The Future of Observability
As we move towards open-source technology, observability becomes even more important, leading to the progression of OpenTelemetry (or: open telemetry). In fact, many companies will not release any new features until they’ve made sure that everything is observable. So, companies will find themselves asking the question, “What is observability?”.
With the rise of open-source technologies, observability has become even more critical. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot easily debug problems because you do not understand how your code works.
How can we make sense of all this fresh knowledge now that it’s at our fingertips? The meaning of this is unclear. In addition, how can we use this to the benefit of businesses? To find the answers to these questions, we must take e a look at the future projections for observability.
The History of OpenTelemetry and Observability
Before delving into the future of observability, we must first understand its history. And the history of observability ties in with the founding of Open Telemetry.
2015 marks the founding of OpenTelemetry by Google. Its original goal was to create an open standard for telemetry data collection. The idea behind this project was to develop a common language for describing telemetry events so that developers could use them across their applications without worrying about differentiating between different types of telemetry.
Google originally developed Open Telemetry as an internal project to track the performance of its infrastructure. Only a year later, in 2016, it became public with the release of the OpenTelemetry specification. The goal of Open Telemetry did not change, however, and remained as it was to create a standard way to measure and report on the performance of distributed systems.
But this project also had another purpose: to provide a way for developers to collect telemetry data from their applications while still allowing them to keep control over the data themselves.
Originally, this project was known as “Project Strobe,” but later changed its name to OpenTelemetry. This change was because other projects already used the term “Strobe.”
As time went on, OpenTelemetry became increasingly popular among developers who wanted to build distributed systems. Its popularity grew even further when Facebook announced that it would be adopting OpenTelemetry as its primary telemetry solution.
In addition to being used internally within Google, OpenTelemetry is now publicly available on GitHub. It’s been adopted by several large tech companies.
How Open Telemetry and Observability Are Tied Together
Now that we have a basic understanding of OpenTelemetry let’s dive deeper into how observability fits into the picture.
When we talk about observability, we are talking about making sure that our software can tell us what it is doing. For example, we want to know if the software is working correctly or if something unexpected happened.
We can think of observability as a form of debugging. If we don’t understand how a piece of code works, we won’t be able to figure out why it isn’t behaving properly.
If we want to debug our application, we need to understand what each line of code does. We also need to know where those changes occur.
If we don’t understand how our code works, we won’t be able to figure out where problems might arise.
To achieve this, we need to write tests that exercise every part of our code.
We might ask ourselves questions like:
- How long did it take my application to process this request?
- Is it processing requests faster than expected?
- Does it seem to be taking longer than usual?
If we don’t know how long it took to complete a task, we won’t know whether it is performing well or poorly. If we don’t understand why it is taking longer than normal, then we won’t know if it needs to be fixed.
If we don’t know what is happening inside our application, we will never be able to fix any issues that arise.
We require insight into the inner workings of our software to provide satisfactory responses to these inquiries. For this, it is necessary to keep an eye on the application.
Observability is not limited to seeing what is happening inside your application; you should also be able to observe what is happening outside your application. This observation includes network traffic, disk usage, memory consumption, etc.
Reasons to keep an eye on your application.
Keeping a close eye on your application is important for a variety of reasons. Some of the most important ones include the following:
- Detecting performance problems before they become serious
- Identifying bugs early
- Finding out which parts of your code are slow
- Determining where resources are being consumed
- Monitoring user experience
- Making sure that your system is running smoothly
OpenTelemetry provides a mechanism for collecting telemetry data from your application. This means you can get information about how your application behaves without relying on third-party tools.
OpenTelemetry allows you to collect telemetry data in a variety of ways. For example, you could use an HTTP endpoint to send telemetry data to a server every few seconds. Or, you could write custom code to record specific events.
However, OpenTelemetry does not force you to use one particular approach.
You can choose whichever way makes sense for your project.
How Can Better Data Shift Our Processes?
To make better decisions, we require more information that we can trust. The problem with conventional measures is that they are frequently inaccurate. They may give you a good idea of how your application is performing, but they aren’t always reliable.
For example, when you look at CPU utilization, you might think your application is using too much CPU time. But, if you dig deeper, you might find that there is actually nothing wrong with your application and that the issue lies elsewhere.
That is because traditional metrics only provide a snapshot of your application’s behavior. Those metrics don’t show you how your application behaves over time.
For example, suppose you have a web service that processes requests quickly, taking less than 1 second to respond to each request.
However, suppose you have another web service that takes 10 seconds to process each request.
Traditional metrics tell you that both services consume the same amount of CPU time. However, if you were to monitor your application over time, you would notice that the first web service was processing requests faster than the other web service.
This is because the first web service has a higher response rate. As a result, it uses up less CPU time per request.
Tracking an app’s performance over time is the only way to accurately predict how it will behave in the future.
Because of this, OpenTelemetry grants you access to data in a format virtually identical to that of real-time. We can track how well the application performs over time utilizing this data.
You can use the better information to improve your processes. For instance, you can use the data to determine whether or not your application needs to be scaled.
What Is Next for OpenTelemetry?
OpenTelemetry is still in early development. We’re just beginning to explore what applications can do with this technology.
Open telemetry has a wide range of potential uses. In that case, consider the following suggestions:
Monitoring the health of your cloud infrastructure
Websites like Cloudflare and Google run their own servers. Therefore, these companies need to ensure that their servers are running smoothly.
They can use OpenTelemetry to gather data about their servers’ performance. Using OpenTelemetry, they can also track how their servers perform over time to determine which features work well and which don’t. Furthermore, they could collect data from their users’ devices.
It’s also possible to monitor the health of your cloud environment using open telemetry. You can get an overview of all your resources, including computing capacity, storage, networking, and so on.
You can also keep an eye on the condition of your containers. You’ll be able to track the number of containers running in your cluster using open telemetry.
Monitoring the health and performance of your distributed systems
With open telemetry, you’ll be able to monitor the health and performance of any distributed system.
You can even monitor the health of your Kubernetes clusters.
Tracking the health of your IoT devices
IoT systems and devices are growing increasingly complex. This complexity can make monitoring and observing device functionality a major challenge.
However, open telemetry offers the potential as an effective way of monitoring IoT devices.
Detecting anomalies in your network traffic
You can use open telemetry for anomaly detection. You will be able to determine when there are issues with your network through the utilization of this strategy.
Identifying potential loopholes in the security system
OpenTelemetry can be utilized to find vulnerabilities in a system’s security.
It will show you whether any common security problems exist in the code you have written.
Identifying and fixing bugs in your program
OpenTelemetry is a resource that can be utilized as a tool throughout the troubleshooting process. Logs and other types of analytics can be analyzed with its assistance, allowing you to find bugs in software.
OpenTelemetry makes it easy to instrument your application. For example, you can add tracing statements to your code to collect data about your application.
This essay has analyzed and addressed the benefits of putting OpenTelemetry into practice. Moreover, we have also demonstrated how you might use it to keep track of your app’s overall health and performance.
We’ve also seen how OpenTelemetry can be used to monitor the health of our cloud environments and IoT devices.
Further developments in this technology remain open to various possibilities. Fine-tuning observability and open telemetry functions will only positively impact our apps and businesses.
Check out TelemetryHub to gain the amazing benefits of implementing open telemetry and observability for your apps.