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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.

NWS goes stackconf

About stackconf 2022

This year’s stackconf takes place in the beautiful Meliá Berlin. After a long draught, the conference can finally take place in person! We can finally meet other developers, users and people interested in the same topics again.
The conference features talks about a wide variety of topics related to cloud native technologies, infrastructure automation and lessions learned.


Who is going?

Being a silver sponsor most of the NWS team is present at the conference. We would love to get in touch with you and talk tech! in addition our CEO, Bernd Erk, is going to give the opening speech and Sebastian Saemann will show us how to use Vitess on Kubernetes with an intriguing demo.


What am I personally looking forward to?

I personally can’t wait to get insights into the big Spotify outage in March, which I was effected by as well. It’s always great to hear from other companies how they handle failures of any kind. Another talk I can’t wait to see is the Metal³ talk about provisioning infrastructure directly with Kubernetes. Since many workloads seem to shift to Kubernetes it’s a natural progression to manage everything with it. Unfortunately that means that I will miss the equally interesting talk about Nomad, an alternative to Kubernetes, and Waypoint. But since every talk will be recorded and uploaded onto the NETWAYS YouTube Channel, I’ll definitely catch up on it!


What to expect?

There will be people from all over the world joining the conference. It will be an opportunity to meet like-minded, interesting people and to exchange opinions, discuss experiences or just enjoy a chat with them.
The schedule already reveals that there will be many top engineers, CTOs and developers from all sorts of companies giving insights into their business, as well as experiences, best practices and invaluable knowledge learned by doing the wrong thing. A lot of interesting topics will be covered – there is surely something for everyone!


Are you going?

I’m already excited to go there and can’t wait to learn many new things regarding Kubernetes, CI/CD and much more.
Me and my colleagues are also thrilled that we can join the conference in person! Having the chance to meet other people face to face is just something different and also watching keynotes and demos (fail) live on site is always exciting. Will you be there, too? We sure hope so – otherwise, you can still get your ticket(s) for the on-site event in Berlin!

Follow us on twitter to get some first hand impressions of our experience at the stackconf 2022!

Justin Lamp
Justin Lamp
Systems Engineer

Justin hat 2022 die Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration im "echten" Norden abgeschlossen. Durch seine große Verbundundenheit zu Open Source hat er aber schnell gemerkt, dass ihm Themen im Kubernetes und OpenStack Bereich mehr liegen als im propreritären Microsoft/ VMWare Umfeld. So hat er beschlossen den Schritt zu wagen und andere Teile Deutschlands zu erkunden, um NETWAYS im Team Web Services tatkräftig zu unterstützen. Wenn er nicht in den Untiefen des Linux-Universum unterwegs ist, macht er leidenschaftlich Leichtathletik, geht Wandern und Mountainbiking.

Jitsi VP9 Feature

What is VP9?

After a lot of preperations we are finally ready to offer our customers the possibility to activate VP9 as an option. After many setbacks due to bugs and other problems, we have managed to integrate VP9 into our Jitsi environment. VP9 is a videocodec such as H.246 or VP8 the main differences between those codecs are the CPU and bandwidth usage. VP9 uses about 50% less of your bandwidth compared to H.246, which is an enormous improvement. That makes it a great choice if you’re working with video at different sizes, or if you’re focusing specifically on HD. VP9 can use hardware decoding on Intel and ARM devices. Thanks to widespread hardware support, it gives you smoother playback on PCs in most scenarios. That makes it ideal for general use. It’s also the best codec choice for high-quality YouTube videos. If you want to watch 4K on YouTube, you need VP9.
There are still issues with browsers that are not chrome based, but with that said, VP9 is a feature that was much needed. The efficiency that comes with it takes video conferencing in Jitsi to the next level. However, it‘s also important to note that this works best if the device you’re using has VP9 hardware acceleration enabled. If not, your device may also quickly reach its limits. The best thing to do is to look on the Internet to see if your built-in CPU or GPU supports this acceleration. Also, this is not always enabled directly and may need to be enabled first.

Enable VP9 feature

To use VP9 you have to enable it in the NWS web interface. First select your Jitsi, then go to Settings in the optional Features section. There you will already see the VP9 option, click on the small dropdown window and check the box. After that you have to click on “Save customization” and after a short time your Jitsi is activated with VP9.

Please make sure that you are using the latest version of Chrome or your Chrome based browser, otherwise VP9 may not be available yet. If you join with another browser that does not support VP9, the session will automatically be reset to VP8. However, this can cause problems again, so we recommend using only Chrome or Chrome-based browsers in the latest version.

Apart from the VP9 feature, our Jitsi has also been updated to the latest version and here are a few of the new features.

Select background

You now have the possibility to cut out your video background and insert any image.
To do this you have to click on the three dots in the menu bar and then click on Select Background. Now you see different images, which are already available by default. However, if you then press “Add background“ you can search locally for your own image and select it. It is even possible to choose your screensharing as background.

Live reactions

Another feature is the possibility to react live with an emote. To do this, navigate back to the menu bar and select the arrow on the raise hand function. You will then see some new emotes which you can select. If one of these emotes is pressed, this emote will be shown to everyone in the session and will also be played with an audio playback. However, this audio playback can also be very annoying. If you want to deactivate it, you have to go to the settings. To do this, go back to the menu bar, on the three points, then settings and select sounds and uncheck Interactions.

Framerate for screen sharing

If you have a low frame rate for your screen sharing, you can also set it higher in the settings. To do so, navigate back to the settings and then select more. Now you will see the option Frame rate for screen sharing, this should be set to 5 FPS by default, but you can also select 15 or 30 FPS. Note that this setting will not be applied if you are already sharing your screen. You will need to start sharing again for these settings to be applied.

Joshua Hartmann
Joshua Hartmann
Systems Engineer

Joshua hat im Sommer 2023 seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration bei den NETWAYS Web Services erfolgreich abgeschlossen. Heute ist er ein wichtiger Teil des Teams, das sich mit großer Hingabe um die Kundenbetreuung und die kontinuierliche Weiterentwicklung der SaaS-Apps kümmert. Neben seinem musikalischen Talent am Klavier hat Joshua eine Leidenschaft für Wintersport und findet auch Freude im Gaming. Doch am allerliebsten verbringt er seine Zeit mit seiner besseren Hälfte, denn sie ist für ihn das größte Glück.