A Guide to OpenTelemetry - Part 3: The Advantages
October 19, 2022

Pete Goldin

Share this

One of the reasons OpenTelemetry is becoming so popular is because of the many advantages. In A Guide to OpenTelemetry, APMdigest breaks these advantages down into two groups: the beneficial capabilities of OpenTelemetry and the results users can expect from OpenTelemetry. In Part 3, we cover the capabilities.

Start with: A Guide to OpenTelemetry - Part 1

Start with: A Guide to OpenTelemetry - Part 2: When Will OTel Be Ready?

Universal Observability Tool

"One specification to rule them all — Companies will be able to rely on OTel for all languages and types of telemetry (logs, metrics, traces, etc) rather than distribute these capabilities among several tools" says Michael Haberman, CTO and Co-Founder of Aspecto.

Standardized Instrumentation

"Working with distributed systems is confusing enough; we need to simplify it by standardizing on a consistent set of tools," explains Mike Loukides, VP of Emerging Tech Content at O'Reilly Media. "What happens if your IT group develops part of a product, but buys several important components from a vendor? You're going to have to debug and maintain the whole system. That's going to be a nightmare if the different components don't speak the same language when saving information about their activity."

"Opentelemetry is an instrumentation standard," says Pranay Prateek, Co-Founder of SigNoz. "You can use any backend and storage layer to store telemetry data, and any front end to visualize that data. So as long as these components support the OTLP format (OpenTelemetry's format), they can process and visualize OTel data."


"OpenTelemetry will be valuable for the same reason that other standards are: interoperability," says Loukides from O'Reilly. "It will make it easier for developers to write software that is observable by using a single standard API and being able to plug in standard libraries. It will make it easier for people responsible for operations to integrate with existing observability platforms. If the protocol that applications use to talk to observability platforms is standardized, operations staff can mix and match dashboards, debugging tools, automation tools (AIOps), and much more."

Automated Instrumentation

"Companies no longer need their developers to spend a lot of time and headache on manually instrumenting their stack," explains Torsten Volk, Managing Research Director, Containers, DevOps, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA). "Instead developers can augment the automatically instrumented app stack by adding telemetry variables to their own code to tie together application behavior and infrastructure performance. DevOps engineers and SREs automatically receive a more comprehensive and complete view of their app environment and its context. DevOps, Ops and dev all will benefit from the more consistent instrumentation through OpenTelemetry compared to manual instrumentation, as this consistency lowers the risk of blind spots within the observability dashboard."

"Instrumentation can now be shifted left by making auto instrumentation part of any type of artifact used throughout the DevOps process," he continues. "Container images, VMs, software libraries, machine learning models, and database can all come pre-instrumented to simplify the DevOps toolchain and lower the risk of critical parts of the stack flying 'under the radar' in terms of observability and visibility."

Future-Proof Instrumentation

"The main business benefit that we see from using OpenTelemetry is that it is future-proof," says Prateek from SigNoz. "OpenTelemetry is an open standard and open source implementation with contributors from companies like AWS, Microsoft, Splunk, etc. It provides instrumentation libraries in almost all major programming languages and covers most of the popular open source frameworks. If tomorrow your team decides to use a new open source library in the tech stack, you can have the peace of mind that OpenTelemetry will provide instrumentation for it."

"In a hyper-dynamic environment where services come and go, and instances can be scaled in a reactive fashion, the OpenTelemetry project aims to provide a single path for full stack visibility which is future proof and easy to apply," adds Cedric Ziel, Grafana Labs Senior Product Manager.

Cost-Effective Observability

OpenTelemetry makes observability more cost-effective in several ways.

First, it provides cost control because it is open source.

"Organizations had large opportunity-costs in the past when they switched observability providers that forced them to use proprietary SDKs and APIs," says Ziel from Grafana Labs. "Customers are demanding compatibility and a path with OpenTelemetry and are less likely to accept proprietary solutions than a few years ago."

"No vendor lock-in means more control over observability costs," Prateek from SigNoz elaborates. "The freedom to choose an observability vendor of your choice while having access to world-class instrumentation is a huge advantage to the business."

"OpenTelemetry can also help reduce the cost associated with ramping up your engineering team," he continues. "Using an open source standard helps engineering teams to create a knowledge base that is consistent and improves with time."

Second, OpenTelemetry reduces cost because it is easy to use and reduces development time.

"Standardizing generation and exporting signals provides consistency across the development organization and leads to less development cost/time," says Nitin Navare, CTO of LogicMonitor.

Go to: A Guide to OpenTelemetry - Part 4: The Results

Pete Goldin is Editor and Publisher of APMdigest
Share this

The Latest

December 01, 2022

You could argue that, until the pandemic, and the resulting shift to hybrid working, delivering flawless customer experiences and improving employee productivity were mutually exclusive activities. Evidence from Catchpoint's recently published Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) industry report suggests this is changing ...

November 30, 2022

There are many issues that can contribute to developer dissatisfaction on the job — inadequate pay and work-life imbalance, for example. But increasingly there's also a troubling and growing sense of lacking ownership and feeling out of control ... One key way to increase job satisfaction is to ameliorate this sense of ownership and control whenever possible, and approaches to observability offer several ways to do this ...

November 29, 2022

The need for real-time, reliable data is increasing, and that data is a necessity to remain competitive in today's business landscape. At the same time, observability has become even more critical with the complexity of a hybrid multi-cloud environment. To add to the challenges and complexity, the term "observability" has not been clearly defined ...

November 28, 2022

Many have assumed that the mainframe is a dying entity, but instead, a mainframe renaissance is underway. Despite this notion, we are ushering in a future of more strategic investments, increased capacity, and leading innovations ...

November 22, 2022

Most (85%) consumers shop online or via a mobile app, with 59% using these digital channels as their primary holiday shopping channel, according to the Black Friday Consumer Report from Perforce Software. As brands head into a highly profitable time of year, starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's imperative development teams prepare for peak traffic, optimal channel performance, and seamless user experiences to retain and attract shoppers ...

November 21, 2022

From staffing issues to ineffective cloud strategies, NetOps teams are looking at how to streamline processes, consolidate tools, and improve network monitoring. What are some best practices that can help achieve this? Let's dive into five ...

November 18, 2022

On November 1, Taylor Swift announced the Eras Tour ... the whole world is now standing in the same virtual queue, and even the most durable cloud architecture can't handle this level of deluge ...

November 17, 2022

OpenTelemetry, a collaborative open source observability project, has introduced a new network protocol that addresses the infrastructure management headache, coupled with collector configuration options to filter and reduce data volume ...

November 16, 2022

A unified view of digital infrastructure is essential for IT teams that must improve the digital user experience while boosting overall organizational productivity, according to a survey of IT managers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from Riverbed and market research firm IDC ...

November 15, 2022

Building the visibility infrastructure to make cloud networks observable is a complex technical challenge. But with careful planning and a few strategic decisions, it's possible to appropriately design, set up and manage visibility solutions for the cloud ...