News, Opinion

CTO at Cisco AppDynamics explains how OpenTelemetry is transforming IT departments

Joe Byrne, Executive CTO at Cisco AppDynamics outlines how OpenTelemetry is changing IT departments and enabling them to embark on their journey to full-stack observability.

The emergence of OpenTelemetry is a major opportunity for businesses of all sizes, giving them visibility into availability and performance across every single technical element of their IT environment.

OpenTelemetry is a vendor-agnostic and portable standard for metrics, events, logs, and traces (MELT), that turns the collection of telemetry into a commodity.

Rather than having to deploy agents to monitor availability and performance, once applications are deployed in production, developers can now also code health and performance telemetry data collection into their application to generate even more precise data once running in production.

The advantages for the organisations are considerable. OpenTelemetry is the standard that unlocks 360-degree visibility into any IT environment and, when combined with advanced analytics, AI, and machine learning, it unlocks the potential of full-stack observability.

Suddenly, with OpenTelemetry and advanced analytics, technologists can get real-time insights into performance right up and down the IT stack — compute, storage, network and public Internet — from customer-facing applications all the way to the back end.

Organisations in all sectors have begun to see the importance of full and unified visibility into IT availability and performance across their technology environments.

They have come to realise that this is the only way to address the soaring levels of complexity that their IT departments are encountering across an ever more dynamic and fragmented IT estate.

Technologists are aware that today’s customers have zero tolerance for poor digital experience. IT leaders know that a single slip-up in performance delivery could lead a customer to switch to an alternative brand and likely never return.

As a result, full-stack observability has become a business-critical priority for organisations. The latest AppDynamics report, The Journey to Observability, revealed that more than half of the businesses surveyed have already begun their transition to full-stack observability.

And 36% plan to do so in the next 12 months. Meaning that, 90% of organisations will be somewhere along their journey to full-stack observability in 2022.

OpenTelemetry is set to play a massive role in accelerating this transition to full-stack observability over the next 12 months and beyond, providing a straightforward, cost-effective way for technologists to generate greater visibility into their IT environments.

But not only can OpenTelemetry transform the way organisations optimise IT performance and deliver seamless digital experiences, it can also transform the way IT departments themselves operate.

Here are three of such changes:

  1. Development team concern about production times

To date, the critical focus for development teams was to build functionality within the given application as intuitive, engaging, and easy to use as possible.

But OpenTelemetry often calls on them to integrate code to deliver critical telemetry data on performance in a live production environment.

This is a significant shift in developers’ responsibilities, and requires that they take a broader approach, ensuring new applications and digital services have the capabilities to consistently and accurately collect the required information.

  1. Teams can choose the tools they need

OpenTelemetry gives individual teams (whether they be ITOps, CloudOps or SRE) more freedom to choose the tools they want to use when managing availability and performance while working from the same telemetry data.

OpenTelemetry prevents vendor lock-in and delivers data freedom, to be duplicated and sent to multiple places at once. So, data can go to specific open-source tools such as Jaeger for some teams, as well as to enterprise-grade observability solutions such as AppDynamics for others.

Teams can pick the best tool for their own specific requirements in an easy, flexible, cost-effective way, and are no longer restricted to monitoring tools that may not provide the visibility required for a given project.

  1. The processing and correlation of OpenTelemetry data

OpenTelemetry can collect data from right across the IT stack, but it doesn’t group data together and deliver more holistic insights into availability and performance issues and causes.

So, for IT departments to reap the benefits of OpenTelemetry, they must find a way to consume and process the raw telemetry data and correlate it with other sources to gain business-focused insights and take prioritised actions.

However, most organisations will continue to deploy agent-driven observability to monitor and optimise performance on mission-critical applications. Today, these solutions provide deeper insight than OpenTelemetry can for now.

Also, whereas OpenTelemetry is focused purely on the tech domain, the best full-stack observability solutions provide real-time insights at a user and business level, enabling technologists to make decisions and prioritise actions based on customer and business impacts.

So, IT departments must ensure they have the right full-stack observability platform in place to integrate the vast volumes of OpenTelemetry data they will be generating, and to provide the advanced analytics required to make business-focused decisions.

OpenTelemetry is essential to accelerate the journey to full-stack observability

According to our recent research, 85% of technologists believe 2022 will be a pivotal year in their journey towards full-stack observability.

They know they must continue to 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.

OpenTelemetry is now key to accelerating this shift towards full-stack observability, providing a level of visibility into the IT estate that simply has not been viable for most organisations until now.

Those IT departments that can successfully integrate OpenTelemetry into their observability strategies have a unique opportunity to deliver game-changing impact for their organisations.

Previous ArticleNext Article


The free newsletter covering the top industry headlines