Jan 29, 2024 • 3 min read

Day 1: OpenTelemetry on Highlight

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Chris Esplin
Software Engineer

Highlight, powered by OpenTelemetry

Instrumenting code for performance tracing is a grind.

Even worse, many observability solutions create vendor lock-in. All of that tracing work will send your data to exactly one kind of server, that you likely do not control.

The Unified Solution: OpenTelemetry and Highlight

We're excited to introduce a powerful and flexible solution combining OpenTelemetry (OTel) with Highlight. OpenTelemetry provides comprehensive tracing, logging, metrics, and error monitoring capabilities for your application without vendor lock-in. It's a solution that is both opinionated and adaptable in terms of data storage - you can stream data to ClickHouse, Prometheus, or other open-source databases using their processors and exporters.

Highlight complements OpenTelemetry by significantly reducing the engineering overhead associated with storing and visualizing this data. Simply point your OpenTelemetry collector to Highlight - whether Cloud or Self-Hosted - and we take care of the rest. Using Kafka and ClickHouse, we ingest the data efficiently and provide you with a robust UI for searching and viewing your application's tracing data. At the same time, Highlight traces and logs attribute fine-grained server-side data to the frontend sessions, allowing you to watch user actions that run specific backend code.

Get started with Highlight's Native OpenTelemetry docs.

Key Benefits of Integrating OpenTelemetry with Highlight

  1. Vendor Agnostic Instrumentation: Application instrumentation using OpenTelemetry is agnostic to the destination of your data. This freedom protects you from vendor lock-in and provides flexibility in your observability strategy.

  1. Broad Support for Libraries and Languages: The open-source nature of the OpenTelemetry specification means it supports a wide array of libraries and languages, making it highly compatible and versatile.

  1. Auto-Instrumentation: OpenTelemetry maintains a registry of over 700 compatible libraries, plugins, and integrations. If you're using it, there's likely an OTel plugin for it. And the library code itself may already be instrumented for OTEL.

  1. Simplified Data Management with Highlight: By integrating OpenTelemetry with Highlight, we eliminate the complexities of storing and viewing tracing data. This seamless integration allows you to focus on what's important - understanding and optimizing your application's performance.

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