SE Radio 556: Alex Boten on Open Telemetry : Software program Engineering Radio

Alex BotenSoftware program engineer Alex Boten, writer of Cloud Native Observability with Open Telemetry, joins host Robert Blumen for a dialog about software program telemetry and the OpenTelemetry mission. After a quick evaluate of the subject and the OpenTelemetry mission’s origins rooted within the want for interoperability between telemetry sources and again ends, they focus on the OpenTelemetry server and its options, together with transforms, filtering, sampling, and charge limiting. They take into account a spread of subjects, beginning with different topologies with and with out the telemetry server, server pipelines, and scaling out the server, in addition to an in depth have a look at extension factors and extensions; authentication; adoption; and migration.

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Robert Blumen 00:00:16 For Software program Engineering Radio. That is Robert Bluman. At the moment I’ve with me Alex Boten. Alex is a senior workers software program engineer at LightStep. Previous to that, he was at Cisco. He’s contributed to open-source tasks within the telemetry space, together with the OpenTelemetry mission. He’s the writer of the guide, Cloud Native Observability with OpenTelemetry, and that would be the topic of our dialog as we speak. Alex, welcome to Software program Engineering Radio.

Alex Boten 00:00:50 Whats up. Thanks for having me. It’s nice to be right here.

Robert Blumen 00:00:52 Would you want so as to add something about your background that I didn’t point out?

Alex Boten 00:00:57 I feel you captured most of it. I’ve been contributing to OpenTelemetry for a bit of bit over three years. I’ve labored on varied parts of the mission in addition to the specification, and I’m at present a maintainer on the OpenTelemetry Collector.

Robert Blumen 00:01:11 Nice. Now on Software program Engineering Radio, we now have coated numerous telemetry-related points, together with Logging in episode 220, Excessive Cardinality Monitoring, which was 429, Prometheus Distributed Tracing and episode 455, which was known as Software program Telemetry. So, listeners can positively hearken to a few of these in our again catalog to get extra normal data. We’ll be focusing extra on this dialog about what OpenTelemetry brings to the desk that we now have not already coated. Let’s begin out with, within the telemetry house, the place may you situate OpenTelemetry? What’s it just like? What’s it completely different? What drawback does it resolve?

Alex Boten 00:02:02 That’s an excellent query. So, I feel the issue that OpenTelemetry goals to resolve — and we’ve already seen it occur within the trade as we speak — is it modifications how software builders instrument their software, how telemetry is generated, and the way it’s collected, after which transmitted throughout programs. And if I have been to consider what it’s just like the very first thing that involves thoughts are the tasks that actually triggered it to emerge, that are OpenCensus and OpenTracing, that are two different open-source tasks that have been shaped a bit of bit earlier. I feel it began in possibly 2017, 2016, to offer a typical round producing distributed tracing. After which additionally OpenCensus additionally addressed a bit of bit round metrics and log assortment.

Robert Blumen 00:02:50 What was occurring within the telemetry space previous to these tasks that created the necessity for them, and what did they do?

Alex Boten 00:02:57 Yeah, so I feel, in case you consider telemetry because the area in software program, it’s been round for a very very long time, proper? Like, folks as early because the earliest of pc scientists wished to know what their computer systems have been doing. And earlier within the days of getting a single machine, it was pretty simple to print some log statements and have a look at what your machine was doing. However because the trade grew, because the Web of Issues picked up, as programs turned bigger and bigger to deal with the rising demand, I feel programs turned inherently extra advanced. And we’ve seen an evolution of what software program telemetry actually turned. So, in case you consider earlier we have been capable of log information on a single system. As folks needed to deploy a number of programs, a necessity for centralized logging got here alongside to be able to combination and do combination searches on logs.

Alex Boten 00:03:54 And that turned actually expensive. After which we noticed a rise in people desirous to seize extra significant metrics from their programs the place they might create dashboards and do queries, whereas it was cheaper than going by way of and analyzing log information. And I feel the factor that I’ve seen occur within the final 20 years is each time there was a brand new possibly paradigm round the kind of telemetry that programs ought to emit, there was an opportunity for innovation to happen, which is nice to see, however in case you’re an finish person who’s simply making an attempt to get telemetry out of a system, out of an software, it’s a very irritating course of to need to go and reinstrument your code each few months or each few years, relying on what the flavour of the day is. And I feel what OpenCensus and OpenTracing and OpenTelemetry tried to seize is addressing the ache that customers have in terms of instrumenting their code.

Robert Blumen 00:04:49 What’s the relationship of OpenTelemetry to different programs on the market, resembling Zipkin, Jaeger, Graylog, Prometheus?

