Lightstep works by collecting data from distributed service application code instrumented to provide tracing and monitoring information. That instrumentation is provided by open-source projects like OpenTracing, OpenCensus, and now OpenTelemetry.

OpenTelemetry is the unified initiative that takes the best of both OpenTracing and OpenCensus forward. Think of OpenTelemetry as the next version of either OpenTracing or OpenCensus. You can read more about the project here and view the roadmap here.

So Which Should You Use?

There’s no reason to wait for OpenTelemetry’s completion to start implementing distributed tracing with Lightstep! Both OpenTracing and OpenCensus instrumentation will continue to be supported for two years. You can use OpenTracing for now and when you’re ready, and it’s ready, upgrade to OpenTelemetry. Bridges will be provided for backward compatibility - you can keep the old code and use the new as needed.

Learn More About OpenTelemetry

If you love running with the early adaptor crowd, you can start using OpenTelemetry now in your non-production environments. Read this topics to understand how OpenTelemetry works: