OpenTelemetry: How Cisco and AppDynamics are contributing to the future of observability

March 30 2022

Learn how OpenTelemetry empowers you to gain business-focused insights and take relevant actions. Experience the future of observability today with AppDynamics and Cisco.

OpenTelemetry is the technology that enables the future of observability. Cloud service providers, observability vendors and end-users are collaborating to create a vendor-agnostic and portable standard for metrics, events, logs and traces (M.E.L.T) that turns the collection of telemetry into a commodity.

At AppDynamics, we are excited about OpenTelemetry. We think about it as lingua franca for full-stack observability — whatever telemetry you generate with OpenTelemetry it is possible for AppDynamics to consume it, process it and correlate it to help you gain business-focused insights and take relevant actions.

While those actions and insights give our customers full-stack observability as a competitive advantage, the OpenTelemetry data generation is open source, standard and available to everyone.

As a part of the OpenTelemetry community, we at Cisco are committed to making sure OpenTelemetry is that lingua franca for observability, which we think it should be. And with that in mind, we are focusing on the following areas of contribution:

  • Ease of use: The purpose of observability is to help users fix issues quickly and identify opportunities for performance improvements effortlessly. If collecting telemetry was complicated, time-consuming and itself error-prone, it would work against this purpose. Therefore, we want to ensure that using OpenTelemetry is easy. We contribute to the different language-specific projects of OpenTelemetry with a maturity model in mind:
    • Is the implementation specification compliant?
    • Does the implementation provide a user-friendly installation and maintenance experience?
    • Does all the telemetry collected meet customer expectations for the visibility, actions and insights we generate from it?
    • Is there a community-approved extension mechanism on top of the language-specific implementation?
  • Security: there are two major threads when you collect telemetry. One is that malicious actors want to steal the data collected and the other is that they want to send false data for a denial of service or to damage data quality in the backend. We want to make sure that the data created by OpenTelemetry is secure and reliable. Therefore, we invest in secure extensions like OAuth2 Client Credentials.
  • Depth and width of data: we want to ensure the telemetry collected can come from your full stack, e.g. backend applications, the client side, your webserver, the infrastructure, the database or the network.

Cisco’s contributions to OpenTelemetry come not only from AppDynamics but also from Epsagon, Multi-Cloud Observability Manager and others. With more than 30 individual contributors, we created more than 1,000 issues, comments, code reviews and of course 200 code contributions through Pull Requests. And we are committed to continuously increasing those contributions and leveraging our partnership network with cloud service providers, observability vendors and end-users to make OpenTelemetry the best choice for the creation of telemetry data for technologists.

If you are interested in getting started with OpenTelemetry, learn how you can ingest traces into AppDynamics.

Severin Neumann is a product manager with AppDynamics. He joined AppDynamics in 2016 as a sales engineer, where he not only helped customers validate the value of the AppDynamics solution but also created an open source tool called DemoMonkey that is used to tailor demos to our customers’ needs. In his previous role as domain architect for dynamic languages, he assisted account teams all over the world with his 20 years of expertise in software engineering. In 2021 Severin joined the product organization, where he is driving and coordinating Cisco AppDynamics’ contributions to the project and our engagement with the community.

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