September 28, 2022

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Splunk and AWS unlock application observability through OpenTelemetry

4 min read



With enterprises shifting how they use their cloud infrastructure based on increased automation, observability becomes a key component needed to view the complexities involved for optimal results.

Open source has been a big enabler of a lot of refactoring in the cloud, and OpenTelemetry – a collection of tools, APIs, and SDKs – borrows a leaf from this, as it eliminates the challenge of manually diving into logs and correlating requests between services . Basically, it renders observability in applications by capturing data, according to Morgan McLean (pictured, left), director of product management at Splunk.

“OpenTelemetry allows you to extract really critical system telemetry, application signals, and everything else you need from your own applications or from everything that you’re running in a cloud environment,” he explained. “You can make your applications so much more effective, because when you send that data to something like Splunk Observability Cloud or Amazon CloudWatch, they can give you deep insight into your application’s performance.”

McLean and Danielle Greshock (pictured, right), director of partner SAs and worldwide ISV at Amazon Web Services Inc., spoke with John Furrierhost of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the AWS Partner Showcase “Speeding Innovation on AWS” event. They discussed the Splunk-AWS partnership and how OpenTelemetry guarantees observability in applications. (* Disclosure below.)

Observability is at the heart of OpenTelemetry

With enterprises looking to innovate faster and spend less time hot patching or hot fixing their environments, Greshock believes that OpenTelemetry is a perfect fit.

“In 2020, we launched the AWS Distro for OpenTelemetry. The idea being, essentially, we’re able to bring in data from partners, from infrastructure running on AWS and from apps running on AWS, to really be able to increase observability across all cloud assets at your entire cloud platform, ”Greshock explained.

Once OpenTelemetry picks up the application data, such as metrics, logs, profiles and distributed traces, it sends it to another location for processing, prompting a more efficient development organization, McLean explained.

“OpenTelemetry is how you capture data out of your application,” he said. “It doesn’t process it. It’s not a replacement for something like Amazon CloudWatch or any of Splunk’s products. But it’s how we get the data out of your system, which is a remarkably difficult problem. “

Without observability tools like Splunk Observability Cloud, organizations rely on people to draw out their deployments, crimping the development velocity, according to McLean.

“You get something like OpenTelemetry, and suddenly now all your developers have that context when they’re adding functionality to a service or they’re updating their infrastructure,” he stated. “This lets you speed up your time to development, letting you ship more safely and securely.”

OpenTelemetry enables customers to select best-of-breed solutions based on their needs and preferences, according to Greshock.

“Having that ability to plug in and pull data from different sources, post it to different sources, and make it available for visibility across all of your resources is very powerful,” she said.

The sky’s the limit for OpenTelemetry

With observability being a huge part of continuous integration and continuous deployment methods, Greshock believes OpenTelemetry comes in handy when measuring metrics needed to mitigate challenges.

“The only way you’re actually able to release hundreds, thousands of times a day like Amazon does is by having an observability platform,” Greshock pointed out. “So, when we preach that to our customers, I think it’s something that we do because we live it and breathe it.”

The cloud has triggered more variety and velocity around data, enabling better decision-making.

“The OpenTelemetry project, as well as what Splunk is doing, is just another example of how we’re taking this massive amount of data and being able to provide better experiences and outcomes for customers,” Greshock added.

Given that OpenTelemetry is a “batteries-included” project, McLean believes fiddling out of the box is not required because it is already preconfigured.

“Even the standard distributions of OpenTelemetry include the components you need. You have to go directly, reference them, and ensure that they’re packaged in there, but they exist, ”McLean noted.

As more companies eye moving to a continuous integration and continuous delivery environment, Greshock believes OpenTelemetry helps in this journey.

“So security, data and observability are just key to all of that experience, and that’s what we’re definitely seeing,” she said.

Observability is critical for enterprises adopting the new wave of cloud technologies on platforms like AWS, according to McLean.

“Not having visibility into how that technology works or what it is that’s deployed or how to fix it is akin to having no visibility to anything else in your business,” he concluded.

Watch the complete interview below, and be sure to check out the CUBE’s complete coverage of the AWS Partner Showcase “Speeding Innovation on AWS” event. (* Disclosure: Splunk Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither Splunk nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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