The OpenTelemetry project consists of both a specification for the API, SDK, protocol and semantic conventions, as well as an implementation of each for a number of languages. The default SDK implementation is highly configurable and extendable, for example through Span Processors, to allow for additional logic needed by particular vendors to be added without having to implement a custom SDK. By not requiring a custom SDK means for most languages a user will already find an implementation to use and if not they’ll have a well documented specification to follow for implementing in a new language.

The goal is for users to be able to easily switch between vendors while also ensuring that any language with an OpenTelemetry SDK implementation is able to work with any vendor who claims support for OpenTelemetry.

This document will explain what is required of a vendor to be considered to “Support OpenTelemetry” or “Implements OpenTelemetry”.

Supports OpenTelemetry

“Supports OpenTelemetry” means the vendor must accept the output of the default SDK through one of two mechanisms:

Implements OpenTelemetry

A vendor with a custom SDK implementation will be listed as “Implements OpenTelemetry”. If the custom SDK is optional then the vendor can be listed as “Supports OpenTelemetry”.


A vendor can qualify their support for OpenTelemetry with the type of telemetry they support. For example, a vendor that accepts the OpenTelemetry protocol exports for metrics only will be listed as “Supports OpenTelemetry Metrics” or one that implements a custom SDK only for tracing will be listed as “Implements OpenTelemetry Tracing”.