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Observability / Operations

5 Ways OpenTelemetry Can Reduce Costs

While OpenTelemetry can help organizations reduce the complexity of managing telemetry data, it can also decrease the cost of monitoring.
Jun 23rd, 2023 10:00am by
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Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

During times of economic uncertainty, companies can often find themselves having to do more with less. Whether they’re facing reduced spending, heightened customer expectations, or fiercer competition, organizations need to embrace nimble and cost-effective approaches to remain resilient. One such way to harness operational resiliency and reduce costs is through OpenTelemetry.

So, what is OpenTelemetry, and how can it save your company money?

OpenTelemetry provides a standardized, vendor-neutral way for organizations to collect telemetry data from cloud native applications and infrastructure so that it can be sent to any destination for processing and analytics. It includes the agents, SDKs, protocol, and semantic conventions required to capture distributed traces, metrics, logs, and other critical signals.

By offering a unified approach to telemetry data collection, Otel makes it easier for organizations to integrate and share data across different systems. This, in turn, helps organizations improve their application performance, reduce operational costs, speed up development, improve reliability and simplify the management of telemetry data.

And many are seeing the value in OpenTelemetry. It is the second most active project within the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, after Kubernetes. The project’s origin story began in 2019 when two open source projects (OpenCensus and OpenTracing) merged to create OpenTelemetry to instill one standard.

The goal was to create a unified, vendor-neutral approach to observability, so developers can instrument and collect telemetry data across different programming languages and platforms. Since its creation, OpenTelemetry has rapidly evolved, with regular releases to improve its capabilities and expand its support across different platforms and environments. Today, it’s a popular tool in the observability space, with a robust community of 900 monthly-active contributors.

But while OpenTelemetry’s primary value is to help organizations reduce the complexity of managing telemetry data in their cloud native applications, it can also decrease the cost of monitoring, optimize cloud computing budgets, and improve resource utilization, reliability, and application performance.

Let’s dive into how OpenTelemetry can do all of this below, by outlining five key ways it can help save your business money:

  1. Organizations can build things faster — much faster. With OpenTelemetry, engineers don’t have to re-instrument code or install different proprietary agents every time an analytics platform is changed. This enables them to be more efficient and strategic with their time, as they’re no longer having to manually instrument their tech stack. Second, observability tools can significantly enhance an organization’s development velocity. They enable developers to understand the interactions of existing services and how to extend them, by relying on the tools to show them the current functionality. In addition, virtually no time is wasted on training staff on proprietary agents and all development on OpenTelemetry is supported through the OpenTelemetry community. This ability to solicit help from the community eliminates time wasted on re-inventing the wheel.
  2. It helps prevent loss of revenue. OpenTelemetry bridges the visibility gaps by providing a common format of instrumentation across all services (such as infrastructure, applications and observability solutions,) which can help with root cause analysis and troubleshooting. This unified view allows organizations to more quickly identify and resolve issues that impact revenue. When engineering teams can see with more precision and clarity, they can reduce the number of customer-impacting incidents and minimize downtime. And this is significant, as downtime can potentially cost organizations an average of $87 million per year due to lost revenue and productivity. So a faster approach to resolution can become a business-critical capability. 
  3. Orgs can optimize cloud computing and observability costs. When companies use monitoring tools that are not OpenTelemetry native, they often pay for yet another tool to reduce the volume/dimensionality of data they’re analyzing. In contrast, OpenTelemetry’s modular and extensible architecture enables businesses to customize and fine-tune their telemetry data collection and processing to meet their specific needs and preferences, without the need for expensive and proprietary tools. Additionally, OpenTelemetry can provide insights into the usage patterns of resources, such as CPU or memory, allowing organizations to optimize their resource allocation. Support for continuous profiling is being added to OpenTelemetry, which will provide further cost reductions with the newest generation of profiling tools, pinpointing the CPU and memory consumed by individual functions in an application’s code.
  4. It empowers companies to avoid vendor lock-in and select the tools they need. Without OpenTelemetry, organizations are stuck using whatever observability tool they picked up first (even if that tool lacks critical functionality) because switching the proprietary instrumentation and agents required by monitoring solutions is unimaginably expensive. Being dependent on one vendor makes an organization incredibly vulnerable to both a vendor’s limitations as well as their decisions and whims, such as price hikes or discontinuation of products. With an OpenTelemetry native observability provider, companies adopt solutions that are right for their business and budget. Open standards mean the solution can be customized and innovated upon.
  5. Own your observability software supply chain with OpenTelemetry. Users of proprietary agents and other components can’t audit their contents, and their vendors are effectively within their security boundary. Additionally, requests for enhancements are at the mercy of one’s relationship with their vendor. In contrast, OpenTelemetry is open source and helps organizations audit the code, run their own builds, and propose or add any functionality that they may like.

OpenTelemetry lets you truly own your own data and in turn allows you to make your organization more agile, more resilient to failure and less beholden to vendors and potential security threats. It offers a standardized, cost-effective, and flexible approach to data collection that can help businesses reduce operational costs and improve application performance. Embracing OpenTelemetry today helps to future-proof your business for tomorrow, and beyond.

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