Alex Boten 00:05:00 So the connection that OpenTelemetry has with the Zipkin, the Jaegers and the Prometheus of the world is basically round offering interoperability between these programs. So, an software developer would instrument their code utilizing OpenTelemetry, after which they’ll emit that telemetry information to no matter backend programs they need. So, in case you wished to proceed utilizing Jaeger, you might positively do this with an software that’s instrumented with OpenTelemetry. The opposite factor that OpenTelemetry tries to do is it tries to offer a translation layer so that people which might be possibly as we speak emitting information to Zipkin or to Jaeger or to Prometheus can deploy a collector inside their environments after which translate the info from a selected format of these different programs into the OpenTelemetry format, in order that they’ll then emit the info to no matter backend they select by merely updating the configuration on their Collector with out having to return to their functions who could also be legacy programs that no person desires to switch anymore and nonetheless be capable of ship their information to completely different locations.

Robert Blumen 00:06:06 Is OpenTelemetry then an interoperability commonplace, a system, or each?

Alex Boten 00:06:13 It’s actually the usual to instrument your functions and to offer the interoperability between the completely different programs. OpenTelemetry doesn’t supply a backend; there’s no log database or metrics database that OpenTelemetry supplies. Perhaps in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later that that can occur. We’re definitely seeing folks which might be supporting the OpenTelemetry format beginning to present these backend choices for people which might be emitting solely OpenTelemetry information. However that’s not one thing the mission is curious about fixing at this level. It’s actually in regards to the instrumentation piece and the gathering and transmission of the info.

Robert Blumen 00:06:52 In studying about this, I got here throughout dialogue of a protocol known as OTLP. Are you able to clarify what that’s?

Alex Boten 00:07:00 So the OpenTelemetry protocol is a protocol that’s generated from protobuf definitions. Each implementation of OpenTelemetry helps its intention is to offer excessive efficiency information transmission in a format that’s standardized throughout all of the implementations. It’s additionally supported by the OpenTelemetry Collector. And what it actually means is, so this format helps all of the completely different alerts that OpenTelemetry helps. So, log traces, metrics, and possibly down the highway, occasions and profiling, which is at present being developed within the mission. And the concept is in case you assist the OpenTelemetry protocol, that is the protocol that you’d use to both transmit the info, or in case you’re a vendor or in case you’re a backend supplier, you’d use that protocol to obtain the info. And it’s truly been actually good to see even tasks like Prometheus beginning to assist the OTLP protocol for transmitting information.

Robert Blumen 00:07:56 So, let me summarize what we now have up to now, and you’ll inform me if I’ve understood. I’m constructing an software, I may instrument it in a method that’s suitable with this commonplace. I may not even know the place my logs or metrics are going to finish up. After which whoever makes use of my system, which can be folks in the identical group or possibly I’m delivery an open-source mission, which has many customers — they’ll then plug of their backend of alternative, and they don’t seem to be essentially tied to any choices I made about how I feel the telemetry shall be collected. It creates the flexibility of customers to plug and play between the functions and the backends. Is that kind of right?

Alex Boten 00:08:42 Yeah, that’s precisely proper. I feel it actually decouples the instrumentation piece, which traditionally has been the most costly side of organizations gaining observability inside of their programs, from the choice of the place am I going to ship that information. And the good factor about that is that it actually frees the tip customers from the concept of vendor lock-in, which I feel a number of us who’ve labored in in programs for a very long time at all times discovered it to be troublesome. The dialog of making an attempt to possibly check out a brand new vendor in case you wished to check some new function that you simply wished to have or no matter, often would imply that you would need to return and re-instrument your code. Whereas now with OpenTelemetry, when you have instrumented your software, hopefully that is the final time you must fear about instrumenting your software as a result of you may simply level that information to completely different backends.

Robert Blumen 00:09:34 A short while in the past you probably did point out the Collector, and we shall be spending a while on that, however I wish to perceive what are the doable configurations of the system. What I feel we’re speaking about now’s if the code is instrumented with the OpenTelemetry commonplace, that it may discuss on to backends. The opposite possibility being you’ve got a Collector in between them. Are these the 2 foremost configurations?

Alex Boten 00:10:02 Yeah, that’s proper. It’s additionally doable to configure your instrumented software to ship information to backends instantly: in case you wished to decide on to ship the info to Jaeger, I feel most implementations that assist OpenTelemetry formally have a Jaeger exporter, for instance. So there are alternatives in case you wished to ship information out of your software to your backend, however ideally you’d ship that information in a protocol which you could then configure utilizing an OpenTelemetry Collector later down the road.

