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OpenTelemetry and Lightstep: Better Together


Eric O'Rear

by Eric O'Rear

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Eric O'Rear

by Eric O'Rear


03-10-2020

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OpenTelemetry is an open source collaboration between dozens of software companies and affiliated with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The project provides a unifying standard in order to reduce confusion for developers and make robust distributed tracing easy and available for all cloud-native software. OpenTelemetry aims to become a single point of reference for high-quality, vendor-neutral, and portable telemetry.

With OpenTelemetry’s first wave of beta releases less than a week away, I wanted to take a step back and look at the history between Lightstep and OpenTelemetry.

A Brief History

At Google circa 2010, Lightstep’s CEO and co-founder Ben Sigelman published a paper about a project he led called Dapper:

OpenTelemetry and Lightstep

After his work with Dapper, Ben co-created a CNCF project called OpenTracing.

Currently, Ben and many of the founding contributors to OpenTracing and OpenCensus, as well as engineers from Lightstep and dozens of other organizations, now work together under the OpenTelemetry project. This collaboration ensures the best aspects of both are carried forward for the observability community. Lightstep continues to invest in the OpenTelemetry project to make sure developers have access to the best in observability standards and tools.

Thoughts from Lightstep Contributors

In light of the beta release, I asked our engineers contributing to and maintaining the OTel project if any of them wanted to share their thoughts about working with OpenTelemetry and the open source community:

  • “OpenTelemetry is solving a really hard problem, and at the end of the day, everyone in the community is trying to make life easier for users of the project,” Alex Boten
  • “The people we are working with and the relationships we've built are 💯. I have tons of respect for everyone in the group. It's difficult to get this stuff right. It's not perfect – it can't be. The accomplishment was to build a community of experts, and we did it,” Josh MacDonald
  • “The OpenTelemetry community is both welcoming and highly collaborative. This helps keep everyone motivated to reach its goal, to make observability transparent and accessible,” Mike Goldsmith

A big thanks to all the engineers from Lightstep and across the other contributing organizations that are working together to make OpenTelemetry a reality.

OpenTelemetry and Lightstep

By providing a standardized data format for distributed traces and metrics data, OpenTelemetry eliminates the need for vendor-specific integrations. Language-specific SDKs and automatic instrumentation for common languages and frameworks make it easier than ever to instrument your code and start capturing observability data. Teams can get started with basic instrumentation quickly and painlessly, and changing vendors no longer requires re-instrumenting code from scratch. Instead, distributed traces and corresponding metrics are captured and emitted in a standardized format, and can be passed to any platform that accepts this format, giving developers the observability they need to build and maintain performant software.

Be it in our platform tools, open source engineering, or customer success efforts, we at Lightstep understand the gulf between data and observability better than anyone. Leverage Lightstep’s expertise and suite of solutions to get the most from your OpenTelemetry instrumentation.

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