AWS Distro for OpenTelemetry, Grafana, Prometheus, Loki, OpenMetrics, and beyond: How Open Standards continue to shape modern observability

Published: 21 Oct 2020

AWS is announcing the AWS Distro for OpenTelemetry today. This is a distribution of OpenTelemetry, itself a CNCF sandbox project. This is part of a wider push towards Open Source, cloud native technologies, and modern observability, all based on Open Standards. This push can be observed across the whole technology sector, but with increasing velocity from within AWS. As they are the largest public cloud provider by far, this is noteworthy in and of itself.

Grafana Labs is founded on the principles of Open Source, and our evolving business story hinges on Open Source and Open Standards.

We believe, strongly, in creating first-class experience for both the software, projects, and products we create and shape ourselves, as well as everything in the ever-growing ecosystem swirling around us. Creating best-in-class visualization is a means to further human understanding of ever-more complex systems, and a central part of that is supporting all means of collecting, storing, and analyzing data.

We are very happy to see increased engagement with Open Standards. Both OpenMetrics and OpenTelemetry share the goal of increasing interoperability between various integrations and backends. This is why I started OpenMetrics. And this is why we at Grafana Labs support OpenTelemetry where it’s demonstrably beneficial for our users already.

For metrics, OpenTelemetry committed to support OpenMetrics as a first-class wire format, leveraging the immense power of label-based metrics monitoring via Prometheus, Cortex, Grafana Metrics Enterprise, and others. Beyond that, not only did AWS add a Prometheus exporter for OpenTelemetry as a path from OpenTelemetry towards Prometheus-style backends, but also recently implemented the capability to use Prometheus remote read-write. I had the chance to interact with Mark Carter, General Manager at AWS, and Alolita Sharma, Principal Technologist at AWS, in the context of both OpenMetrics and OpenTelemetry, and their commitment to both Open Standards and getting things done is a strong positive.

For traces, OpenTelemetry is the merger of OpenTracing and OpenCensus. Jaeger and OpenTracing share many close ties; anything supporting OpenTracing is supporting OpenTelemetry tracing out of the box. We believe that traces, as one of the three pillars, is integral to observability. So much so that Joe Elliott from our team recently became a Jaeger maintainer. We are investing heavily in tracing, and will continue to do so. Grafana 7+ supports traces as a first-class data type, with integrations for Jaeger, Zipkin, and AWS X-Ray.

Finally, not only can we ingest OpenTelemetry data into our Cloud offering, but with our Grafana Cloud Agent we can also emit data toward compatible backends, and visualize all of them.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that we’re incredibly excited to continue to be a part of the democratization of observability, and of the modernization away from more traditional monitoring products. And both cloud native technologies and Open Standards are a core part of this.

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