Robert Blumen 00:10:31 Let’s come again to Collector in a bit, however I wish to discuss instrumentation. Usually if I wish to discuss to a sure backend, I would like to make use of their library to emit the telemetry. How does that change with OpenTelemetry?

Alex Boten 00:10:49 Yeah, so with the OpenTelemetry commonplace, you’ve got two points of the instrumentation. So, there’s the OpenTelemetry API, which is basically what most builders would work together with. There’s a really restricted quantity of floor space that the API covers. For instance, for tracing the APIs, primarily you can begin a span and you’ll end a span and get a tracer. That’s roughly the floor space that’s making an attempt to be coated there. And the concept we wished to push ahead with, with our restricted API, is to simply cut back the cognitive load that customers must tackle to undertake OpenTelemetry. The opposite piece of the instrumentation that people must work together with is the SDK, which actually permits finish customers to configure how the telemetry is produced and the place it’s despatched to. In the event you’re eager about this within the context of how is it completely different from specific backend and its instrumentation, the, the distinction is what OpenTelemetry you’d solely ever use the OpenTelemetry API and configure the SDK to ship information to the backend of alternative.

Alex Boten 00:11:55 However the API that you’d use for instrumenting the code wouldn’t be any completely different relying on which backend you ship it to. And there’s that clear separation between the API and the SDK that permits you to actually solely instrument with that minimal interface and fear in regards to the particulars of how and the place that information is shipped utilizing the SDK configuration, which in my guide I check with as telemetry pipelines.

Robert Blumen 00:12:17 In that dialogue you talked about tracing, I’ve seen a number of logging programs, you may log no matter you need after which it places the burden on a Collector to choose up the logs and format them. After which metrics, you could have to make use of a library. If I’m adopting OpenTelemetry, how does it deal with logs and metrics?

Alex Boten 00:12:40 Yeah, so for metrics, there’s an API that calls out particular devices. So OpenTelemetry has a listing of, I imagine it’s six devices at present that it helps to kind of have the identical performance as just like the library. And I feel a number of these devices have been developed in collaboration with each the open metrics and the Prometheus communities to make sure that we’re suitable with these people. So, for the logging library, that’s a bit of bit completely different in OpenTelemetry — or a minimum of it was on the time of writing my guide, which was written in 2021, principally. The concept behind logging and OpenTelemetry was, we already have been conscious there have been so many various APIs for logging in every language. Every language has like a dozen logging APIs and we didn’t essentially wish to create a brand new logging API that folks must undertake. And so, the concept was to actually hook into these present APIs. It’s been an attention-grabbing transition although. I feel up to now, possibly up to now six or eight months or so, there’s been virtually an ask for an API and an SDK within the logging sign as nicely. That’s nonetheless at present in growth. So, keep tuned for what’s going to occur there.

Robert Blumen 00:13:51 In what languages are the OpenTelemetry SDKs out there?

Alex Boten 00:13:57 Yeah, so there’s at present 11 formally supported languages. I’m most likely going to neglect a few of them, however there’s positively one in C++, in Go, in Rust, in Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, JavaScript, all these languages are coated formally by OpenTelemetry. And what this implies is that the implementations have been reviewed by somebody on the technical committee, and the implementations themselves reside throughout the OpenTelemetry group in GitHub and has the identical course of. We’ve maintainers and approvers for every a kind of languages. There’s a few further implementations that aren’t formally supported but, however that’s actually simply because there hasn’t been sufficient contributors to it but. So, I feel there’s one in Lua and possibly Julia is the opposite one?

Robert Blumen 00:14:46 I’ve discovered when instrumenting code up and spend a number of time doing issues like writing a message {that a} sure technique has been known as, and listed here are the parameters — very boilerplate steps. I perceive that OpenTelemetry can to some extent automate that? How does that work?

Alex Boten 00:15:08 Yeah, so there’s — one of many very first OTEPs (the OpenTelemetry Enhancement Proposals) that was created within the early phases of the mission was to assist to assist auto instrumentation out of the field. So, the trouble of auto instrumentation in numerous languages is at completely different phases. So, I do know the Java and the Python auto instrumentation efforts are a bit of bit additional alongside. I feel .NET is coming alongside properly, and I feel JavaScript is, as nicely. However the concept behind auto instrumentation with OpenTelemetry particularly is similar to what we’ve seen in different efforts earlier than the place it actually ties instrumentation to present third celebration open-source library or third celebration libraries. Proper? And the concept being, for instance, in case you’re utilizing the Python SDK — I’m utilizing that for instance as a result of I spent a good period of time writing some code there.

