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What Is a Telemetry Pipeline?

Learning Objectives

Understand what a telemetry pipeline is, how it works, who it benefits, when to use one, and why you'd want to use one.

The modern business landscape is ripe with vast and rapidly expanding data. 

Digital businesses have a vast array of applications that comprise the backbone of their services. These applications are spread across clouds, networks and data centers on a global scale. To be manageable, these applications and the infrastructure that supports them produce a variety of “telemetry” data. The word telemetry, derived from the French word “télémètre,” is made up of “télé” (meaning far) and “mètre" (meaning a device for measuring). In the context of application observability, telemetry data refers to logs, events, metrics and distributed traces.

For most organizations, understanding this vast quantity of telemetry data and putting it to use is a huge challenge. The reasons behind these struggles stem from the sheer magnitude of the data, its distributed nature, inappropriate storage locations, incorrect formatting, or the increasing cost of moving and storing data. In many instances, valuable data can remain untapped, leading to organizations lacking timely and actionable insights to inform decision-making. 

Tip: Between March and April 2023, Gatepoint Research invited selected executives to participate in a survey themed Telemetry Data Strategies, where the results showed that some of the top challenges among organizations are an excess of data and tools that don’t interoperate. What are organizations doing to cost-effectively and efficiently use their telemetry data and leverage the maximum value from it? Download the full report here to find out

The need for operational data analysis and practical decision-making tools has never been greater, leaving many organizations asking and looking for a solution to the big question:  

How can organizations effectively understand, manage, process, and derive insights from the massive amounts of telemetry data they generate daily?

Enter telemetry pipelines – the answer to the modern data conundrum.

The Basics of a Telemetry Pipeline 

A telemetry pipeline is a tool that helps manage the collection, enrichment, transformation, and routing of telemetry data from source to destination. It involves the collection of telemetry data  from  applications, servers, databases, devices, or industrial sensors. The pipeline processes this raw data by refining it into a usable format and routing it to analytics or observability platforms where it is used for troubleshooting, security operations, optimizing digital experiences or many other observability use cases..

You can use telemetry pipelines on a self-managed, SaaS-managed, or hybrid basis, with telemetry pipelines also able to serve as standalone products or as part of a vendor’s collection of monitoring solutions. 

Think of a telemetry pipeline’s core functions as:

  • Guiding data from source to destination
  • Refining it for analysis
  • Enabling data-driven decisions

How Does A Telemetry Pipeline Work With Data?

A telemetry pipeline operates through three fundamental stages: data collection, processing, and routing. Each stage involves various core components. 

Data Collection

In the first stage, the telemetry pipeline captures data from various sources, facilitated by data collection agents. These agents extract data from sources such as servers, databases, applications, devices, or sensors. 

Example: A tech company may collect server logs to monitor system performance, user behavior data to understand how customers interact with their platform, application metrics to track app usage, and sensor readings from IoT devices for environmental monitoring.

Data Processing

Once collected, the data undergoes data ingestion, where the pipeline validates and prepares ite for further processing. The data processing stage generally involves operations like data cleansing to remove anomalies or errors, such as duplicated entries or missing values. Additionally, the telemetry pipeline may aggregate the data to simplify complex datasets. The processed data is then transformed into a format suitable for analysis, refining it for further insights and decision-making.

Example: You can aggregate user behavior data to present overall trends rather than individual actions. Then, the pipeline transforms the data into a format more conducive to analysis. A good example would be turning raw weblogs into structured data with columns for user ID, action taken, and timestamp.

Data Routing

The final stage involves routing the processed data to its intended destination for later retrieval and use. The data could go to various destinations depending on its volume and the type of analysis needed. 

Example: A tech company might route its processed data to a cloud storage service like Amazon S3 for long-term storage, a monitoring and analytics platform like Datadog for real-time analysis and visualization, or even Mezmo Log Analysis for detailed examination of log data.

Staying true to their function as a 'data superhighway,' telemetry pipelines ensure that your data travels efficiently and effectively from its origin to its final destination, ready for use. 

Where Are Telemetry Pipelines Used?

Telemetry pipelines are widely used across various industries, most notably the ones that generate significant amounts of data. These include technology and software companies, telecommunications, retail businesses, financial institutions, healthcare providers, and manufacturing firms. 

