As interest in OpenTelemetry has grown, you've often asked us what to expect when you add OpenTelemetry instrumentation to your services, applications, or infrastructure. How will the observability experience be different from what you're used to with the New Relic platform? We’ve published a comparison of our features powered by New Relic agents and OpenTelemetry data.

The goal of OpenTelemetry, sponsored by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), is to standardize how you collect and send telemetry data to a backend platform. Our goal is to provide you with the same world-class observability experience in New Relic using any telemetry source. We already support hundreds of data sources today, for example, if you use our integrations and quickstarts on Instant Observability.

The simple truth is that some experiences will be different in New Relic depending on the source of data. After all, OpenTelemetry is a newer technology than the New Relic agents, and the data model differs. Though OpenTelemetry is rapidly growing in scope and maturity—with the help of many community contributors (including New Relic engineers)—there are still capabilities of the New Relic platform that aren’t yet supported by OTel instrumentation or specifications.

To help clarify, a detailed feature comparison is available today on our documentation site: Compare New Relic agents with OpenTelemetry.

At a high level, here's how the experience with New Relic agents compares to using OpenTelemetry instrumentation:

Key for the Compare New Relic agents with OpenTelemetry table

Because of the rapid growth and change in our product and in the open source community, the feature comparison on our docs site that we're announcing today will be continuously updated. We're committed to adding more and more support for the New Relic platform using OTel data, as well as for the OpenTelemetry specifications. To suggest a change to the Compare New Relic agents with OpenTelemetry page, just select the Edit page button to make a public contribution on our docs-website GitHub repository.

We would love to hear your feedback on what features of New Relic you’d most like to see covered with OpenTelemetry instrumentation—or vice-versa! Our new public issue tracker is coming soon, but in the meantime, you can submit feature requests using our Explorers Hub forum.