Alex Boten 00:16:02 In the event you’re utilizing the Python SDK and also you wished to make use of, for instance, the Python Redis library, nicely you might use the instrumentation library that’s offered by OpenTelemetry, which lets you name to this library, which monkey patches the Redis library that it then makes a name to. However, in that intermediate step, it acts as a center layer that devices the calls to the library that you’d be making. So, in case you have been calling Konnect, for instance, it could name Konnect on the instrumentation library begin span, possibly report some sort of metric in regards to the operation, make the decision to the Redis library, after which on the return it could finish the span and produce some telemetry there with some semantic conference attributes.

Robert Blumen 00:16:49 Clarify the time period monkey patching.

Alex Boten 00:16:52 So monkey patching is when a library intercepts a name and replaces a name with itself as a substitute of the unique name. So, within the case of the Redis instance I used to be utilizing, the Redis instrumentation library intercepts the decision to hook up with Redis, after which it replaces it with its personal join name, which does the instrumentation, as nicely.

Robert Blumen 00:17:17 This I may see being very helpful in that in case you’ve bought a library and one thing’s going unsuitable inside the library, I don’t know the place, then the earlier possibility has been that I must get the supply code of the library, and if I need logging, I must go and insert log statements or insert metrics or no matter sort of telemetry I’m making an attempt to seize into another person’s supply code and rebuild it. So, does this allow you to get visibility of what’s taking place inside third-party libraries that you simply’ve downloaded together with your package deal supervisor and also you’re not curious about modifying the code?

Alex Boten 00:17:57 Proper. I feel that’s a key good thing about it’s that you simply’re lastly capable of see what these libraries are doing, or possibly you’re not accustomed to the code otherwise you’re not likely positive of the trail by way of the code and also you’re capable of see all the library calls which might be instrumented on beneath the unique name of your software, which a number of the time you’ll discover issues there, but it surely’s actually arduous to determine them since you don’t essentially know what’s taking place with out studying the supply code beneath in any respect.

Robert Blumen 00:18:24 I’ve used a few of these languages within the 11. I’m conscious that each language is completely different so far as what entry it offers you to intercept issues at runtime or possibly generate byte code and inject it into the library. I might assume that the flexibility to do that goes to vary significantly primarily based on the language, and possibly C++ being moderately unfriendly to that. Do you count on to realize a parity with all of the languages within the extent which you could supply this function? Or will it at all times work higher on some than others?

Alex Boten 00:19:02 That’s an excellent query. I feel, ideally, I think about that instrumentation libraries are a brief repair. I actually imagine that what all people’s hoping for throughout the group, and we’ve seen some Open Supply tasks already attain out and begin instrumenting their functions. We’re actually hoping that these libraries will in use the OpenTelemetry API to instrument themselves and take away the necessity for these instrumentation libraries altogether. For instance, if an HTTP server framework have been to instrument its calls to its endpoints utilizing OpenTelemetry, the tip person wouldn’t even want this instrumentation library. And we may obtain parity throughout all of the languages as a result of every a kind of libraries would simply use the usual moderately than counting on both byte code manipulation or monkey patching, which it really works for what it’s, but it surely’s not at all times the best possibility.

Alex Boten 00:20:01 With monkey patching, possibly the underlying libraries name modifications parameters, and you must maintain observe of these modifications inside these instrumentation libraries. And in order that, that at all times poses a problem. However ideally, like I stated, these libraries would, will go away because the mission continues to achieve traction throughout the trade. And we’ve already seen, I feel there was just a few Python open-source tasks that reached out. I do know the Spring people in Java had a mission to instrument utilizing OpenTelemetry. Envoy and some different proxies have additionally began utilizing OpenTelemetry. So it’s positively, I feel in some magician lab we’re nice for the quick time period, however in the long run it could be supreme if issues have been instrumented themselves.

Robert Blumen 00:20:45 That will be nice. However there are at all times going to be some older libraries that possibly not beneath as energetic growth the place there’s not likely anybody round to switch them. Then you definitely at all times have this to fall again on in these circumstances. I wouldn’t see it’s going away.

Alex Boten 00:21:02 Proper. Ideally it could, the norm would turn into instrument your libraries with OpenTelemetry, and for these libraries that aren’t being modified and completely proceed to make use of the mechanisms that we now have in place as we speak.

Robert Blumen 00:21:16 Now I feel it’s the time to start out speaking in regards to the Collector. We’ve talked in regards to the supply and the way this information will get revealed. A short while in the past we talked about you may ship instantly information from a writer to a backend or you may have a Collector in between. What’s the Collector, what does it do, why may I need one?

