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VMblog Expert Interview: Dynatrace Talks Observability, AIOps and OpenTelemetry Benefits and Challenges


After participating in another great KubeCon Europe event earlier this month, VMblog has circled back with one of the show sponsors, Dynatrace, to learn more about what's new at the company and what they are doing with OpenTelemetry.  To do that, we spoke with their SVP of Product, Steve Tack.

VMblog:  For any of our newer readers, can you give us a quick background on Dynatrace and what you do?

Steve Tack:  Sure. To power the digital services that define modern banking, manufacturing, healthcare, and so much more, organizations are shifting from traditional on-premises data centers to multicloud environments with Kubernetes as the orchestration layer. These environments are dynamic and produce a volume of data that's beyond human capacity to manage. That's where Dynatrace comes in.

At the highest level, Dynatrace provides software intelligence to help the world's largest 15,000 organizations accelerate digital transformation. Our platform combines broad observability, spanning applications, infrastructure, user experiences, and the latest open-source standards, such as OpenTelemetry, with AIOps and automation - including continuous discovery, proactive anomaly detection, and optimization analysis across the full software lifecycle - and application security. This combination helps our customers tame cloud complexity, speed innovation, and deliver better business outcomes.

To illustrate, consider driving a car without a dashboard - you would not understand how fast you are going, your vehicle's temperature, how much gas you have, or if your engine needs service. Now, imagine this scenario in a modern multicloud environment, which is thousands of times more complex. Dynatrace provides digital teams with the insights they need to maintain observability into their cloud ecosystems, including the overall performance and the impact on user experience and the business, overall.

VMblog:  Earlier this month, Dynatrace participated in KubeCon Europe where you made an announcement related to OpenTelemetry, can you start by telling us a bit about what OpenTelemetry is and how Dynatrace has been involved in the project up until now?

Tack:  OpenTelemetry is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) project and an observability framework for cloud-native software. Its goal is to provide a collection of vendor-agnostic tools, APIs, and SDKs for organizations to use to instrument, generate, collect, and export telemetry data (metrics, logs, and traces) for analysis. This enables digital teams to understand their software's performance and behavior. Since the OpenTelemetry project started around two years ago, many organizations, including Dynatrace, have come on board to help contribute to the specification, and to make rich data collection easier and more consumable. 

Dynatrace, along with companies including Google and Microsoft, is a top contributor to OpenTelemetry. We lend our experience and expertise building enterprise-grade tracing. In November 2020, we announced that our patented distributed tracing technology, PurePath, supports OpenTelemetry and W3C Trace Context with increased coverage for serverless and service mesh architectures. Essentially, these enhancements increased the breadth of data and the scope of the cloud ecosystem encompassed in PurePath distributed traces, to include OpenTelemetry data. This provides DevOps, CloudOps, and cloud application teams deep, automatic, and intelligent observability at scale for the most complex cloud environments.

VMblog:  That is great, it sounds like you have done a lot of interesting work in the space thus far.  Can you also summarize Dynatrace's latest OpenTelemetry announcement?

Tack:  Dynatrace is committed to providing enterprise-grade observability regardless of the telemetry data source. As such, our latest announcement describes how we are extending agentless support for OpenTelemetry. This enables customers to send OpenTelemetry data directly to the Dynatrace® Platform when agents are not possible or necessary. It also adds to the OpenTelemetry data already automatically captured by Dynatrace OneAgent®, such as pre-instrumented open-source frameworks, cloud services, and custom metrics. As a result, Dynatrace customers can use the OpenTelemetry open-source standard for any data source, and leverage Dynatrace's industry-leading AIOps and automation capabilities to deliver predictability and precise actionability across their cloud-native technologies.  

VMblog:  What are the biggest challenges facing those who are looking to leverage OpenTelemetry for cloud-native tech?

Tack:  Today's multicloud environments enable organizations to rapidly scale digital capabilities. Keeping up with the data created by these highly complex, container and microservices-based environments, however, is more than any one human can manage alone. To keep up with all the data, ITOps, DevOps and SRE teams need to have visibility into each service and any transaction. Any observability blind spot imposes a potential risk. When issues arise, these blind spots increase the mean time to repair (MTTR).

OpenTelemetry increases the breadth of the data and scope of the cloud ecosystem that organizations can observe. But when it comes to implementing tools and processes to manage and make sense of everything happening in the cloud ecosystem, collecting data is only a starting point. Organizations will find their teams are quickly overwhelmed if they continue to rely on manual approaches to gain insights. This is why we made AIOps central to the Dynatrace platform - the value of OpenTelemetry will only be unlocked through a unified platform that goes beyond delivering data on dashboards and provides precise answers with root-cause analysis to enable greater efficiency and continuous optimization.

VMblog:  What benefits does Dynatrace provide for those adopting OpenTelemetry?

Tack:  With integrated AIOps and Cloud Automation at the core of its platform, Dynatrace makes open-source observability easier, smarter and more efficient for all. The platform continuously maps multicloud environments and their dependencies, so that users can harness the broadest set of observability data, including metrics, logs, and traces, as well as data from user experiences and the latest open-source standards. As a result, DevOps and SRE teams will be able to automatically detect anomalies, deliver answers prioritized by business impact and with code-level detail, and drive optimizations across the software lifecycle. This intelligent approach surfaces and proactively resolves any issues in the cloud ecosystem and enables teams to focus on optimizing their services instead of wasting time analyzing raw data or piecing together dashboards from disparate tools. 

VMblog:  For those who are interested in keeping up with Dynatrace, what else can we expect from the team this year?

Tack:  The Dynatrace team is constantly innovating and looking for new ways to deliver value to our customers. Over the next few months, we'll have several new product updates, customer stories and partnerships. For anyone interested, visit us at or visit our blog for more information.


Published Monday, May 17, 2021 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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