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Googlers on the road: FOSDEM 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Google Open Source team is currently enjoying summer weather in Sydney at Linux.conf.au, but soon we return to winter weather and head to Brussels for FOSDEM 2018. FOSDEM is a special event, famous for being non-commercial, volunteer-organized, and free to attend. It’s also huge, attracting more than 5,000 attendees.

FOSDEM logo licensed CC BY 2.0 SE.
This year FOSDEM is particularly special as it falls on top of the 20th anniversary of the open source movement and its steward, the Open Source Initiative. (In case you’re wondering, this September will mark the 35th anniversary of the free software movement.) We’re looking forward to celebrating the occasion!

You’ll find us in the hallways, at satellite events, and at our table in the stands area. You’ll also find some Googlers in the conference schedule, as well as folks sharing their experience of the most recent Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in.

If you’d like to say hello or chat, swing by our table in Building K. The highlight of our trip is meeting hundreds of the thousands of students and mentors who have participated in our programs!

Below are the Googlers who will be giving presentations:

Saturday, February 3rd
12:30pm  Google’s approach to distributed systems observability for Go by JBD (also at 2:30pm)
3:05pm   Testing and Validating distributed systems by Holden Karau

Sunday, February 4th
10:20am  Regular Expression Derivatives in Python by Michael Paddon
11:30am   Advocating For FOSS Inside Companies a panel including Max Sills
3:00pm    Your Build in a Datacenter by Jakob Buchgraber
4:00pm    Accelerating Big Data Outside of the JVM by Holden Karau

Hope to see you there!

By Josh Simmons, Google Open Source

Wrapping up Google Code-in 2017

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Today marks the conclusion of the 8th annual Google Code-in (GCI), our contest that teaches teenage students through contributions to open source projects. As with most years, the contest evolved a bit and grew. And it grew. And it doubled. And then it grew some more...
These numbers may increase as mentors finish reviewing the final work submitted by students.
Mentors from each of the 25 open source organizations are now busy reviewing the last of the work submitted by student participants. We’re looking forward to sharing the stats.

Each organization will pick two Grand Prize Winners who will be flown to Northern California to visit Google’s headquarters, enjoy a day of adventure in San Francisco, and meet their mentors and Google engineers.

We’d like to congratulate all of the student participants for challenging themselves and making a contribution to open source in the process! We’d also like to congratulate the mentors for surviving the unusually busy contest.

Further, we’d like to thank the mentors and the organization administrators. They are the heart of this program, volunteering countless hours creating tasks, reviewing student work, and helping students into the world of open source. Mentors teach young students about the many facets of open source development, from community standards and communicating across time zones to version control and testing. We couldn’t run this program without you!

Stay tuned, we’ll be announcing the Grand Prize Winners and Finalists on January 31st.

By Josh Simmons, Google Open Source

OpenCensus: A Stats Collection and Distributed Tracing Framework

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Today we’re pleased to announce the release of OpenCensus, a vendor-neutral open source library for metric collection and tracing. OpenCensus is built to add minimal overhead and be deployed fleet wide, especially for microservice-based architectures.

The Need for Instrumentation & Observability 

As a startup, often the focus is to get an initial version of the product out the door, rapidly prototype and iterate with customers. Most startups start out with monolithic applications as a simple model-view-controller (MVC) web application. As the customer base, code, and number of engineers increase, they migrate from monolithic architecture to a microservices architecture. A microservices architecture has its advantages, but often makes debugging more challenging as traditional debugging and monitoring tools don’t always work in these environments or are designed for monolithic use cases. When operating multiple microservices with strict service level objectives (SLOs), you need insights into the root cause of reliability and performance problems.

Not having proper instrumentation and observability can result in lost engineering hours, violated SLOs and frustrated customers. Instead, diagnostic data should be collected from across the stack. This data can be used for incident management to identify and debug potential bottlenecks or for system tuning and performance improvement.

OpenCensus

At Google scale, an instrumentation layer with minimal overhead is a requirement. As Google grew, we realized the importance of having a highly efficient tracing and stats instrumentation library that could be deployed fleet wide.

OpenCensus is the open source version of Google’s Census library, written based on years of optimization experience. It aims to make the collection and submission of app metrics and traces easier for developers. It is a vendor neutral, single distribution of libraries that automatically collects traces and metrics from your app, displays them locally, and sends them to analysis tools. OpenCensus currently supports Prometheus, SignalFx, Stackdriver and Zipkin.

Developers can use this powerful, out-of-the box library to instrument microservices and send data to any supported backend. For an Application Performance Management (APM) vendor, OpenCensus provides free instrumentation coverage with minimal work, and affords customers a simple setup experience.

Below are Stackdriver Trace and Monitor screenshots showing traces generated from a demo app, which calls Google’s Cloud Bigtable API and uses OpenCensus.



We’d love to hear your feedback on OpenCensus. Try using it in your app, tell us about your success story, and help by contributing to our existing language-specific libraries, or by creating one for an not-yet-supported language. You can also help us integrate OpenCensus with new APM tools!

We hope you find this as useful as we have. Visit opencensus.io for more information.

By Pritam Shah, Census team
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