Alex Boten 00:21:36 Yeah, so the Collector is a separate course of that will be operating inside your setting. It’s a binary that’s revealed as a separate binary, or docker picture in case you’re curious about that. There’s additionally packages for, I feel, Debian and RedHat. And the Collector can be a vacation spot to your telemetry that may then act as a router. So, it has a number of, I imagine it’s over 100 receivers, which assist completely different codecs and likewise can scrape metric information from completely different programs. And it has exporters, and once more, I lose observe of it, however I feel it’s over 100 codecs of exporters that the OpenTelemetry Collector helps. So you may ship information to it in a single format and export it utilizing a distinct format in case you’re so eager on. You may also use processors throughout the Collector, which let you manipulate the info, whether or not or not it’s for issues like redacting, possibly PII that you simply may need, or in case you wished to counterpoint the info with some further attributes — possibly about your environments that solely the Collector would find out about.

Alex Boten 00:22:44 And that’s the Collector in a nutshell. It’s out there to deploy, as I stated, as a picture or as a package deal. There’s additionally, you may deploy utilizing Helm charts. You’ll be able to deploy utilizing the OpenTelemetry operator in case you’re utilizing a Kubernetes setting.

Robert Blumen 00:22:59 I’m going to delve into a few of these inside parts. I wish to discuss first a bit of bit in regards to the networking. It may be less complicated if I’ve N sources and variety of Ok backends, as a substitute of an N cross Ok topology, an N cross 1 and 1 cross Ok. Do you’ve got any ideas on, is {that a} motivator to simplify your networking and every little thing that goes together with that? Is {that a} motivator for adopting a Collector?

Alex Boten 00:23:30 Yeah, I feel so. I feel the Collector makes it very interesting for quite a lot of causes. One being that your egress out of your community could solely be coming from one level. So, from a safety auditing sort of perspective, you may see the place all the info is basically going out moderately than having a bunch of various endpoints that need to be linked to some exterior programs. I feel from that time alone, it’s positively price deploying a Collector inside a community. I feel there’s additionally the flexibility to throttle the info that’s going out is vital. In case you have N endpoints which might be sending information, it’s actually troublesome to throttle how a lot information is definitely leaving your community, which may find yourself being expensive. So, in case you wished to do issues like sampling, you’d most likely wish to have a Collector in place, in order that you might actually alter it as wanted.

Robert Blumen 00:24:22 How a lot telemetry can one occasion of Collector deal with?

Alex Boten 00:24:30 Yeah, I imply I feel that at all times relies on the dimensions of the occasion that you simply’re operating. They’re on the OpenTelemetry Collector repository. There’s a fairly complete benchmarks which were run towards the Collector for each traces and logs and metrics. And I imagine the occasion sizes that have been used, if reminiscence serves proper, they have been utilizing ECE2 for the testing for the benchmarks. And I imagine that’s all listed on the web site there. For folk which might be curious about discovering out.

Robert Blumen 00:25:01 If I wished to both run extra workload than what I may put by way of one occasion or for high-availability causes, have a clustered implementation with a a number of Collectors, is it doable say to place a load balancer in entrance of it and distribute it? Or what are the choices for a extra clustered implementation?

Alex Boten 00:25:24 Yeah, so the way in which you’d wish to most likely deploy that is: you’d wish to use some sort of load balancer relying on the, the telemetry you’re sending out, it’s possible you’ll wish to use like a routing processor that permits you to be extra particular as to which information every one of many Collectors shall be receiving. So for instance, in case you had, possibly a bunch of Collectors which might be deployed which might be nearer to your functions, that will then be routed by way of possibly a Collector as a gateway and also you wished to ship solely a sure variety of traces to the Collector as a gateway, you might fork it utilizing the routing processor primarily based on the hint IDs or one thing like that, in case you wished to.

Robert Blumen 00:26:06 So, with stateless servers you may arrange a reasonably dumb load balancer and each request would get routed primarily to a random occasion. Is there any causes I’ve a bit extra of a sharding or pinning of sure workloads in a clustered implementation?

Alex Boten 00:26:27 I feel a few of this relies on what you’re doing with the Collectors. So for instance, in case you’re doing sampling on traces, you wouldn’t need your sampling determination being made throughout, like there’s, there’s no approach to share that sampling determination throughout Collectors. And so, you’d need to have the ability to make that call on the identical occasion of the Collector, for instance. And so you’d actually need all the information for a selected hint to go to the identical Collector to have the ability to make the choice on the pattern.

