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OpenTelemetry provides a fully implemented Java SDK and agent which allows your application to be monitored - for free! But the data it produces needs to go somewhere, be stored, analyzed and presented - and you don't get that as part of OpenTelemetry. You need an APM tool for that (I work for Elastic APM which is one such tool that supports OpenTelemetry).

OpenTelemetry does give you: APIs and SDKs (for many languages, not just Java) that let you manually add code to monitor your application; a Java agent which will auto-instrument your application to auto-monitor it (covering many frameworks); a communication protocol (OTLP) to send the monitoring data from the application; and a collector that collects the data. But as I said in the previous paragraph, from there on, you need to either put together a custom solution, or buy an APM tool.

For monitoring a small set of services, I think you can probably effectively build your own, though I suspect that's more expensive than buying an APM solution. But scaling your monitoring solution up to tens, hundreds and thousands of services will be very challenging for a build-your-own solution.

Now on to all the usual newsletter list of links, tips, tools, news and articles including an introductory guide for OpenTelemetry, and as usual I've extracted all the tips into this month's tips page

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Last Updated: 2023-01-29
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