🎧 How to use OpenTelemetry to Trace and Monitor Apache Kafka Systems

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How can you use OpenTelemetry to gain insight into your Apache Kafka® event systems? Roman Kolesnev, Staff Customer Innovation Engineer at Confluent, is a member of the Customer Solutions & Innovation Division Labs team working to build business-critical OpenTelemetry applications so companies can see what’s happening inside their data pipelines. In this episode, Roman joins Kris to discuss tracing and monitoring in distributed systems using OpenTelemetry. He talks about how monitoring each step of the process individually is critical to discovering potential delays or bottlenecks before they happen; including keeping track of timestamps, latency information, exceptions, and other data points that could help with troubleshooting.

Tracing each request and its journey to completion in Kafka gives companies access to invaluable data that provides insight into system performance and reliability. Furthermore, using this data allows engineers to quickly identify errors or anticipate potential issues before they become significant problems. With greater visibility comes better control over application health - all made possible by OpenTelemetry's unified APIs and services.

As described on the OpenTelemetry.io website, "OpenTelemetry is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation incubating project. Formed through a merger of the OpenTracing and OpenCensus projects." It provides a vendor-agnostic way for developers to instrument their applications across different platforms and programming languages while adhering to standard semantic conventions so the traces/information can be streamed to compatible systems following similar specs.

By leveraging OpenTelemetry, organizations can ensure their applications and systems are secure and perform optimally. It will quickly become an essential tool for large-scale organizations that need to efficiently process massive amounts of real-time data. With its ability to scale independently, robust analytics capabilities, and powerful monitoring tools, OpenTelemetry is set to become the go-to platform for stream processing in the future.

Roman explains that the OpenTelemetry APIs for Kafka are still in development and unavailable for open source. The code is complete and tested but has never run in production. But if you want to learn more about the nuts and bolts, he invites you to connect with him on the Confluent Community Slack channel. You can also check out Monitoring Kafka without instrumentation with eBPF - Antón Rodríguez to learn more about a similar approach for domain monitoring.


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