Why OpenTelemetry Is the Future of Instrumentation

Why OpenTelemetry Is the Future of Instrumentation

Today, companies are rapidly embracing open source in all aspects of software development; and the monitoring space is no different. Engineers have access to numerous tools to measure the performance of their stacks, and open source is at the heart of this tool explosion.

Today, companies are rapidly embracing open source in all aspects of software development; and the monitoring space is no different. Engineers have access to numerous tools to measure the performance of their stacks, and open source is at the heart of this tool explosion.

Apart from tools, standards are emerging and changing the way teams implement instrumentation. OpenTracing and OpenCensus were developed to standardize how teams capture traces and metrics. While both standards achieved their goals of making observability easy for many, a fundamental problem remained: they were two separate standards. For distributed tracing, it is particularly important to have one standard, because if even a single point in the causal chain is broken, the trace is no longer complete.

OpenTelemetry is an open source project and a unified standard for service instrumentation. Sponsored by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), it replaces OpenTracing and OpenCensus. The OpenTelemetry project consists of specifications, APIs and SDKs for various languages (like Java, Go and Python). It also defines a centralized collector and exporters, to send data to various backends. This standard is being backed by a number of leading monitoring companies, who all believe it’s the future of instrumentation.

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