Robert Blumen 00:26:56 You employ the phrase gateway, which is a standard phrase, however I perceive it means one thing particular in OpenTelemetry the place you’ve got a gateway mannequin and an agent mannequin. Clarify these two fashions, the distinction between them.

Alex Boten 00:27:11 Yeah, so within the agent deployment for the OpenTelemetry Collector, you’d be operating your OpenTelemetry Collector on the identical host or the identical node, possibly as a part of a demon set in Kubernetes. So, you’d have a separate occasion of the Collector for every one of many nodes which might be operating inside your setting. And you’d have your software sending information to the native agent earlier than it could then ship it as much as wherever your vacation spot is. Within the gateway deployment mannequin, you’d have the Collector act as a standalone software, and it could have its personal deployment. Perhaps you’d have one per information middle or possibly one per area. And that will act as possibly the egress out of your community. And that’s sort of the gateway deployment.

Robert Blumen 00:28:02 What you described as an agent mannequin that sounds similar to me of what I’ve seen known as sidecar with another companies. Is agent the identical as a sidecar?

Alex Boten 00:28:14 Sure and no. It may be like a sidecar, I feel once I consider a sidecar as, I might assume that it could be connected to each software that’s operating with a sidecar alongside it, which might imply that you simply may find yourself with a number of situations of the Collector operating on the identical node, for instance, which can be mandatory in particular circumstances, or it is probably not, it actually relies on your use case, whether or not or not there’s accessibility out of your software to the host in any respect. That relies on what your insurance policies are, how your insurance policies are confined or outlined. So, it could possibly be the identical because the sidecar, but it surely doesn’t essentially need to be.

Robert Blumen 00:28:52 Delving extra into the internals of the Collector and what you are able to do, you talked about processors and exporters — and also you’ve coated a few of this earlier than, however why don’t you begin with what are a few of the main sorts of processors that you simply may wish to use?

Alex Boten 00:29:11 Yeah, so I feel that the 2 advisable processors by the group are the, the batch processor, which tries to take your information and batch it moderately than sending it each time there’s telemetry coming in. That is making an attempt to optimize a few of the compression and cut back the quantity of knowledge that will get despatched out. In order that’s one of many advisable processor. The opposite one is the reminiscence restrict processor, which limits sort of the higher sure of reminiscence that you’d enable a Collector to make use of. So you’d most likely wish to use that within the case of you’ve got a selected occasion of some type with some sort of reminiscence outlined, you’d wish to configure your reminiscence restrict processor to be beneath that threshold in order that when the Collector hits that reminiscence restrict, it may begin returning error messages to all of its receivers in order that possibly the senders of the info can go forward and again off on the quantity of knowledge that’s being despatched or one thing like that.

Alex Boten 00:30:02 One of many different processors that’s actually attention-grabbing to many of us is the rework processor, which let you use the OpenTelemetry Transformation Language to switch information. So, possibly you wish to strip some specific attributes, or possibly you wish to change some values inside your telemetry information and you are able to do that with the rework processor, which remains to be at present beneath growth. However I feel it early days within the processor there was a number of pleasure round what could possibly be carried out with processors. And so, folks began growing filtering processors and attribute processor for metrics and all these different sort of processors that made it a bit of bit sophisticated to know which processors people needs to be utilizing as a result of there’s so a lot of them. And generally, one could assist one sign however not the opposite, whereas the rework processor actually tries to possibly unify this and to a single processor like that can be utilized to do all of that.

Robert Blumen 00:30:55 You stated there’s a number of pleasure round this function. What was it that folks discovered so thrilling about it?

Alex Boten 00:31:01 Yeah, I feel from the maintainer and contributor standpoint, I feel we have been trying ahead to deprecating a few of the different processors that could possibly be mixed inside a single one. It reduces the, once more, I feel it reduces the cognitive load that folks need to cope with when ramping up on OpenTelemetry. I feel figuring out that if you wish to modify your telemetry, all you must do is use this one processor and, be taught the language that you’d want to remodel the info versus going by way of and looking the repository for 5 – 6 completely different processors. I feel that’s typically nice to consolidate that a bit of bit.

Robert Blumen 00:31:39 Inform me extra in regards to the language that’s used to do these transforms.

Alex Boten 00:31:43 Yeah, so the OpenTelemetry language for people which might be curious about discovering the complete definition is it’s all out there contained in the OpenTelemetry Collector: can journey repository, but it surely actually permits people to outline in a language that sign agnostic what they want to do with their information. So it permits you to get specific attributes, set specific attributes, and modify information inside your Collector.

