The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) has voted to accept OpenMetrics as a CNCF incubating project. 

OpenMetrics creates an open standard for transmitting cloud-native metrics at scale. It acts as an open standard for Prometheus and is the officially supported exposition format for the project and compatible solutions. Metrics are a specific kind of telemetry data, and when combined with logs and traces, provide a comprehensive view of the performance of cloud native applications.

OpenMetrics was created within CNCF in 2017. Since then, OpenMetrics has published a stable 1.0 of the specification, and an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Internet Draft slated to become an RFC and aiming towards an official Internet Standard. It is used or supported by most CNCF projects and many wider cloud native ecosystem projects. Furthermore, any changes are considered closely with Cortex, Prometheus, Kubernetes, and Thanos.

“Creating OpenMetrics within CNCF was a given,” said Richard “RichiH” Hartmann, director of community at Grafana Labs and OpenMetrics founder. “CNCF is the main driving force of cloud native technologies. Seeing a natural, organic, and largely uneventful migration is the dream of everyone working in infrastructure, and that’s what we achieved.”

OpenMetrics is used in production by many large enterprises, including GitLab, DoorDash, Grafana Labs, Chronosphere, Everquote, and SoundCloud. The team estimates hundreds of thousands of OpenMetrics users and Prometheus installations in the millions with significantly more programs emitting data, including every single Kubernetes instance. Two of the most used Prometheus client libraries support OpenMetrics – Python since October 2018 and Go since January 2020.

“Using the opinionated format of the OpenMetrics enabled us to improve our observability and bring a standardization to our telemetry data,” said Rabun Kosar, Infrastructure Software Engineer at DoorDash. “We were able to define engineering level standards for naming metrics and tags and also append a standard set of tags to every metric. This, in turn, enabled us to create templatized dashboards and standard alerts for services, saving engineers from spending time on trying to form alerts queries for critical resources such as container CPU/Mem or restart counts or JVM resources.”

Notable Milestones:

The next highlight feature in OpenMetrics, which will mark a 2.0 release, will be the new Prometheus high-resolution histograms. OpenTelemetry also intends to support OpenMetrics as a first-class wire format.

“The Prometheus project chose to include OpenMetrics in its compliance test suite to safeguard open standards,” said Hartmann. “With Prometheus releasing a new high-resolution histogram soon, OpenMetrics will release a 2.0 version to serve as a reference. Working closely with OpenTelemetry, all three projects ascertained that there’s a lingua franca for emitting metrics in cloud native applications and beyond. Bridging the gaps in technology even further, OpenMetrics also built a bridge into IETF, bringing cloud native technologies into the foundations of the Internet.”

“OpenMetrics was spun out of Prometheus to provide a specification and de-facto standard format for metrics,” said Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of CNCF. “Given the widespread adoption of Prometheus and growth of the OpenMetrics community, it has already made huge strides in improving interoperability in cloud native observability. We look forward to seeing further collaboration across CNCF projects such as Prometheus and OpenMetrics to improve observability technology for end users and enabling collaboration across vendors.”
As a CNCF-hosted project, OpenMetrics is part of a neutral foundation aligned with its technical interests and the larger Linux Foundation, which provides governance, marketing support, and community outreach. OpenMetrics joins incubating technologies Argo, Buildpacks, Cilium, CloudEvents, CNI, Contour, Cortex, CRI-O, Crossplane, Dapr, Dragonfly, emissary-ingress, Falco, Flagger, Flux, gRPC, KEDA, KubeEdge, LitmusChaos, Longhorn, NATS, Notary, OpenTelemetry, Operator Framework, SPIFFE, SPIRE, and Thanos. For more information on maturity requirements for each level, please visit the CNCF Graduation Criteria.