OpenTelemetry is Officially in Beta!

Morgan McLean
Mar 30, 2020 · 3 min read

Co-authored by maintainers, community contributors, and members of the OpenTelemetry governance committee.

OpenTelemetry has just begun its first wave of beta releases, starting with the Collector, Java auto-instrumentation agent, and the Erlang, Go, Java, JavaScript, and Python SDKs, followed by the .Net SDK. This means that you can begin integrating OpenTelemetry into your applications and client libraries to capture app-level metrics and distributed traces.

If you’re not already familiar with OpenTelemetry, the project provides a single set of language-specific APIs, SDKs, agents, and other components that you can use to collect distributed traces, metrics, and related metadata from your applications. In addition to its core capabilities, much of OpenTelemetry’s utility comes from integrations for HTTP and RPC libraries, storage clients, etc. that allow developers to capture critical observability data from their applications with almost zero effort. After capturing these signals, each OpenTelemetry component can export them to your backends of choice, including Prometheus, Jaeger, Zipkin, Azure Monitor, Dynatrace, Google Cloud Monitoring + Trace, Honeycomb, Lightstep, New Relic, and Splunk.

OpenTelemetry was formed through the merger of the OpenCensus and OpenTracing projects and communities in 2019.

This first beta release includes:

  • APIs and SDKs for Erlang, Go, Java, JavaScript, and Python, which include the interfaces and implementations that you need to define and create distributed traces and metrics, manage sampling and context propagation, etc. The .Net API + SDK will follow shortly.
  • Language-specific API integrations for at least one popular HTTP framework, gRPC, and at least one popular storage client, which can be enabled with one line of code, and will automatically capture relevant traces and metrics and handle context propagation.
  • Language-specific exporters that allow SDKs to send captured traces and metrics to any supported backends.
  • The OpenTelemetry Collector, which can receive data from OpenTelemetry SDKs and other sources, and then export this telemetry to any supported backend.
  • Auto-Instrumentation for Java that captures telemetry from 47 Java libraries and frameworks without requiring any modification to your application.
  • Documentation for each component including getting started guides.

As these and subsequent OpenTelemetry components enter beta (requirements and release plan), we are declaring that they are ready to start integrating with. This means that service developers can begin to include OpenTelemetry in their applications and that maintainers of storage, RPC, etc. clients should start testing the OpenTelemetry APIs to provide better observability of their users. However, this does come with some caveats:

  • Each OpenTelemetry component will likely undergo several beta releases in the coming weeks — this is simply the first.
  • While functional, beta components have not gone through thorough testing or benchmarking and they are not intended for production workloads.
  • While we aim to avoid any major changes to the OpenTelemetry APIs between beta and GA release candidates, we cannot guarantee that there will not be any changes during this period.
  • Some functionality is still missing from the first beta and will be added in subsequent releases; this is documented in each component’s GitHub repository.

In the coming weeks, you can expect additional beta releases from the first wave of OpenTelemetry components and others. In particular, we expect the API + SDK for .Net to be ready soon. Eventually, components will reach a level of maturity and testing where we’ll feel confident in naming them a release candidate (RC), after which we will not make any breaking changes to the APIs for that component.

This beta milestone is a huge accomplishment for the OpenTelemetry community, and every contributor should be proud of the fact that OpenTelemetry is now working and ready to integrate with. This is a great opportunity for the maintainers of client libraries to begin integrating with the OpenTelemetry APIs, for end-users to start integrating it into their services, and for anyone interested in contributing to join our rapidly growing community by joining our mailing lists, Gitter chats, and the monthly community meeting!

OpenTelemetry

OpenTelemetry makes robust, portable telemetry a built-in…

OpenTelemetry

OpenTelemetry makes robust, portable telemetry a built-in feature of cloud-native software, and is the next major version of both OpenTracing and OpenCensus.

Morgan McLean

Written by

Co creator of OpenTelemetry / OpenCensus, PM at Splunk

OpenTelemetry

OpenTelemetry makes robust, portable telemetry a built-in feature of cloud-native software, and is the next major version of both OpenTracing and OpenCensus.

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