Robert Blumen 00:32:09 The opposite inside element of Collectors I wish to spend a while on is exporters. What do these do?

Alex Boten 00:32:17 Yeah, so the exporter take the info that’s been ingested by the OpenTelemetry Collector. So, the OpenTelemetry Collector use receivers to obtain the info in a format that’s particular to whichever receiver is configured. It then transforms the info to inside information format throughout the Collector after which it exports it utilizing whichever exporter is configured. So, the exporter’s job is to take the info, the interior information format, and format it to the specification of the vacation spot of the exporter.

Robert Blumen 00:32:50 Okay. So, what are some examples of various exporters which might be out there?

Alex Boten 00:32:54 Yeah, so there’s a bunch of exporters which might be vendor-specific exporters that reside within the repository as we speak. There’s additionally most of the open-source tasks have their very own exporters. So, Jaeger has its personal, Prometheus has its personal exporter. There’s just a few completely different logging choices as nicely. Yeah.

Robert Blumen 00:33:12 So information is available in, it goes by way of some variety of processors after which goes out by way of an exporter. Is there an idea of a pipeline that maps the trail that information takes by way of the Collector?

Alex Boten 00:33:26 Yeah, so one of the best place to search out that is actually contained in the Collector configuration. So, the Collector is configured utilizing YAML and on the very essence of it, you’d configure your exporters, your receivers, and your processors, and then you definately would outline the trail by way of these parts within the pipeline part of the configuration, which lets you specify what pipelines you wish to configure for tracing, and for logs, and for metrics to undergo to the Collector. So, you’d configure your receivers there, after which your processors, after which your exporters inside every a kind of definitions. And you may configure a number of pipelines for every sign, giving them particular person names.

Robert Blumen 00:34:07 And the way does incoming information choose or get mapped onto a selected pipeline?

Alex Boten 00:34:14 Yeah, so the way in which that the info can be mapped on every pipeline is through the particular receiver that’s used to obtain the info. So for instance, in case you’ve configured a Jaeger receiver on one pipeline and a Zipkin exporter on a distinct pipeline and also you’re sending information by way of Zipkin, then the pipeline that has the Zipkin endpoint can be the vacation spot of that information, after which that’s the pipeline that the info would undergo.

Robert Blumen 00:34:40 So, does every endpoint hear on a distinct port or does it have a path or what’s the mapping?

Alex Boten 00:34:47 Yeah, in order that relies on the particular receiver. So, some receivers have the flexibility to configure completely different paths; some solely configure completely different ports. It additionally relies on the protocol that you simply’re utilizing for the receiver and whether or not it helps it or not. And as I discussed, there’s additionally this stuff often known as scrapers, that are receivers that may exit and scrape completely different endpoints for metrics, for instance. And people will also be configured as receivers, which might then take their very own path to the Collector.

Robert Blumen 00:35:17 I feel we’ve been principally speaking about beneath the idea of a push mannequin, however this scraper sounds prefer it additionally helps pull. Did I perceive that appropriately?

Alex Boten 00:35:28 Yeah, that’s right. And, in case you consider the Prometheus receiver, for instance, the Prometheus receiver makes use of the pull mannequin as nicely. So, you’d outline the targets that you simply want to scrape, after which the info shall be pulled into the Collector versus pushed to the Collector.

Robert Blumen 00:35:43 So to wrap this all up, then I might instrument or configure my sources to level them towards the OTel Collector or Collectors. My community, they’d have a website identify or an IP tackle and a port and possibly a path that comes after that. They’re instrumented, they push information out, it goes to the Collector, the Collector will course of it after which export it again into backend of alternative. Is {that a} good description of the entire course of?

Alex Boten 00:36:17 Yeah, that’s precisely proper.

Robert Blumen 00:36:18 How do the sources authenticate themselves to the Collector?

Alex Boten 00:36:23 Yeah, so for authenticating to the OpenTelemetry Collector, there’s a number of extensions which might be out there for authentication. So, there’s OIDC authentication extension, there’s the bear token authentication extension. You may also use the essential Auth extension in case you’d like. So, there’s just a few completely different out there extensions for that.

Robert Blumen 00:36:43 Yeah, okay. Effectively, let’s discuss extensions. So, what are the extension factors which might be provided?

Alex Boten 00:36:49 Yeah, so extensions are primarily parts within the Collector that don’t essentially have something to do with the pipeline of the telemetry going by way of the Collector. And so, a few of the extensions which might be out there are the pprof extension, which lets you get profiling information out of the Collector. There’s the well being test extension, which lets you run well being checks towards the Collector, and there’s just a few different ones which might be all out there within the Collector repositories.

