Better Observability with No Code Changes

Thursday, June 15, 2023 - 10:00 am10:25 am

Tyler Benson, Lightstep


Many observability tools only instrument popular open source frameworks. A common path to deeper visibility requires code modification with manual instrumentation. However, SRE’s don't always have the ability to directly modify applications they are responsible for supporting. This restriction is often in place due to separation of job responsibility, or because the application is provided by an external vendor.

With configuration-based runtime instrumentation SRE’s can get visibility into applications without the need to recompile.

In my talk, I'll share some heuristics I use to identify useful functions/methods that can be instrumented in unfamiliar applications. I will also showcase a tool I wrote to apply these heuristics in a Java codebase. Once these functions/methods are identified, attendees will learn to instrument them without any code modification using OpenTelemetry's Javaagent.

Tyler Benson, Lightstep

Tyler has been working in the Observability space and writing instrumentation for over 10 years (ex-New Relic, ex-Datadog, currently at Lightstep). He was a founding maintainer for the OpenTelemetry Java Instrumentation project. Tyler loves Asian food and can speak casual Mandarin.

@conference {288279,
author = {Tyler Benson},
title = {Better Observability with No Code Changes},
year = {2023},
address = {Singapore},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jun

Presentation Video