Unlocking OpenTelemetry to Improve Cloud Performance: Essential Tools for IT Teams


Last updated on July 12th, 2023 at 01:10 pm

The adoption of OpenTelemetry is rapidly growing as IT teams look to gain visibility into cloud-native applications and infrastructure. Today, most CIOs expect their organization to be using OpenTelemetry within the next two years.

OpenTelemetry, an open-source standard for metrics, traces, and soon-to-have logs, has been widely adopted by cloud service providers, observability vendors, and end users, including Cisco AppDynamics. By seamlessly integrating OpenTelemetry into the development process with minimal code changes, businesses can gain real-time data on application performance during production. This powerful tool provides standardized instrumentation for applications built in microservices and Kubernetes environments, while also seamlessly integrating with the continuous integration and deployment pipeline.

Startups are embracing OpenTelemetry as an agile and cost-effective solution to build observability into their IT infrastructure from the very beginning, utilizing an application programming interface (API) and a software development kit (SDK). APIs facilitate communication between software applications, while SDKs provide pre-written code and tools for integration. Additionally, within larger enterprises, OpenTelemetry empowers technologists to generate availability and performance data across increasingly fragmented and complex applications. This enables them to gain visibility into parts of their IT environment that they simply haven’t been able to see through their traditional monitoring tools.

Cloud native environments rely on OpenTelemetry to maximize performance

As IT departments face increasing pressure to innovate rapidly, technologists are utilizing no-code and low-code platforms to accelerate the release process. They acknowledge the scalability and flexibility offered by cloud native technologies.

This transition leads to a significant rise in the complexity of application topologies. Organizations are now deploying numerous microservices and containers, which requires breaking down a single on-premises application into distinct entities. Consequently, the process of instrumenting applications shifts from a single instance to multiple instances, encompassing 10 to 20 different microservices or more. The continuous creation of these microservices generates a substantial amount of data every second.

OpenTelemetry plays a crucial role in providing visibility across modern IT environments, spanning the application level to supporting digital services like Kubernetes. Without OpenTelemetry, technologists would lack the means to detect and address performance issues proactively.

Unprocessed telemetry data requires technologists to convert it into actionable insights.

The Need For Additional Tools

It is crucial for technologists to ensure they have the means to consume, process, and correlate the vast amount of telemetry data they will be generating. OpenTelemetry excels at collecting individual, isolated data points and connecting them, but it does not provide a comprehensive understanding of performance. In simple terms, OpenTelemetry focuses solely on data generation and does not assist technologists in making sense of the enormous volumes of data it produces.

Deriving substantial value from OpenTelemetry alone can be challenging for IT teams due to the large amount of data it produces, making it difficult to visualize the complete application landscape. IT teams require additional tools to enhance the data obtained from OpenTelemetry and integrate it with other data sources obtained through agents and from public cloud environments like Kubernetes.

Despite its strengths, OpenTelemetry does not offer the same level of visibility as a proprietary agent in on-premises environments. With OpenTelemetry, IT teams are limited to traces and metrics alone.

Enhancing digital experience optimization: Connecting OpenTelemetry data with business transactions

Considering OpenTelemetry does not understand business transactions, IT teams need an observability platform that can extract business transactions from OpenTelemtry data, while also traversing agent-based monitoring within on-premises environments.

IT teams are deploying separate tools to monitor cloud native and legacy applications. Consequently, they find themselves in a split-screen mode, with no clear line of sight on the entire application path. The inability to derive business context across the entire application flow makes it challenging for organizations to validate their investments in cloud technologies. This validation becomes increasingly important as organizations look for operational efficiencies.

To effectively analyze data, make informed decisions, and prioritize actions based on their impact on end-user experience and the business, IT teams need to directly integrate OpenTelemetry into their unified observability platform. This integration allows them to filter out irrelevant data noise and gain valuable insights into system behaviour.

Today, an observability platform can provide flexibility to span across both cloud native and on-premises environments – with OpenTelemetry and agent-based entities being ingested into the same platform. It is through this unified visibility and insights that technologists can navigate complexity and consistently optimize application availability and performance.