Opening up to OpenTelemetry

OpenTelemetry will transform how technologists manage IT performance… but they need advanced analytics to unlock its true potential. By AppDynamics EMEAR CTO James Harvey

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OpenTelemetry is increasingly being deployed by technologists to generate availability and performance telemetry data in all areas of the IT stack where they previously haven’t had visibility. With just a few lines of code during the development stage, technologists can get real-time data on application performance once in production. It’s easy, quick and free!

OpenTelemetry is a holistic telemetry open-source standard for metrics, logs and traces (MLT). It has been adopted and supported by cloud service providers, observability vendors (including AppDynamics) and end users. OpenTelemetry is open source, standard and available to everyone.

Already, we’re seeing start-up businesses that are embracing OpenTelemetry as an agile and cost-effective way to build observability into their IT estate from day one, through APIs and SDKs. And within larger organizations, OpenTelemetry is now enabling technologists to generate data across an increasingly fragmented and complex IT estate. They’re getting visibility into parts of their IT environment that until now they’ve always struggled to monitor.

Importantly, because OpenTelemetry frees IT telemetry data, you can duplicate data and send it to multiple places at once, whether that is specific tools or an enterprise level observability solution. This means that any team, whether that is CloudOps, SRE or ITOps, has the freedom and flexibility to choose the most appropriate tools to make sense of the raw collected telemetry data.

Turning raw telemetry data into actionable insight

However, it’s vital for technologists to ensure they have a way to consume, process and correlate the wealth of telemetry data that they will now be generating. OpenTelemetry is brilliant at collecting individual, isolated pieces traces and stitching these together, but it doesn’t deliver more holistic insight into performance and its impacts. Put simply, it’s only concerned with generating data; it doesn’t help IT teams to make sense of the vast volumes of data it creates.

Therefore, it’s essential for technologists to be able to integrate OpenTelemetry data into their full-stack observability solutions, using advanced analytics, Machine Learning and AI to get a

consolidated, holistic view on IT availability, performance and their impacts. Only with this level of insight are they able to cut through data noise, make informed decisions and prioritize actions based on potential impact to end user experience and the business.

OpenTelemetry must become a critical component of a wider full-stack observability strategy

Technologists in every industry know that they need to rapidly expand their monitoring capabilities over the next 12 months in order to generate greater visibility across their IT estate, particularly within microservices, container and serverless environments. It’s essential to manage the spiralling levels of complexity that they’re encountering across an ever more fragmented IT estate.

This is why full-stack observability has become a major focus for technologists and, indeed, for senior IT and business leaders. The latest AppDynamics report, The Journey to Observability, revealed that more than half of organizations around the world have already started their transition to full-stack observability and a further 36% plan to do so during 2022. That means that 90% of organizations will be somewhere along the journey to full-stack observability by the end of this year.

So as technologists ramp up their plans for full-stack observability over the coming months, many will be looking to OpenTelemetry as the key enabler in achieving full and unified visibility right across their IT environments, including on-premises, public cloud and hybrid cloud. And they’re right to be excited about the potentially game-changing impact of this new standard, which can unlock 360° visibility on IT performance and availability.

However, in order for OpenTelemetry to deliver on its promise and deliver real value, technologists have to ensure they have the tools in place to turn telemetry data into meaningful and actionable insights. They need to be able to process and integrate telemetry data within their full-stack observability platforms, so that they can get a holistic view on IT performance and digital experience.

By deploying advanced analytics on OpenTelemetry data, technologists quickly and easily identify anomalies, understand root causes through dependency analysis and resolve issues before they impact customers and employees. And when this OpenTelemetry data is connected to business outcomes, technologists assess issues based on their potential impact to the business and prioritize their actions accordingly.

Those technologists that succeed in doing this will be perfectly placed to surge ahead with their full-stack observability programs, with the data and insights they need to manage and optimize IT performance at all times.

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