What is an open ecosystem? How an ecosystem strategy delivers open source benefits

Open ecosystems are transforming how employees collaborate. However, these ecosystems introduce new challenges. That's why businesses must plan for ecosystem-level observability.

Today’s organizations are constantly enhancing their systems and services as new opportunities arise, inspiring new forms of collaboration while relying on open ecosystems and open source software. However, while open ecosystems offer benefits such as increased flexibility, faster development, and improved collaboration, they also present new observability challenges. In turn, this drives the need for increased integration of heterogeneous telemetry data such as metrics, logs, and traces, and intelligent awareness of context across disparate data types.

To realize the benefits of open ecosystems, organizations must plan for ecosystem-level observability.

What is an open ecosystem?

In software computing, an open ecosystem is an operating model in which organizations and applications share data and services so they can jointly create more value for customers than they could on their own.

Open source software is an example of the value created in an open ecosystem. It enables organizations to benefit from collective innovation for common tasks so they can concentrate on building their own IP. A single entity does not control open ecosystems. Therefore, anyone can contribute to them and use their resources.

A closed ecosystem, on the other hand, is controlled by one entity and follows rigid protocols for interaction. Rather than looking at the big picture, in a closed ecosystem, teams focused on point-to-point integrations that fixed small problems. This led to scalability issues, as teams were stuck managing dozens of custom integrations where a small issue could lead to a major problem.

Bringing observability into open ecosystems

Open ecosystems are the product of multiple systems’ interactions, and they generate logs and other metrics that reflect the state of the ecosystem. These logs and metrics are distinct from the logs, metrics, and traces of individual components. This means while observability into individual components is essential, organizations also need to plan for how to support observability at the open ecosystem level.

The key to observability in these systems is the ability to collect and integrate metrics, logs, and trace data from components. Fortunately, open source software can help with this. For instance, organizations frequently use OpenTelemetry to instrument microservices, Fluentd for collecting logs, and Prometheus for collecting metrics.

Collecting data that supports observability is just one part of ensuring observability in open ecosystems. Organizations also need AIOps to integrate data, provide context, and find meaningful signals across metrics, logs, and traces.

How open ecosystems change the way organizations work

The ways in which businesses and organizations work together are evolving due, in large part, to open ecosystems. In the past, for example, collaborators might create a point-to-point integration between two closed systems, which solved a specific problem but limited innovation and made it difficult to adapt to changing customer needs. Today, fast-moving organizations operate with an open ecosystem, which facilitates faster development and encourages partner integrations.

These ecosystems promote communities and help expand collaboration across environments. Collaborations between closed-system vendors may have created a deep relationship between two entities, but open ecosystems tend to foster a community approach to identifying new functionality and working collaboratively to implement those new features.

Reaping the benefits of an open ecosystem and combatting the challenges

Open ecosystems offer myriad benefits, including the flexibility of having multiple open source tools and components to solve specific problems. However, taking a siloed approach creates more challenges.

Teams are committed to specific tools and platforms with which they are comfortable and familiar. While change can be painful, maintaining hundreds of manual integrations does not work. That’s why organizations need an open ecosystem platform that can take data from any source and provide automation and intelligence. This provides the answers and observability organizations need to run the business while giving business units the flexibility to use whatever they need. Further, leveraging open standards allows simpler collaboration and integration.

While open ecosystems foster communication, collaboration, and integration to avoid breaking changes, end-to-end observability is crucial for managing burgeoning open source tools. Today’s organizations need a full-stack observability platform that can spot potentially breaking changes automatically. That’s where Dynatrace can help.

How Dynatrace embraces open ecosystems

The Dynatrace platform simplifies the open ecosystem experience with one platform for any data source. Dynatrace brings all an organization’s open source data into one place. There, the Davis AI engine monitors this data in context. Additionally, Dynatrace provides organizations with more than 625 integrations, including AWS Lambda, Microsoft Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, and more.

To learn more about how Dynatrace can help with your adoption of open ecosystems, particularly around support for observability, download the ebook, “OpenTelemetry and the opportunity for intelligent observability.” There, you can delve into more details about how a common platform for collecting application and infrastructure telemetry data combined with AI-based observability at scale can help improve developer collaboration and further realize the benefits of a new way to collaborate.