Why Instana Joined the OpenTracing Specification Council

February 7, 2018

Today, we outlined our commitment to the DevOps community with our Cloud and Container Native Ecosystem release. Among other things, we announced our official named membership on the OpenTracing Specification Council.

While this OpenTracing announcement showcases an important part of the Instana APM solution, our support (and leadership) of OpenTracing is not new.

Instana was one of the first APM vendors to support OpenTracing as an alternative way to inject traces into our solution, but our commitment went beyond just implementing the API. Instana has been an active community member for years, participating in Distributed Tracing workshops and projects. In fact, the next distributed tracing workshop was already scheduled to be at Instana’s Solingen office in May.

Today’s announcement extends our commitment to bringing APM capability to the whole devops organization, particularly developers.

OpenTracing Support Inside Instana APM

Based on Google Dapper, OpenTracing is part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (which Instana recently joined – another part of our announcement). The specifications and SDKs for multiple language are all Open Source and available for easy use. It’s used and supported by companies like Uber, Apple and Yelp.

An important troubleshooting piece of Instana’s AI-powered APM solution is the tracing of every request, correlated to the full technical stack. OpenTracing allows developers to inject additional custom data and traces they care about into Instana’s APM analysis.

We get asked why we support OpenTracing in our APM solution since we have our own automatic tracing protocols. My answer is to provide flexibility to developers.

Tracing, APM and Developers

APM Democratization doesn’t just mean additional business and Ops APM users. More developers need APM solutions now, too. OpenTracing has become a desired user experience and critical to the overall developer APM experience.

Distributed Tracing data analyzed by an intelligent APM is an essential tool for developers to understand their code and the behavior and dependencies of dynamic microservices during runtime. The key question isn’t if they want to trace – it’s what approach to take: proprietary tracing SDK, OpenTracing SDK, Logging, or automatic tracing.

If they need to program their own, most developers want something like an open source API/framework available on GitHub, with great documentation and supported by different vendors and thought leaders in the community.

Hmmm, sounds very much like OpenTracing!

At Instana we already provide OpenTracing SDKs for Go, Python, NodeJS, Ruby and Java. Look for us to continue to improve our tight OpenTracing integration, even as we make it easier to use and view OpenTracing data throughout the Instana APM solution.

Instana’s Automatic Transparent Tracing

Instana goes beyond OpenTracing support as the only APM tool that allows developers to use our automatic tracing approach for Java, Scala, .NET, .NET Core, Python, Ruby, Go, PHP and Node.js and combine it with Open Tracing and Cloud based tracing systems like AWS X-Ray.

This allows customers to put OpenTracing information in newly developed code and seamlessly see end-to-end traces in legacy code or code provided by 3rd parties via our automatic tracing. This powerful hybrid tracing approach will provide maximum visibility with minimum cost but still allows developers to add OpenTracing to their code when needed and possible.

Ultimately, whatever your team decides is their tracing strategy, Instana has your back – being able to support both automatic tracing and OpenTracing SDKs.

Vive Le APM!

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Instana, an IBM company, provides an Enterprise Observability Platform with automated application monitoring capabilities to businesses operating complex, modern, cloud-native applications no matter where they reside – on-premises or in public and private clouds, including mobile devices or IBM Z.

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