What is OpenTelemetry?
To fully understand the purpose of OpenTelemetry, we must first take a brief look at “Observability”. Loosely defined, Observability boils down to inferring the internal health and state of a system by looking at the external data it produces, which most commonly are logs, metrics, and traces. Here at Dynatrace, we take Observability to the next level by displaying all information in context and adding in code-level details, end-user experience, and entity relationships, all while feeding this data into our AI engine, Davis®, to produce actionable insights. If you’re interested in a deeper dive into Advanced Observability, check out our Observability page for more information.
At this point, you might be thinking, “what does Observability have to do with OpenTelemetry”? The answer is in the data collection and, more specifically, how the logs, metrics, and traces are collected. While collecting this data is nothing new, having a common format for how this data is collected and sent is where OpenTelemetry comes into play. OpenTelemetry is currently a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) sandbox project with the ultimate goal of providing a unified set of vendor-agnostic libraries/APIs for collecting and sending data to compatible backends. Since the OpenTelemetry project started just over a year ago, many vendors (including Dynatrace) have come on board to help contribute to the specification to make rich data collection easier and more consumable.