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Leon Adato for New Relic

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Monitorama 2022 - OpenTelemetry and so much more!

Monitorama in Portland, OR, June 27-29, 2022 is a conference where the name doesn't do the audience, or the content it showcases, complete justice. To be sure, monitoring is a big part of it. This year's event features luminaries from across the tech industry and discussions that span the gamut, from carbon emissions and sustainability to designing scalable and usable systems to topics that focus on our humanity, compassion, and empathy.

But there's also going to be many conversations about monitoring.

One of the primary topics of those discussions is OpenTelemetry. A relative newcomer in terms of how-the-monitoring-sausage-gets-made, you can trace OpenTelemetry (or "OTel" as all the cool kids say) all the way back to the Google Dapper project back in 2010, or more realistically to the OpenTracing and OpenCensus initiatives circa 2016-2017.

Whatever the pedigree, what is clear to many both on the practitioner and vendor sides of the house is that the future of monitoring and observability as a whole may very well rest on how OTel continues to develop and deliver on its initial premise and current potential.

I say that the future "may" be in OTel because the same thing has been said about a few exciting technologies over the years and yet here we are in 2022 where many of our solutions still use syslog, SNMP, and ping.

What's exciting to many of us isn't just the OTel "platform" (whether you look at it conceptually or in practice) but the ecosystem. More and more vendors and their applications are finding their place in the OTel system whether as a library that captures specific data points, as a collector that processes incoming streams from endpoints, or by extending back-end systems to accept and include OTel information as part of the overall solution.

But all the breathless gushing and handwaving about "the future of observability" doesn't help practitioners get the work done. And that's why conferences like Monitorama are so invaluable. This isn't a Vegas-based extravaganza with 20,000 people racing from session to session or meandering through hundreds of vendor stalls.

While ~400 attendees is more than a small dinner party, it's still intimate enough that people have a chance to make connections, hear people's stories, tell a few of their own, and, most importantly, learn new things they can put into action.

I know for certain that's what my colleagues Daniel Kim, Natalie Serrino, and I plan to do.

Daniel plans to show the audience exactly what OTel data looks like when it hits your screen and what it will help you discover (not to mention fix) in your environment. And he'll do it in just five minutes.

Meanwhile, Natalie will take a more holistic approach, exploring how collecting data, piping it to the right places, and transforming it into the right format becomes harder at scale, and how solutions like Pixie and OpenTelemetry help address those challenges.

For my part, I'll offer up a cautionary tale of how giving my wife bad driving directions taught me a lot about designing good UI and UX.

Stay tuned for my follow-up after Monitorama. In the meanwhile, if you want to kick the tires on New Relic’s OpenTelemetry solution now, you can get started here.

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