The OpenTracing and OpenCensus projects are merging to form a new project called OpenTelemetry.
OpenTracing provides APIs and instrumentation for distributed tracing, and OpenCensus allows for the collection of telemetry data. OpenTelemetry will allow telemetry to become a built-in feature in services.
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According to Ben Sigelman, co-creator of OpenTracing and member of the OpenTelemetry governing committee, the biggest problem of these two projects was that they were separate. The two projects on their own didn’t work together well and weren’t striving for mutual compatibility, he explained.
“Having two similar-yet-not-identical projects out in the world created confusion and uncertainty for developers, and that made it harder for both efforts to realize their shared mission: built-in, high-quality telemetry for all,” Sigelman wrote in a blog post.
OpenTelemetry is currently a CNCF sandbox project. Its seed governance and technical committees are made up of people from Google, LightStep, Microsoft, and Uber.
The committee’s goals for merging the two projects together are enabling backwards compatibility with both projects; minimizing the amount of co-development on OpenTelemetry, OpenTracing, and OpenCensus; and simplifying and standardizing the telemetry solutions that are available to developers.
“In many ways, it’s most accurate to think of OpenTelemetry as the next major version of both OpenTracing and OpenCensus. Like any version upgrade, we will try to make it easy for both new and existing end-users, but we recognize that the main benefit to the ecosystem is the consolidation itself – not some specific and shiny new feature – and we are prioritizing our own efforts accordingly,” Sigelman wrote.