The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has made available a report detailing the progress being made around the open source Jaeger distributed tracing software. Among other things, the report notes there are now more than 300 organizations contributing to the project.
Jaeger is designed to provide a framework for monitoring microservices-based applications in a way that captures every interaction as part of an effort to simplify troubleshooting.
Originally developed by Uber, Jaeger has almost 2,000 contributors. Developers from Uber and Red Hat make the bulk of those contributions., while other developers work at Ryanair, IBM, Ticketmaster and CloudBees.
Thus far, there have been nearly 40,000 contributions, 4,300 code commits and 3,200 pull requests for Jaeger.
Yuri Shkuro, a software engineer at Uber who created and maintains the Jaeger project, said as open source agent software in the form of OpenTelemetry, a separate sandbox-level initiative also hosted by the CNCF, gains traction, the more feasible it will become for DevOps teams to embrace distributed tracing. Currently, most DevOps teams are dependent on sampling techniques typically employed via an application performance management (APM) platform. While that approach can indicate there might be an issue, distributed tracing makes it easier to pinpoint the precise problem.
That’s critical because many DevOps teams can spend hours, if not days, trying to identify the source of an issue that often only takes a few minutes to fix. The trade-off is that distributed tracing collects a lot more data than sampling, so IT teams will need to decide how long they may want to store that data. Most organizations will only store tracing data that identifies anomalies based on a reasonable retention schedule rather than allocating storage resources to what could become massive amounts of tracing data, noted Shkuro.
Providers of commercial observability platforms have been embracing OpenTelemetry to provide distributed tracing services, so it’s not clear to what degree IT organizations will opt to deploy Jaeger on their own or access a managed Jaeger-based service.
Regardless of how they are invoked, next-generation observability platforms based on Jaeger should become more affordable at a time when microservices-based applications are being more widely deployed. Given the inherent complexity of those applications, observability platforms that are a core tenet of any best DevOps practice become a requirement. In comparison, the use of ALM platforms was typically limited to only the most mission-critical applications because of the costs associated with deploying proprietary tools.
It may be a while before every application is instrumented by default. In the meantime, Shkuro said the Jaeger project is looking to recruit additional maintainers. As is often the case with any open source project, there are plenty of contributors. IT professionals willing to volunteer to maintain a project are often more scarce.