. The fact that it’s open source means you have full access to the source code, so you can gain further insights into bug fixes and features that could have either positive or negative effects on your business.
You can easily configure how you aggregate, batch, and process the data in the Collector. OpenTelemetry offers the integration capabilities, with lots of room for innovation along the way. The goal is extensibility that strikes a balance between usefulness (out of the box) and flexibility. What that extensibility means is that you can configure the backend even after deployment.
While you might have been stuck with a specific vendor or backend in the past, now you can monitor new and emerging technologies. Then, you can integrate OpenTelemetry as part of the frameworks your applications are using. So, you no longer have to wait for new features to be developed and released.
OpenTelemetry automated agents can even collect telemetry from apps without code changes. Then, you can export the data to your preferred backend or platform. Part of the goal here is to avoid that cobbled-together approach. You should not have to hack the critical telemetry to access and develop the critical telemetry collection integrations that you need.
Supports cross-platform interconnectivity
While you’ve been in business, you’ve probably encountered multiple applications that fail to “play nice” with one another. And you may have discovered how convoluted transferring data from one application to another — or even upgrading your applications — can be. You can often lose data and metrics. You may also experience other challenges that are not compatible with a healthy application or an optimal user experience.
With such broad-based support, it makes sense that OpenTelemetry is also interoperable, which supports ease of use and collaboration across your entire system. It helps you avoid data silos and blind spots by bridging the visibility gaps.
You can communicate with various backends and platforms via out-of-process exporters. OpenTelemetry represents a vendor-neutral solution that gives you the ability to transmit and capture telemetry without changing your existing system structure or instrumentation. That cross-platform functionality is important because it works with a variety of backend solutions and languages.
Where Is OTEL going next? What does the future look like?
While the concept behind OpenTelemetry is still evolving, it continues to represent what some consider radical ways of supporting and providing value to both the customers’ needs and the bottom line for companies. It is disruptive, and it could affect how we look at the marketplace, but it also appears to be a big part of where the digital technology landscape is moving toward.
More than just an innovative solution, OpenTelemetry will continue to provide tools that will allow you to collect data from every platform or property across your technology stack. You’ll also be able to ensure that your applications are performing to optimal efficiency, with benchmarks that are easily reiterated when you review data related to customer satisfaction metrics.
OpenTelemetry will become even more important in the future, as it allows for the collection of data that will drive the development of cloud-native applications. Even world leaders are discussing the significance of OpenTelemetry, with indications for how it could transform global infrastructures.
Companies that are not prepared for the evolving demands of the future will be left behind. If you want proof positive of this, just look at the number of organizations that say the amount of data being collected is already growing faster than their ability to cope with the onslaught.
At LogicMonitor, we help companies transform what’s next to deliver extraordinary employee and customer experiences. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.