Robert Blumen 00:37:20 Okay. So, we’ve just about coated most of what I had deliberate about what it does, the way it works. Suppose you’ve got a mission that has not been constructed with this in thoughts and is curious about migrating. What’s a doable migration path to OTel from a mission that may have been constructed a number of years in the past earlier than this was out there?

Alex Boten 00:37:45 I might say the primary path that I might advocate to people is basically to consider is there a method that I can drop in a Collector and obtain information within the format that’s already possibly being emitted by an software. That’s actually the very first step that I might counsel taking. I do know that there’s just a few completely different mechanisms for amassing telemetry that predate the Collector. So, telegraph is an instance of a kind of. In case you have telegraph operating in your setting and also you’re curious about seeing in case you can join it to the Collector, possibly that’s place to start out is, to have a look at connecting the 2. And I do know Telegraph, for instance, emits OTLP, in order that’s already one thing that’s considerably supported. In order that’s actually step one I might take is can I simply get away with dropping in a Collector and emitting a format that’s possibly already supported?

Alex Boten 00:38:30 One factor to notice is when you have a format on the market that’s not at present supported within the Collector, you may at all times go to the group and ask, ‘hey, is that this a element that people are curious about in adopting?’ And that’s at all times avenue to sort of tackle. In the event you’ve bought dedication out of your group to possibly change the instrumentation libraries that you simply’re utilizing inside your code, then nice. I might begin taking a look at assets. I do know there’s just a few completely different use circumstances which were documented, I feel on round migrating away from both OpenTracing or OpenCensus. So, I might positively begin searching for these assets.

Robert Blumen 00:39:07 So we’ve talked in regards to the historical past and what it does, what’s on the roadmap?

Alex Boten 00:39:12 Yeah, so on the roadmap for OpenTelemetry, which we truly very not too long ago revealed. So, up till earlier this 12 months there wasn’t an official roadmap revealed by the group. However we’re lastly beginning to change the method a bit of bit to attempt to actually focus the efforts of the group. So, at present on the roadmap we now have 5 tasks which might be taking place. So, a few of the work is being carried out round each client-side instrumentation, so both, internet browser-based or cellular shoppers, and round profiling. So, that is profiling information being emitted both utilizing an present format, however there’s some dialogue round whether or not or not there’s going to be an extra sign known as profiles to OpenTelemetry. There’s additionally a number of effort being put into making an attempt to stabilize semantic conventions. So, in case you’ve seen the semantic conventions contained in the OpenTelemetry specification, you’ll most likely know that a number of them are marked as experimental.

Alex Boten 00:40:10 And that’s simply because we haven’t had the prospect of actually focus the group on making an attempt to return to settlement on what steady Semantic conventions ought to seem like. So, there’s a number of effort to herald specialists in every one of many domains to make sure that they make sense. The opposite efforts that I’m enthusiastic about, as a result of I’m a part of the work, is to place collectively a configuration layer for OpenTelemetry as an entire in order that customers can configure utilizing some sort of configuration file, take that configuration file throughout any implementation, and know that the identical outcomes will happen. So, for instance, in case you’re configuring your Jaeger exporter in Python, utilizing this configuration format you’d be capable of take that very same configuration to your .NET implementation or Java and never have to write down code manually to translate that configuration. After which, there’s some effort round operate as a service assist from OpenTelemetry. So, the group is at present centered round lambdas as a result of that’s the primary serverless or operate as a service mannequin that’s come to us. However there’s additionally effort to herald people from Azure and GCP as nicely. To sort of spherical that out.

Robert Blumen 00:41:19 We’re at time, we’ve coated every little thing. The place can listeners discover your guide?

Alex Boten 00:41:25 Yeah, so yow will discover a guide on Amazon. You may also purchase instantly from Packet Publishing. And yeah, it’s additionally out there at your native bookstores.

Robert Blumen 00:41:35 If customers want to discover your presence wherever on the web, the place ought to they give the impression of being?

Alex Boten 00:41:40 Yeah, to allow them to, they’ll discover me on LinkedIn a bit of bit on Mastadon or on Twitter — although not as a lot anymore. And so they can discover me on the Slack channels for the CNCF Slack occasion. I’m fairly energetic there.

Robert Blumen 00:41:55 Alex Boten, thanks very a lot for talking to Software program Engineering Radio.

Alex Boten 00:41:59 Yeah, thanks very a lot. It’s been nice.

Robert Blumen 00:42:01 This has been Robert Blumen for Software program Engineering Radio. Thanks for listening. [End of Audio]

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