Seite wählen


OSMC 2022 | Unifying Observability: Weaving Prometheus, Jaeger, and Open Source Together to Win

In his talk at the Open Source Monitoring Conference 2022 (OSMC) Jonah Kowall – having more than 15 years of experience in the fields Ops, network, security, and performance engineering under his belt – tells us a lot about observability in the open source market. He also focusses on possible problems regarding licensing.

In the following I will give you a brief overview of the topics and concepts behind.


What is Observability?

First things first, what is observability? And how does it differ from monitoring?

To greatly simplify:

  • Monitoring is used to track specific criteria of given hosts/devices across your infrastructure. Thus, monitoring means having an eye on specific metrics such as CPU load or RAM usage. This enables you to notice problems as they occur and act accordingly.
  • Observability on the other hand means collecting “all” data. Based on the inputs a system receives and its respective outputs you are meant to be able to draw conclusions about your system’s state.

Sticking with the RAM example, monitoring can show you that your system runs low on memory, while observability can tell you why that is. This “why” is also helpful in order to act appropriately before the “that” happens. So, monitoring effectively follows a reactive approach and observability follows a proactive one.

Now let’s let his presentation give us an explanation.



Commercial vs. Open Source solutions

As Jonah goes on to explain, commercial tools for observability tend to be more coherent and complete out of the box when it comes to the user interface (UI).

Meanwhile – due to the nature of the open source world – open source solutions are oftentimes highly fragmented requiring a combination of multiple tools to fill in the complete picture. This in turn leads to more complexity due to multiple different underlaying architectures. As an example he brings up the ELK stack (Elasticsearch + Logstash + Kibana) which is just three parts of a more extensive system.

But even though probably nobody likes complexity itself open source solutions still seem to be vastly popular with companies and make up the majority of the observability landscape. In Jonah’s opinion this trend is also “the future of where things are going”.



Many of us are used to at least seeing a license every once in a while. MIT, Apache and GPL are common terms to encounter when dealing with open source products.
You yourself might not have to deal with licenses directly but in one way or another you could be affected as well.

Imagine finding a new open source project or code snippets that help you with building your own project. Maybe those fix something that you just could not do or didn’t have time to do. Now licensing is important. Can I use this code? In what way can I use it? Could it backfire? The last question is especially important, according to Jonah.

There seems to be a trend with so called “copyleft licenses”. In this context copyleft effectively means: If you use that code in your own project, you need to open source your own code within that project as well. This is certainly something most companies don’t want to or simply cannot afford to do. After all, companies are still about making money.

But not only do companies have to deal with such issues. Communities surrounding open source projects also have to be careful what they bring into projects. Amongst other disagreements – for example about the current path of a project – licensing is also a contributing factor when it comes to forks popping up.

If you want to know a bit more about a certain fork in the open source observability world that might potentially achieve unified observability, be sure to give Jonah Kowall a few minutes of your time.

The recording and slides of this talk and all other OSMC talks can be found in our Archives. Check it out!

The next OSMC takes place from November 7 – 9, 2023 in Nuremberg. Early Bird tickets are already on sale!

Matthias Döhler
Matthias Döhler
Junior Consultant

Über ein paar Umwege ist Matthias nun endlich da gelandet, wo er sich wohl fühlt: in der IT! Bei NETWAYS hat er im September 2021 seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration im Bereich Professional Services begonnen. Wenn er sich zu Hause nicht auch noch mit Themen rund um Linux auseinandersetzt, sieht er sich leidenschaftlich gerne Horrorfilme und solche an, die man als "Trash" bezeichnen könnte. Je seltsamer, desto besser! Den üblichen Beschäftigungen wie Freunde treffen, Bars aufsuchen oder die Sonne im Freien genießen, geht er eben so nach wie pseudophilosophischen Fragen. Daneben spielt er außerdem wahnsinnig gerne Videospiele vergangener Generationen....

Let me introduce: NWS-ID

We’re really excite to share an enhancement with you that puts your NWS Customer Interface experience to a whole new level! NWS-ID – our new core for managing your personal identity and access to nws.netways.de! Even if identity management sounds a bit dull to some, NWS-ID enables us to bring some new features to you. But  what are these new features, you wonder? Okay, let’s get right into it and answer some questions, you might have. First:

What is NWS-ID?

NWS-ID is the future home for your personal user profile and a much desired integration to the current customer interface. Here, you can update your password, configure 2FA and edit your profile data, although we rarely save any of it. The introduction of personal accounts allows us to provide new features to the NWS Customer Interface and the associated products – including a user and group management.

User and Group Management

The first and probably biggest thing is the integration of NWS-ID with our Customer Interface at nws.netways.de, which enables us to release user and group management – a feature many customers requested and that we’re now thrilled to provide. It basically allows you to give your team access to your account and products. The role-based approach allows you to easily create user groups with appropriate permissions and invite your colleagues with their own personal NWS-ID. Thanks to fine-grained authorization settings, you decide who can access and manage your projects or even the whole organisation!

Managing multiple organisations at NWS?

No problem with NWS-ID! It’s never been easier. If you are in charge of managing several organisations at NWS you will love NWS-ID. Your user can be associated with multiple organisations and it’s easy to switch between them with a single click! You no longer have to log in again or use multiple browsers.

When will NWS-ID be available?

We will release NWS-ID in two weeks, on December 14th. All existing accounts will be migrated automatically – if you are a current NWS customer, you will receive an e-mail to renew your password on that day. That’s it! From then on, your NWS-ID is active and the user and group management is available! Don’t forget to enable two-factor authentication! It does not only sound easy, it is easy! We can’t wait for you to use and implement NWS-ID into your everyday life and to see and hear, what benefits it brings to you.

What does the future hold?

With NWS-ID as the new core for our identity management, not only you benefit from this enhancement, but also our products, which you’ll be able to access more effortlessly. Our portfolio will be gradually integrated, which simplifies the access to products and projects for your whole team. SSO is the buzzword here. Give us a little time to implement the integrations and we will of course come back to you as soon as possible!

I hope you are looking forward to the new home for your user profile! I am sure that NWS-ID complements our portfolio well and is the base for simple and good authentication and authorisation. If you have any questions along the way, please feel free to contact us – we’re always there to help answer any open questions.

Achim Ledermüller
Achim Ledermüller
Senior Manager Cloud

Der Exil Regensburger kam 2012 zu NETWAYS, nachdem er dort sein Wirtschaftsinformatik Studium beendet hatte. In der Managed Services Abteilung ist er für den Betrieb und die Weiterentwicklung unserer Cloud-Plattform verantwortlich.