Here's how some industries use telemetry pipelines:

  • Software/Tech Companies: These organizations use telemetry pipelines to monitor system performance, user behavior data to understand how customers interact with their platforms, and application metrics to track app usage. Additionally, they use them to collect error logs and other operational data, helping them proactively manage system health and improve their offerings.
  • Telecommunications: Telecom companies leverage telemetry pipelines for network monitoring and performance optimization, troubleshooting, and predictive maintenance. These organizations ensure optimal service delivery by maintaining network performance and protecting distributed network infrastructure from DDoS attacks.
  • Retail Businesses: In the retail sector, telemetry pipelines help analyze sales data, customer behavior, and inventory management. This data supports everything from strategic decision-making to operational efficiency, personalized marketing, and enhancing customer experience.
  • Financial Institutions: These institutions use telemetry pipelines to process high volumes of transaction data, monitor market trends, and ensure regulatory compliance. Real-time insights can assist in risk management, fraud detection, and strategic decision-making.
  • Healthcare Providers: In healthcare, telemetry pipelines help manage patient data, monitor medical equipment, and support research. Doing so assists in improving patient care, streamlining operations, and advancing medical knowledge.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturers use telemetry pipelines to monitor equipment performance, analyze production data, and conduct predictive maintenance. The real-time insights enable them to optimize operational efficiency, improve product quality, and minimize downtime.

Ultimately, within each of these sectors, telemetry pipelines are a powerful means of transforming vast amounts of data into actionable insights, driving efficiency and strategic decision-making.

Who Uses Telemetry Data And Can Benefit From A Pipeline?

Any organization that generates large amounts of data and needs real-time, actionable insights can benefit from a telemetry pipeline. Large corporations, smaller businesses, and startups that leverage their data to make informed decisions can find value in implementing a telemetry pipeline.

Simply put, if you're facing any of these challenges, a telemetry pipeline would prove beneficial to you:

  • You're Overwhelmed by Data Volume: If the amount of data your organization generates has become too vast for traditional data management tools to handle efficiently, a telemetry pipeline can seamlessly route this data from its source to where it can be processed and stored, regardless of its volume.
  • You're Dealing with Data Format Issues: If your data comes in various complicated formats to consolidate or analyze, a telemetry pipeline can transform this raw data into a standardized, more usable form, facilitating further analysis.
  • You're Facing Data Accessibility Challenges: If your data spans multiple sources or locations, or you regularly deal with data silos that hinder collaboration, a telemetry pipeline can efficiently route all this data from its various origins to a destination where it can be easily accessed and analyzed.
  • You Require Real-Time Data Processing: When your operation demands real-time data processing and analysis for immediate insights and responsive decision-making, a telemetry pipeline is your solution.

Using a telemetry pipeline to address these challenges enables you and your organization to effectively manage your data and its budget while leveraging both for strategic and data-driven decision-making.

Why Opt for a Telemetry Pipeline? 

Implementing a telemetry pipeline has several benefits:

  • Efficiency: They automate the process of data collection, processing, and storage, reducing the time and resources required for these tasks.
  • Real-time insights allow real-time data analysis, enabling immediate insights and responsive decision-making.
  • Scalability: They handle increasing volumes of data, making them a scalable solution that grows with your organization.
  • Data Integration: Combining data from disparate sources provides a more comprehensive view of your data landscape and breaks down data silos.
  • Cost Optimization: Telemetry pipelines help optimize data-related expenses and stay within budget constraints by reducing storage requirements, optimizing data processing, and improving resource utilization. 

These benefits make telemetry pipelines an indispensable tool for organizations seeking to unlock the full potential of their data. 

Telemetry Pipelines: Regaining Control of Operational Intelligence 

Navigating the vast sea of telemetry data is a considerable feat. This challenge is where telemetry pipelines come into play, transforming complexity into clarity and helping organizations of all sizes and industries route and turn their data into strategic assets.

While setting up a telemetry pipeline might initially seem daunting, the benefits of data efficiency and decision-making power are well worth the effort. Thankfully, with user-friendly solutions like Mezmo Telemetry Pipeline available, embarking on this journey has never been easier.

If you're ready to upgrade your operational data management practices, it's the perfect time to explore the world of telemetry pipelines. Start by trying one and seeing if it's right for your organization! There's a wealth of resources to help guide you - and your data might be a pipeline away from revealing invaluable insights.

It’s time to let data charge