OpenTelemetry Properly Explained and Demoed
The OpenTelemetry project offers vendor-neutral integration points that help organizations obtain the raw materials — the “telemetry” — that fuel modern observability tools, and with minimal effort at integration time. But what does OpenTelemetry mean for those who use their favorite observability tools but don’t exactly understand how it can help them? How might OpenTelemetry be relevant to the folks who are new to Kubernetes (the majority of KubeCon attendees during the past years) and those who are just getting started with observability?
Austin Parker, head of developer relations, Lightstep and Morgan McLean, director of product management, Splunk, discuss during this podcast at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2022 how the OpenTelemetry project has created demo services to help cloud native community members better understand cloud native development practices and test out OpenTelemetry, as well as Kubernetes, observability software, etc.
At this conjecture in DevOps history, there has been considerable hype around observability for developers and operations teams, and more recently, much attention has been given to help combine the different observability solutions out there in use through a single interface, and to that end, OpenTelemetry has emerged as a key standard.
DevOps teams today need OpenTelemetry since they typically work with a lot of different data sources for observability processes, Parker said. “If you want observability, you need to transform and send that data out to any number of open source or commercial solutions and you need a lingua franca to be consistent. Every time I have a host, or an IP address, or any kind of metadata, consistency is key and that’s what OpenTelemetry provides.”
Additionally, as a developer or an operator, OpenTelemetry serves to instrument your system for observability, McLean said. “OpenTelemetry does that through the power of the community working together to define those standards and to provide the components needed to extract that data among hundreds of thousands of different combinations of software and hardware and infrastructure that people are using,” McLean said.
Observability and OpenTelemetry, while conceptually straightforward, do require a learning curve to use. To that end, the OpenTelemetry project has released a demo to help. It is intended to both better understand cloud native development practices and to test out OpenTelemetry, as well as Kubernetes, observability software, etc., the project’s creators say.
OpenTelemetry Demo v1.0 general release is available on GitHub and on the OpenTelemetry site. The demo helps with learning how to add instrumentation to an application to gather metrics, logs and traces for observability. There is heavy instruction for open source projects like Prometheus for Kubernetes and Jaeger for distributed tracing. How to acquaint yourself with tools such as Grafana to create dashboards are shown. The demo also extends to scenarios in which failures are created and OpenTelemetry data is used for troubleshooting and remediation. The demo was designed for the beginner or the intermediate level user, and can be set up to run on Docker or Kubernetes in about five minutes.
“The demo is a great way for people to get started,” Parker said. “We’ve also seen a lot of great uptake from our commercial partners as well who have said ‘we’ll use this to demo our platform.’”