Lightstep from ServiceNow deepens commitment to OpenTelemetry project

  • IT Management
  • About ServiceNow
  • 2023
  • Ben Sigelman
April 18, 2023

OpenTelemetry project: group of workers hovers over tablet on conference table

At Lightstep, we’ve seen many organizations grapple with “cloud-native sticker shock” as they come to understand that these complex systems require sifting through massive amounts of data across architectures and proprietary solutions.

In today’s macroeconomic environment, organizations are looking to reduce costs while driving innovation, especially when it comes to cloud-native applications. With these considerations top of mind, Lightstep from ServiceNow is excited to announce greater ownership of observability pipelines by increasing our involvement in the OpenTelemetry project.

Lightstep from ServiceNow is the first observability company to give customers total telemetry pipeline ownership. We’re enabling customers to run non-vendor-specific components across environments when they adopt native OpenTelemetry tooling for complete telemetry portability.

Why telemetry portability?

Telemetry portability is a cornerstone of OpenTelemetry. It isn’t just about sending data wherever you want, although that is nice. Telemetry portability enables users to invest in their monitoring infrastructure for the long term and benefit from that iterative development.

By eliminating the need to invest in vendor-specific product knowledge, telemetry portability allows teams to become specialists in their data and their organization, as opposed to a vendor’s proprietary software.

Telemetry portability also increases customers’ ability to maintain a consistent view of application health and performance, regardless of observability/monitoring back ends. This reduces vendor lock-in, improves mean time to resolve, and increases overall monitoring effectiveness.

When an organization relies on a third party to perform proprietary automated data collection and processing, it doesn’t own the data generated. Oftentimes, if an organization wants to send that data to a third party for visualization or analysis alongside other data, it can’t.

As organizations move to adopt OpenTelemetry, Lightstep is committing to embrace native OpenTelemetry tooling exclusively for complete telemetry portability. Starting today, Lightstep customers can send data directly from an OpenTelemetry collector or software development kit (SDK) without requiring vendor-specific components in their environment.

They can invest in their telemetry pipeline and instrumentation like any other generic business asset and continue to benefit from that investment.


Lightstep customer-owned and managed app (metrics, logs, and traces) feeds into an OpenTelemetry collector to invest in the observability pipeline.

The OpenTelemetry project

The OpenTelemetry project has come a long way since we co-created it in 2019. The suite of community tooling available today includes powerful language auto-instrumentation capabilities, hundreds of off-the-shelf integrations, and flexible and modular pipeline components, including the SDKs, the collector, and many additional plug-ins, to comprehensively meet enterprise observability needs.

OpenTelemetry is great for enterprises that want to maintain vendor neutrality while maximizing coverage for visibility and observability—all with the benefits of a thriving open-source community.

To ensure that community continues to thrive, the Lightstep team has committed to open-source and upstream all OpenTelemetry enhancements generated from the Lightstep engineering team—an industry first. This reaffirms our commitment to the OpenTelemetry community and our customers that Lightstep from ServiceNow will continue to develop products and features that drive cloud-based innovation.

By relying on native OpenTelemetry end to end, organizations have more say over their data and what they can do with that data. For example, if an organization is looking to augment its data sent to an observability back end, the extensibility of the OpenTelemetry protocol (OTLP) encourages teams to introduce specific focus areas to their telemetry pipeline.

For organizations on the path to adopt OpenTelemetry end to end, this announcement hands control back to the customer. Every industry is facing upstart disruption from cloud-native first movers and adopters. IDC predicts, “By 2027, the number of digital-native businesses on the S&P500 will have doubled, leading to a digitally driven economy."1

The Now Platform and Lightstep observability deliver a modern suite of solutions to help software engineers and technologists build, deploy, run, and support new applications as the cornerstone of digital business models.

If you aren’t a Lightstep user yet, request a demo to take it for a spin.

1 IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Small and Medium-Sized Business and Digital-Native Business 2023 Predictions, Oct. 27, 2022, Simone De Bruin, Katie Evans, Jason Blackwell, Supriya Deka, Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, Cynthia Li, Riccardo Barrai, Andrea Siviero

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