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OpenTelemetry vs Prometheus: What are Their Main Differences?

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When it comes to the best open-source software for your business, there are no doubt a number of options that are available to you as the user and the customer. However, it is not only important to identify the ones that are delivering quality results, but how they differ from other similar programs. Here we discuss OpenTelemetry vs Prometheus. While they are both admirable cloud-native computing foundation (CNCF) programs designed to collect traces and metrics that can provide a service that benefits your business, one must understand their differences.

Changes to Data

If you have ever used Prometheus, then you’ll be glad to hear it’s just as easy, if not easier, to setup OpenTelemetry in your system. With the ease of installation, OpenTelemetry also offers easier access to changing raw data from your applications in real-time, while with Prometheus there may be more of a system you have to approach in order to access the data at hand.

Granted, OpenTelemetry was only developed back in 2016, and for a number of years only offered traces and metrics, there may be a number of changes in the future that may complicate the system, thus making the data a bit more difficult to access. Additionally, after Prometheus joined Kubernetes, a number of defaults were added to the tool that can be achieved with another tool without as much of the previously necessary program refinement.

Ease of Use

With software like Prometheus, it has been said it can seem rather clunky or difficult to use—but this software is constantly changing through a wide variety of contributors who are only looking to benefit the overall usage. So, it can be argued that one main difference between the two is the code diversity and how the two differ on open ended development from third party users or other organizations. For OpenTelemetry, there are a number of resources that expand on the program, as well as how to install it and use the software for your benefit.

Where They Started

Prometheus started before 2012 through Soundcloud before joining the CNCF, after which its user and contributor basis grew exponentially. They were also one of the first projects to graduate from the CNCF, and this led to their partnership with Kubernetes as a means to improve their systems.

Now you may be wondering, what is OpenTelemetry? OpenTelemetry is what is called a sandbox project that began through the CNCF. It originally started out as two projects, which were eventually merged to create OpenTelemetry as we know it now: OpenTracing and OpenCensus. The goal of this merge was to improve the software and provide more accurate results while still offering backward compatibility to the aforementioned software programs OpenTelemetry used to be.

If you are concerned about how these programs will interact with your existing system, there are a number of software testing platforms available online that may be able to help you.

Existing Partnerships

While the performance of the two programs matters more than what they are partnered with, it is also important to understand where they have come from and where they are potentially headed. Considering both are open-ended projects and actively promote coders and users to tweak the software while providing feedback to the company, the answers lie in the future, and that can equally lie on who all have their hands in the pot as far as the programs go.

OpenTelemtry, as mentioned, is a CNCF sandbox project, so there is no telling if a specific company will decide to pick it up in the future and change the direction it is traveling. But for now, the future of the project is based on user’s feedback and coders who contribute to the general cause.

Prometheus, who in recent years joined with Kubernetes, is still an open-ended system that also thrives on contributions from users and coders around the globe. Granted, with the basis of these two systems being based greatly on third party individuals, that may greatly cause the biggest difference of all between these two software programs.

Users and coders who utilize these programs will have tweaks and feedback for the company that constantly change the direction the software is traveling, so the future really resides in our hands, the ones who are typing away at their computers day in and day out to help improve the programs for the next person to use.


In the end, the results will vary based on how you use the programs, and what you are using them for in particular, but figuring out which one works best with your system may require some extensive homework to make sure you are making the best decision possible. No one wants to waste their money on a software program that is not working for them, so the best tool at your disposal is your research!


Shuseel Baral is a web programmer and the founder of InfoTechSite has over 8 years of experience in software development, internet, SEO, blogging and marketing digital products and services is passionate about exceeding your expectations.

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