FAQ -  Elastic contributes its Universal Profiling agent to OpenTelemetry

Elastic is advancing the adoption of OpenTelemetry with the contribution of its universal profiling agent. Elastic is committed to ensuring a vendor-agnostic ingestion and collection of observability and security telemetry through OpenTelemetry.

FAQ - Elastic contributes its Universal Profiling agent to OpenTelemetry

What is being announced?

Elastic’s donation proposal for contributing its Universal Profiling™ agent has now been accepted by the OpenTelemetry community. Elastic’s Universal Profiling agent, the industry’s most comprehensive fleet-wide Universal Profiling solution, empowers users to quickly identify performance bottlenecks, reduce cloud spend, and minimize their carbon footprint. With the contribution of the Elastic Universal Profiling Agent to OpenTelemetry, all customers will benefit from its features and capabilities.

What do Elastic users need to know?

Elastic’s contribution of the continuous profiling agent will not change the existing set of Elastic’s continuous profiling features or how we ingest and store profiling data. 

Elastic will participate and closely collaborate with the OTel community to manage not only the addition of the continuous profiling agent to OTel but also work with and drive the OTel community’s Profiling Special Interest Group (SIG) in shaping OTel’s continuous profiling evolution. 

Elastic has facilitated the definition of the OTel Profiling Data Model, a crucial step toward standardizing profiling data. Moreover, the recent merge of the OpenTelemetry Enhancement Proposal (OTEP) introducing profiling support to the OpenTelemetry Protocol (OTLP) marked an additional milestone. 

Why is Elastic contributing its Profiling Agent to OTel?

This contribution not only accelerates the standardization of continuous profiling but also makes continuous profiling the 4th key signal in observability. This empowers everyone in the observability community to continuously profile with a standardized agent. The addition of Elastic’s continuous profiling agent will:

  • Align efforts around a single standard poised for broad adoption by users.

  • Drive better visibility and improvement of resource usage and cost management for operations.

  • Enable vendors and the community to focus on richer features versus dealing with data transformation tasks.

  • Enable continuous profiling to become the 4th key signal in Observability.

  • Increase continuous profiling adoption and the continued evolution and convergence of observability and security domains.

Why is continuous profiling needed by organizations?

The contribution of Elastic’s continuous profiling agent now helps customers realize the following benefits of continuous profiling:

  • Maximize gross margins: By reducing the computational resources needed to run applications, businesses can optimize their cloud spend and improve profitability. Whole-system continuous profiling is one way of identifying the most expensive applications (down to the lines of code) across diverse environments that may span multiple cloud providers. This principle aligns with the familiar adage, "A penny saved is a penny earned." In the cloud context, every CPU cycle saved translates to money saved. 
  • Minimize environmental impact: Energy consumption associated with computing is a growing concern (source: MIT Energy Initiative). More efficient code translates to lower energy consumption, contributing to a reduction in carbon (CO2) footprint. 
  • Accelerate engineering workflows: Continuous profiling provides detailed insights to help debug complex issues faster, guide development, and improve overall code quality.

With these benefits, customers can now not only manage the overall application’s efficiency on the cloud, but also ensure the application is optimally developed.

What is continuous profiling?

Elastic’s continuous profiling agent is a whole-system, always-on, continuous profiling solution that eliminates the need for run-time/bytecode instrumentation, recompilation, on-host debug symbols or service restarts.   

Profiling helps organizations run efficient services by minimizing computational wastage, thereby reducing operational costs. Leveraging eBPF, the Elastic profiling agent provides unprecedented visibility into the runtime behavior of all applications: it builds stack traces that go from the kernel, through userspace native code, all the way into code running in higher level runtimes, enabling you to identify performance regressions, reduce wasteful computations, and debug complex issues faster. 

To this end, it measures code efficiency in three dimensions: CPU utilization, CO2, and cloud cost. This approach resonates with the sustainability objectives of our customers –– ensuring that Elastic continuous profiling aligns seamlessly with their strategic ESG goals

Does Elastic support OpenTelemetry today?

Elastic supports OTel natively. Elastic users can send OTel data directly from applications or through the OTel collector into Elastic APM, which processes both OTel SemConv and ECS. With this native OTel support, all Elastic APM capabilities are available with OTel. See Elastic documentation to learn more about OTel integration.

Where can I learn more about Elastic’s Universal Profiling?

Elastic’s resources help you understand continuous profiling and how to use it in different scenarios: