OpenTelemetry observability

How to standardize access to OpenTelemetry observability data

Keptn makes any Kubernetes deployment observable. In other words, it creates a distributed, end-to-end trace of what Kubernetes does in the context of a Deployment. To do this, Keptn introduces the concept of an application, which is an abstraction that connects multiple Workloads that logically belong together, even if they use different deployment strategies.

This means that:

  • You can readily see why a deployment takes so long or why it fails, even when using multiple deployment strategies.
  • Keptn can capture DORA metrics and expose them as OpenTelemetry metrics

The observability data is an amalgamation of the following:

  • DORA metrics are collected out of the box when Keptn is enabled
  • OpenTelemetry runs traces that show everything that happens in the Kubernetes cluster
  • Custom Keptn metrics that you can use to monitor information from all the data providers configured in your cluster

All this information can be displayed with dashboard tools such as Grafana.

For an introduction to using OpenTelemetry with Keptn metrics, see the Standardize observability getting started guide.

DORA metrics

DORA metrics are an industry-standard set of measurements; see the following for a description:

DORA metrics provide information such as:

  • How many deployments happened in the last six hours?
  • Time between deployments
  • Deployment time between versions
  • Average time between versions.

Keptn starts collecting these metrics as soon as you apply basic annotations to the Workload resource. Metrics are collected only for the resources that are annotated.

To view DORA metrics, run the following two commands:

  • Retrieve the service name with:
kubectl -n keptn-lifecycle-toolkit-system get service -l control-plane=lifecycle-operator
  • Then port-forward to the name of your service:
kubectl -n keptn-lifecycle-toolkit-system port-forward service/<YOURNAME> 2222

Then view the metrics at:


DORA metrics can be displayed on Grafana or whatever dashboard application you choose.


Requirements for OpenTelemetry

To access OpenTelemetry metrics with Keptn, you must have the following on your cluster:

If you want a dashboard for reviewing metrics and traces, you need:

To install Prometheus into the monitoring namespace, using the default configuration included with Keptn, use the following commands. Use similar commands if you define a different configuration::

kubectl create namespace monitoring
kubectl apply --server-side -f config/prometheus/setup
kubectl apply -f config/prometheus/

Integrate OpenTelemetry into Keptn

To integrate OpenTelemetry into Keptn:

  • Apply basic annotations for your Deployment resource to integrate Keptn into your Kubernetes cluster.
  • To expose OpenTelemetry metrics, define a KeptnConfig resource that has the spec.OTelCollectorUrl field populated with the URL of the OpenTelemetry collector.

The otel-collector.yaml is the OpenTelemetry manifest file for the PodtatoHead example, located in the config directory. To deploy and configure the OpenTelemetry collector using this manifest, the command is:

kubectl apply -f config/otel-collector.yaml \
    -n keptn-lifecycle-toolkit-system

Use the following command to confirm that the pod for the otel-collector deployment is up and running:

$ kubectl get pods -lapp=opentelemetry \
    -n keptn-lifecycle-toolkit-system

NAME                              READY   STATUS    RESTARTS      AGE
otel-collector-6fc4cc84d6-7hnvp   1/1     Running   0             92m

If you want to extend the OTel Collector configuration to send your telemetry data to other Observability platform, you can edit the Collector ConfigMap with the following command:

kubectl edit configmap otel-collector-conf \
    -n keptn-lifecycle-toolkit-system

When the otel-collector pod is up and running, restart the keptn-scheduler and lifecycle-operator so they can pick up the new configuration:

kubectl rollout restart deployment \
    -n keptn-lifecycle-toolkit-system keptn-scheduler lifecycle-operator

Keptn begins to collect OpenTelemetry metrics as soon as the Deployment resource has the basic annotations to integrate Keptn in the cluster.

Access Keptn metrics as OpenTelemetry metrics

Keptn metrics can be exposed as OpenTelemetry (OTel) metrics via port 9999 of the Keptn metrics-operator.

To access the metrics, use the following command:

kubectl port-forward deployment/metrics-operator 9999 -n keptn-lifecycle-toolkit-system

You can access the metrics from your browser at: http://localhost:9999

Last modified 2023-11-03: docs: release 0.9.0 (#2396) (fef5826)