OpenObservability Talks Second Year at a Glance

I can’t believe that OpenObservability Talks podcast is already celebrating its second anniversary. It feels like just yesterday I wrote the summary of the first year, sharing the hectic times of starting a podcast in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The pandemic has been with us most of this year too, but it didn’t stop us from bringing the latest on the best of breed open source observability. In fact, this year we combined deep dive into cutting edge technologies such as eBPF and Continuous Profiling, with broad end-user perspective from hyperscales such as Google, Slack and Twitter.

We also wanted to expose additional audiences to Observability. While DevOps and SREs are our core audience, observability is very relevant for developers, product managers and even startup founders.

We brought this content in natural fireside chats with open source creators and maintainers, with senior leaders of observability in BigTech companies, and with chairs of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, so our listeners can hear it right from the source. We streamed each episode live on YouTube and Twitch so the community members can chime in with their questions and comments on chat, while expanding to 10 different podcast apps to make it more accessible.

Let’s see what we’ve been chatting about in the past year.

Learning how Observability is done at Hyperscalers

I’ve always been fascinated with how BigTech webscalers, such as Slack, Pinterest and Twitter, practice observability at their massive scale and growth. I had the privilege of hosting Suman Karumuri, a Sr. Staff Software Engineer and the tech lead for Observability at Slack, to hear about the observability stack he’s built at Slack as well as at Pinterest and Twitter, and get some useful tips about enterprise observability.

And talking about BigTech, we all know the “SRE Book” by Google, right? I‘ve been waiting for the opportunity to hear how Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is practiced at Google these days, and there’s no better expert than Ramón Medrano Llamas, a staff site reliability engineer at Google.

SRE at Google: Planet-Scale Observability

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and Observability

Google’s SRE end-user practices brought up some interesting perspectives, and I wanted to explore how SRE can be weaved into the software engineering process itself, with an SLO-driven approach. I invited Andreas Grabner to share his decades of experience at Dynatrace, as well as the Keptn open source project he’s promoting for automating SLOs.

Observability — not just for DevOps and SRE

In many of my conversations I’ve realized that people perceive observability as the sole interest of DevOps and SRE. That can’t be farther from the truth.

As developers assume more responsibility over their code with the shift-left mentality, observability is becoming increasingly critical for them as well, which is what I explored with Liran Haimovitch, the co-founder and CTO of Rookout.

It goes beyond engineers. observability is important also for product managers and even startup founders, if they wish to establish a SaaS product and business, as I discussed with Aviad Mizrachi, the CTO and Co-Founder of Frontegg.

New observability signals and eBPF

One of the 5 key observability trends I’ve identified at the beginning of the year was moving beyond the 3 pillars of observability, and expanding into new telemetry data types. I invited Frederic Branczyk, the founder and CEO of Polar Signals and the creator of the Parca open source project, to learn what continuous profiling is, and what kind of observability it offers us.

I also chatted with Frederic about how they implemented continuous profiling using eBPF. In fact, eBPF is another one of the 5 key observability trends I identified, and I had a separate episode dedicated to it with Natalie Serrino, a founder engineer working on the Pixie open-source tool for Kubernetes observability. We even got to hear about the origins of BPF (the predecessor of eBPF) from its inventor Steve McCanne.

Following up on the leading open source stack

As before, we kept tabs on the best of breed open source observability projects out there, and within the the CNCF (the Cloud Native Computing Foundation) ecosystem in particular. We talked with creators and maintainers about Jaeger, Fluentd, Prometheus, OpenSearch and others, as well as how different projects align under the CNCF and how to establish open standards.

New Year, New Ideas

The opening episode of the third year of OpenObservability Talks will be dedicated to OpenTelemetry and the vision for unified open observability. I just came back from KubeCon+CloudNativeCon Europe 2022, where I talked about OpenTelemetry, and I brought back hot updates to share about the project. I’ll be joined by Alolita Sharma, co-chair of the CNCF Technical Advisory Group for Observability, member of the OpenTelemetry Governance Committee and a board director of the Unicode Consortium. You’re welcome to join us on the live stream June 15 on YouTube Live and Twitch:

Have you got an interesting topic that you’d like to share? Would you like to join one of the episodes to talk about your topic of expertise around open source observability and DevOps practices and communities? Go ahead and fill in your proposal here, or submit a CFP on openobservability.io, or just reach out over Twitter @openobserv and or directly to me @horovits.

Please also share your thoughts and suggestions on what we’ve done so far, on what you liked, on what you perhaps liked less, and how we can make the entire effort even better.

We’re working on more exciting things for the upcoming season, so stay tuned!

And thanks for your continued participation and support.

-Dotan Horovits @horovits

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