Workshop: Observing and Understanding Distributed Systems With OpenTelemetry

Location: Garden A

Duration: 9:00am - 12:00pm

Day of week: Thursday

Level: Intermediate


  • Ability to read Go or Python code, and to debug/compile programs written in Go/Python.
  • Bringing own laptop
  • Basic programming environment with Go or Python, and Git installed
  • (Optional) Jaeger/Zipkin if participants don't want to use the instructors' backend
  • (Optional) Google Cloud account with billing account, account [we will supply these for participants missing these]

Modern systems architecture often splits functionality into microservices for adaptability and velocity. The challenge of managing infrastructure for microservices has led to the cloud native ecosystem, including Kubernetes, Envoy, gRPC, and other projects. Observability, including application performance management (APM), is an essential component of a cloud-native stack. Without observability, application developers and operators cannot understand the behavior of their applications and ensure the reliability of those applications.  

OpenTelemetry (the successor to OpenCensus and OpenTracing) is a standardized library and specification that collects distributed traces and metrics from instrumented services. By instrumenting once with OpenTelemetry, developers and operators can understand how data and events flow through their applications through a variety of different visualization backends.  

In this workshop, you’ll learn how to instrument a distributed set of microservices for traceability using OpenTelemetry, and how to analyze your service’s traces using open source software backends like Jaeger/Zipkin. Finally, you’ll be able to leverage OpenTelemetry vendor-neutral flexibility to try out other tracing backends including the hosted SaaS products Stackdriver and Honeycomb, without recompiling. And you can go home feeling comfortable with implementing OpenTelemetry in your own applications, and being prepared to choose how you will store and visualize traces.

Speaker: Christine Yen

Cofounder @honeycombio


Christine delights in being a developer in a room full of ops folks. As a cofounder of, a startup with a new approach to debugging production systems, she cares deeply about bridging the gap between devs and ops with technological and cultural improvements. Before Honeycomb, she built out an analytics product at Parse (bought by Facebook) and wrote software at a few now-defunct startups.

Find Christine Yen at

Other Workshops:

Day: Friday [Full Day]
Day: Thursday [Half Day]
Day: Friday [Full Day]


Monday, 11 November

Tuesday, 12 November

Wednesday, 13 November