Cloud data control: Introducing the OpenTelemetry Arrow Project

  • IT Management
  • About ServiceNow
  • Daniel Spoonhower
  • 2023
September 12, 2023

Data control: 2 workers in a warehouse holding tablet devices

In collaboration with F5, ServiceNow® Cloud Observability is pleased to announce the availability of the OpenTelemetry Arrow Project. This co-donated and co-developed project gives organizations greater control over the data extracted from their cloud applications—as well as a path forward to improve the return on investment (ROI) of that data.

By applying substantially more compression as data leaves the cloud, the OpenTelemetry Arrow Project helps organizations reduce cloud costs while improving efficiency. Users can import their OpenTelemetry data into Apache Arrow-enabled data services for better data control and ownership.

This is exciting for a couple of reasons. In the short term, many organizations will see their costs decrease—same telemetry content, lower network bill. In the long term, as community-driven, open-source projects continue to improve and evolve, many customers will be able to move, process, store, and query data at scale more efficiently, helping to reduce the trade-offs between visibility and cost.


OpenTelemetry Arrow Project architecture: Customer environment to OTel Arrow to ServiceNow

Reducing cloud costs

The hardest part of the observability journey for many organizations is extracting the data they need from cloud applications and services in an efficient and cost-effective way. As organizations scale up their adoption of cloud-native technologies, the volume of data grows exponentially. That creates even more hurdles, such as:

  • What to do with data that’s been extracted from applications and services

  • How to manage the ROI of extracted data as the monitoring footprint increases

  • How to reduce cloud bills

When it comes to cutting expenses associated with observability, there are two primary approaches:

  1. Reduce costs of your observability solution

  2. Reduce costs when extracting data from your application

To address the first option, some organizations have scaled back their monitoring footprint to prioritize production data. Other organizations are looking at, or have adopted, open-source solutions (such as OpenTelemetry) to replace or augment their existing observability solutions.

Organizations that have adopted OpenTelemetry end to end have been able to bring down costs at various points along the observability pipeline. This is a result of reducing proprietary components within their monitoring stack without sacrificing visibility.

To reduce the bill associated with cloud applications, the OpenTelemetry Arrow Project introduces an improvement to the existing OpenTelemetry protocol (OTLP) method by accounting for one of the biggest challenges organizations face: the increasing deluge of data from their applications and services.

By decreasing the monitoring data sent from the cloud via compression, the project alleviates one of the more expensive components of an organization’s cloud bill: data egress. Organizations will now have one additional lever to minimize the costs associated with their observability practice.

The bottom line

A core tenet of the OpenTelemetry project is extracting high-quality, ubiquitous, and portable telemetry from cloud applications. As more telemetry is exported, regardless of quality, network costs increase. As that happens, organizations must choose between reducing visibility into their services and accepting higher costs.

The OpenTelemetry Arrow project enables customers to scale OpenTelemetry-powered observability. The project is jointly developed and maintained by F5 and ServiceNow Cloud Observability.

Find out more about how ServiceNow Cloud Observability helps improve data control.

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