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3 min read

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Published on 03/02/2023
Last updated on 05/03/2024

OpenTelemetry: Getting Started Series




Welcome to the first post in a multi-part series on OpenTelemetry (OTel)!

What is OpenTelemetry? 

OpenTelemetry is a series of APIs and SDKs—call them “OpenTelemtry metrics.” These metrics make it easy for developers to collect and export logs and metrics that drive insights and innovation for your enterprise technology.

To familiarize you with the various OpenTelemetry metrics you can use in your enterprise technology, we’ve created a “Getting Started” series for OpenTelemetry

In this multi-part series, we will tackle the following topics:

As we complete some of the Getting Started blogs shown above, we will have a solid foundation for working with the basics of OTel with tracing. You’ll go from “What is OpenTelemetry?” to “how can I create my own express server?” We will then expand into deploying OTel with metrics and logging. We will also learn the different methods for instrumenting an application.

Next, we will dig into OTel use cases and even get into some gnarly topics like OTel Collector-specific design and configuration (deployment modes, scale, etc.)

But, before we get started on the how-to stuff, you will need to understand the basics of OTel, and there is no better place than the OpenTelemetry project site. All of the info you need to understand why you should care about OTel, how to get involved, and what the architecture and components look like is at https://opentelemetry.io/

Ready to get started with OpenTelemetry and integrate it into your enterprise technology? Read Getting Started with OpenTelemetry: KinD, Jaeger and the Spring PetClinic Application.

Additional resources for learning about OpenTelemetry:

Still wondering what OpenTelemetry is? Looking to see how it might fit with your enterprise technology? Here are a few of my recommendations to get you going. 

I suggest you read through the docs in this order:

  1. OpenTelemetry Concepts (go through the whole list): https://opentelemetry.io/docs/concepts/
  2. OpenTelemetry Community (how to get involved): https://opentelemetry.io/community/
  3. OpenTelemetry per-SIG (special interest group) status: https://opentelemetry.io/status/
  4. A consolidated list of OTel-focused blogs: https://opentelemetry.io/blog/
  5. One of the most well-maintained observability newsletters available, o11y newsletter (shortened reference for "observability"): https://o11y.news/

Shannon McFarland is a Distinguished Engineer and open-source advocate in Cisco’s Emerging Technology & Incubation organization. You can follow him on Twitter @eyepv6.

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