4–7 Nov 2019
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Observing and understanding distributed systems with OpenTelemetry

Liz Fong-Jones (Honeycomb), Yoshi Yamaguchi (Google)
9:0012:30 Tuesday, 5 November 2019
Location: Hall A5
Average rating: ***..
(3.50, 6 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Application developers, systems engineers, and SREs




Modern systems architecture often splits functionality into microservices for adaptability and velocity. The challenge of managing infrastructure for microservices has led to the cloud native ecosystem, including Kubernetes, Envoy, gRPC, and other projects. Observability, including application performance management (APM), is an essential component of a cloud native stack. Without observability, application developers and operators cannot understand the behavior of their applications and ensure the reliability of those applications.

OpenTelemetry (the successor to OpenCensus and OpenTracing) is a standardized library and specification that collects distributed traces and metrics from instrumented services. By instrumenting once with OpenTelemetry, you can understand how data and events flow through your applications through a variety of different visualization backends.

Liz Fong-Jones and Yoshi Yamaguchi walk you through how to instrument a distributed set of microservices for traceability using OpenTelemetry and how to analyze your service’s traces using open source software backends like Jaeger and Zipkin. You’ll be able to leverage the OpenTelemetry vendor-neutral flexibility to try out other tracing backends, including the hosted SaaS products Stackdriver and Honeycomb without recompiling. You’ll leave comfortable with implementing OpenTelemetry in your own applications and prepared to choose how to store and visualize traces.

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Experience reading, debugging, and compiling programs written in Go or Python

Materials or downloads needed in advance

  • A laptop with a basic programming environment with Go or Python and Git installed (If you don't want to use the instructors' backend, you can install Jaeger or Zipkin.)
  • Google Cloud account with billing account and Honeycomb.io account (Accounts will be supplied if you don't have access.)

What you'll learn

  • Identify the fundamentals of the distributed tracing data model
  • Discover key features of OpenTelemetry
  • Learn how to instrument systems for maximum benefit, analyze bottlenecks and critical paths with Jaeger and Zipkin, correlate trace data and other metadata, and configure and switch APM backends easily
Photo of Liz Fong-Jones

Liz Fong-Jones


Liz Fong-Jones is a developer advocate, labor and ethics organizer, and site reliability engineer (SRE) with 15+ years of experience at Honeycomb. Previously, she was an SRE working on products ranging from the Google Cloud Load Balancer to Google Flights. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife, metamours, and a Samoyed/Golden Retriever mix, and in San Francisco and Seattle with her other partners. She plays classical piano, leads an EVE Online alliance, and advocates for transgender rights as a board member of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Photo of Yoshi Yamaguchi

Yoshi Yamaguchi


Yoshi Yamaguchi is a developer advocate on Google Cloud Platform at Google, where he works on system observability. Yoshi has been leading and supporting developer communities over 10 years.

  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
  • Cloudflare
  • JFrog
  • Akamas
  • Aqua Security Software
  • Fastly
  • Google
  • Instana
  • JetBrains
  • LaunchDarkly
  • LightStep
  • OVHcloud
  • SignalFx
  • VictorOps
  • Wayfair
  • Blameless
  • Chronosphere
  • FusionReactor
  • humanitec
  • replex GmbH
  • StackState
  • Datadog
  • GitLab
  • Gremlin
  • StormForger
  • SysEleven GmgH
  • Vamp.io

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