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Introducing ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry

By Chris Villemez & Brian Tobia
| | 9 min read

Summary

ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry unlocks the power of ThousandEyes data to make powerful visualizations and correlations possible across diverse data sets while giving customers greater flexibility and control over their data.


ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry brings data standardization and portability to the ThousandEyes platform. It is a Push API built to stream network metrics using the standardized OpenTelemetry Protocol (OTLP) format, making it easy for any OpenTelemetry (OTel) compliant vendor—including Cisco AppDynamics, Grafana, Splunk, and many othersto consume ThousandEyes metrics. 

introducing_thousandEyes_opentelemetry_figure_1.png
Figure 1. OpenTelemetry for ThousandEyes tags and exports data to any OTel-speaking tool

ITOps teams often require data sets from multiple operational platforms, which means they must assess and gain insights from disparate observability domains. From them, these teams need correlated, contextual data and fast, as speed is often critical when services are degraded.

As part of our new OTel framework, customers can tag ThousandEyes data for correlation with OTel-compliant recipient systems. This capability enables them to facilitate correlation with other data sets by identifying which ThousandEyes test and application data correspond.

As the first network visibility solution to support OTel, ThousandEyes has made it possible to interconnect our Internet and cloud intelligence with a wide range of enterprise solutions on the market today. And by unlocking ThousandEyes data portability, ThousandEyes for OTel integrations significantly improve ITOps workflows when tackling network and application performance issues.

With ThousandEyes for OTel, network teams gain enhanced flexibility and control over their data, enabling them to retain it longer for improved retention compliance. They can even graph powerful visualizations and infer correlations across diverse data sets, helping them solve problems quicker, and get services restored and running faster. And with ThousandEyes solutions more broadly, teams can provide continuous and correlated visibility for ongoing assurance of digital services.

Many IT Operations Use Cases

By integrating and streaming ThousandEyes metrics with other OTel-speaking ITOps tools, customers can address many use cases in real time:

  • Data visualization platforms enable data from multiple observability systems to come together for insights that no single platform could determine 
  • Combining network data with application performance monitoring (APM) provides an even more comprehensive view of issues affecting your applications, helping teams to know if a performance degradation is on the network or the application side
  • Interoperable data platforms allow for more flexible and efficient ways to store data for longer retention periods.

But ThousandEyes for OTel’s benefits extend beyond combining multiple tools. ITOps can also use its integrations to empower cross-functional and collaborative investigation, bringing multiple teams together around centralized data analysis and visualizations.

Visually Correlate Multiple Data Sets With ITOps Dashboards

With ThousandEyes for OTel, IT teams benefit from the ability to populate their health dashboards with ThousandEyes data alongside data from other tools for deeper problem correlation. For instance, they can look at APM data with contextual network metrics, or ThousandEyes data correlated with data from native cloud monitoring tools such as Amazon’s CloudWatch. This view allows operations teams to more quickly identify a problem’s root cause and restore healthy performance. Figure 2 illustrates a real-time ITOps dashboard of network metrics affecting critical digital services.

Screenshot of a real-time ITOps dashboard showing ThousandEyes network metrics
Figure 2. ThousandEyes OpenTelemetry streaming to an ITOps dashboard using Grafana

Enable Deep Historical Analysis With Performance Data Archives

OpenTelemetry enables the streaming of ThousandEyes data for longer-term storage. Data lakes can provide long-lived analysis, enabling technical teams to utilize ThousandEyes data for as long as they need for longer historical correlations and performance data archives.

Screenshot of a Splunk data lake dashboard populated by ThousandEyes data
Figure 3. ThousandEyes data populating a data lake managed by Splunk

Setting Up OpenTelemetry for ThousandEyes 

ThousandEyes for OTel is configured via our API rather than the ThousandEyes UI. To receive a ThousandEyes stream, you must install or have available an OpenTelemetry Collector with an OTLP receiver.  Creating an OTel stream in ThousandEyes is done through the ThousandEyes v7 API and involves three steps:

  1. Create a new custom key-value tag—customers will use this tag to mark the specific tests for which they want to stream metric data.
  2. Assign the tag to one or more tests running in your account group. 
  3. Initiate the stream.

Below you will see a sample three-step configuration flow using the API.

Step 1: Create custom key-value tag

curl --location \
--request POST 'https://api.thousandeyes.com/v7/tags' \
--header 'Authorization: Bearer <YOUR-OAUTH-TOKEN>' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--data-raw '{"key": "myKey", "value": "myValue", "objectType": "test", "accessType": "all"}'

Expected Response:

{
"id": "db8f30f3-dfa3-471f-9a3d-412c0c33bfe2",
"aid": 123456,
"objectType": "test",
"key": "myKey",
"value": "myValue",
"color": "#A7EB10",
"accessType": "all",
"createDate": "2023-04-06T16:07:34Z"

Step 2: Assign tag to test(s)

curl --location \
--request POST 'https://api.thousandeyes.com/v7/tags/db8f30f3-dfa3-471f-9a3d-412c0c33bfe2/assign' \
--header 'Authorization: Bearer <YOUR-OAUTH-TOKEN>' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--data-raw '{"assignments": [{"id": "9876543","type": "test"}]}'

Expected Response:

{
"tagId": "db8f30f3-dfa3-471f-9a3d-412c0c33bfe2",
"assignments": [
{
"id": "9876543",
"type": "test"
}
]
}

Step 3: Initiate OTel stream

curl --location \
--request POST 'https://api.thousandeyes.com/v7/stream \
--header 'Authorization: Bearer <YOUR-OAUTH-TOKEN>' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--data-raw '{
"type": "opentelemetry",
"tagMatch": [
{ "key": "myKey", "value": "myValue", "objectType": "test"}
],
"streamEndpointUrl": "https://otel-collector.example.com:4317/",
"customHeaders" : {
"Authorization": "Bearer <token to authorize on otel-collector.example.com endpoint>"
}'

Expected Response:

{
"id": "a183d40d-697c-5872-96c2-fb801d5f2493",
"type": "opentelemetry",
"streamEndpointUrl": "https://otel-collector.example.com:4317",
"tagMatch": [
{
"key": "myKey",
"value": "myValue",
"objectType": "test"
}
],
"_links": {
"self": "/v7/stream/a183d40d-697c-5872-96c2-fb801d5f2493"
}
}

IT Operations and the Art of the Possible

With our newest innovations, ThousandEyes continues to drive proactive network assurance and operational efficiency, enabling IT organizations to improve how they identify and mitigate performance problems continuously.

Assuring network performance and user experience across the many technology domains that stitch together digital services requires layered visibility. This layered visibility necessitates data and correlated insights that are actionable, proactive, and continuous. ThousandEyes brings together this combination of operational capabilities to create a common operational language that extends across the varied responsibilities of IT Operations-focused teams. To see how you can start using ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry, watch the demo video below.


For a deeper look at ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry, you can contact us to speak with a member of our team.


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