OpenTelemetry: See Inside Your Software with Observability

Observability: when software teaches you what’s happening, what’s wrong, and what is slow. Modern software systems keep getting more and more interesting; this complexity is manageable with observability.

OpenTelemetry: the community standard for observability. This CNCF project provides data formats, open-source libraries per language and framework, and utilities to pipe observability data from your software to somewhere you can see it.

In this workshop, get the know-how you need to add OpenTelemetry distributed tracing to your software and interpret the results. Reduce incident response times, measure and improve performance, and understand your systems as they document themselves.

We will cover:

  • Interpreting graphs and traces, in open-source and free-to-play interfaces
  • Configuring automatic instrumentation in multiple languages and backend frameworks (at least Node.js, Java with Spring, and golang)
  • Piping that telemetry data through an OpenTelemetry collector to multiple observability platforms
  • Adding application-specific attributes and spans

Put OpenTelemetry to work in a toy eCommerce system made of microservices running in Kubernetes. After this, you’ll be prepared to use OpenTelemetry in your systems.


Jessica Kerr

Principal Developer Evangelist @honeycombio

Jessica Kerr (@jessitron on twitter) is fascinated by how software doesn’t get easier as she gets better at it: it gets harder, and also more valuable. Jessitron has developed software in Java, C, TypeScript, Clojure, Scala, and Ruby. She keynoted software conferences in Europe, the US, and Australia. She ran workshops on Systems Thinking (with Kent Beck) and Domain Driven Design (with Eric Evans). Now she works at Honeycomb, making complexity navigable with observability. Find her at, or, or at home in St. Louis, MO.

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Friday Oct 28 / 09:00AM PDT ( 7 hours)


Level intermediate


Observability OpenTelemetry Kubernetes Microservices



Some familiarity with one of JavaScript, Java, or Go; experience writing or operating services.