Fleet management in the broader sense is about managing, organizing, and coordinating assets within an organization to ensure efficiency, reduce costs, and maintain compliance. 

The term originates from the automotive industry. According to Forbes, Fleet management involves a slew of strategies and procedures required to operate a fleet of 5 or more vehicles punctually, cost-effectively, and at optimal efficiency. 

In OTel, fleet management is the process of managing a fleet of telemetry agents at scale using the Open Agent Management Protocol (OpAMP). 

In the second part of our OpenTelemetry Blog series, we’re going to talk about Fleet Management, what are “fleets”, clear the fog around Open Agent Management Protocol, and why you need to pay attention to this as an emerging trend.

What is Fleet Management?

What is Fleet Management?

Fleet management in OpenTelemetry refers to the processes and tools used to manage, monitor, and administer a large number of OTel agents or collectors deployed across several hosts in distributed systems.  

This concept is particularly important in environments where OTel is used at scale, as it helps ensure that all telemetry agents or collectors are functioning correctly, are up to date, and are properly configured.  
The following are some key aspects of fleet management within the context of OpenTelemetry: 

  1. Configuration Management: Fleet management tools allow administrators to push configuration changes to multiple OpenTelemetry agents or collectors at once. This ensures consistency across the fleet and reduces the manual effort required to update individual instances.
  2. Monitoring and Health Checks: Such tools monitor the health and performance of each OpenTelemetry agent or collector within the fleet. They can provide alerts if any agent goes down or behaves anomalously, ensuring quick resolution of issues that could impact data collection.
  3. Version Control and Updates: Managing the software version of OpenTelemetry agents or collectors across the fleet is crucial to maintain security and functionality. Fleet management enables centralized updating, which simplifies the process of rolling out new versions or patches.
  4. Performance Metrics and Logging: Fleet management systems often gather performance metrics and logs from each agent or collector, providing a fleshed-out view of the system’s telemetry health. This data is crucial for troubleshooting and optimizing performance.
  5. Security and Compliance: Ensuring that all telemetry agents comply with security policies and standards is another aspect of fleet management. Centralized management helps enforce security configurations and audit compliance across the environment.

What are Fleets in OTel?

We’ve been talking about Fleet Management all along but what exactly are “Fleets”?  
In the context of OpenTelemetry, “fleets” refer to large groups or collections of data collection agents or collectors that are deployed across various hosts and environments within an organization. These agents are responsible for gathering telemetry data, such as metrics, logs, and traces, from different parts of a distributed system to provide comprehensive observability. 

Managing these fleets involves several key tasks, including: 

  1. Deployment: Ensuring that the agents are properly installed and configured across all relevant systems.
  2. Configuration Management: Pushing configuration updates to all agents in a consistent and automated manner.
  3. Monitoring and Health Checks: Continuously check the status and performance of each agent to ensure they are functioning correctly.
  4. Updating and Upgrading: Rolling out software updates and patches to all agents to keep them up to date with the latest features and security improvements.
  5. Security Management: Ensuring that the agents are securely managed, including handling connection credentials and enabling secure communication.

Additionally, The Open Agent Management Protocol (OpAMP) is designed to facilitate the management of these fleets. OpAMP provides a standardized way to remotely manage large numbers of OpenTelemetry agents by defining protocols for: 

– Remote configuration of agents

– Status reporting

– Monitoring agent-specific telemetry

– Deploying updates and upgrades

– Managing security aspects like connection credentials and secure auto-update capabilities

Let’s explore OpAmp in detail now.

What is OpAmp?

The Open Agent Management Protocol (OpAMP), a part of the Open Telemetry project, is a network protocol designed for the remote management of large fleets of data collection agents.   

OpAMP was initially developed with the management of large fleets in mind, highlighting its capacity to handle extensive networks from the outset. It is still under development, but with growing industry support.  

As a protocol definition, OpAMP is not just another component of Open Telemetry, but a robust framework intended for broad application. It’s crafted as a generic solution, suitable for managing any agent, whether proprietary or open source. The protocol is implemented in Go, among other applications, emphasizing its versatility and wide applicability beyond just managing Open Telemetry collectors.  

OpAMP includes everything necessary to manage the lifecycle of agents efficiently. This comprehensive management covers remote configuration of agents, status reporting, and agent-specific telemetry which provides insights into the internal workings of each agent.  

Furthermore, it facilitates agent upgrades by allowing for package deployments, and it incorporates significant security measures such as connection credential management and secure auto-update capabilities.  

These features make OpAMP a critical tool for organizations seeking efficient, scalable solutions to manage their data collection networks, ensuring that it meets the needs of even the largest organizations.

Why is Fleet Management Required

Why Fleet Management

As the scale of the distributed environments grows in size and complexity, there emerges a problem – managing large-scale deployments of telemetry agents or collectors across diverse and distributed systems.

Enter Fleet Management, designed to tackle the administration, maintenance, and operation of telemetry agents in large-scale and complex environments efficiently.

The key Benefits of Fleet Management in OpenTelemetry (OTel) include:

  • Scalability: Simplifies the management of a growing number of services and systems, enabling efficient scalability without added administrative burden.
  • Consistency: Centralizes configuration management to ensure all telemetry agents are consistently configured, enhancing reliability and observability.
  • Efficiency in Updates and Upgrades: Automates updates and upgrades, reducing manual efforts and error-prone processes while ensuring agents remain updated with the latest features and security measures.
  • Monitoring and Health Maintenance: Offers tools for ongoing monitoring and automated health checks, aiding in the swift identification and resolution of potential issues to maintain optimal data quality and service availability.
  • Compliance and Security: Assists in maintaining and auditing compliance with security standards and policies across multiple agents, ensuring robust security across the fleet.

Why you need to pay attention to the Fleet Management Trend

Fleet management in the bigger picture has picked up a lot of steam, so much so that it is now a fast-growing trend in a range of enterprises. When it comes to software, OpenTelemetry precisely, it is recent conception.

Currently, Fleet management adoption is picking up pace in OpenTelemetry and beyond. Its ability to provide scalable, centralized, and secure management of telemetry agents makes it a critical component of modern IT infrastructure.

Lo and behold, enterprises adopting robust fleet management practices are better positioned to maintain efficient, reliable, and secure operations, ultimately driving better business outcomes.

Therefore, paying attention to the fleet management trend is not just about keeping up with the latest tech; it’s about leveraging the advancements to enhance your organization’s capabilities and stay competitive in a swiftly evolving digital arena.


  • Fleet Management in OpenTelemetry: Manages, monitors, and administers many OTel agents across distributed systems, ensuring they function correctly and stay updated.
  • What are Fleets in OTel?: “Fleets” are large groups of data collection agents that gather metrics, logs, and traces for comprehensive observability in distributed systems.
  • What is OpAmp?: OpAMP is a network protocol in OpenTelemetry for remotely managing large fleets of data collection agents.
  • Why is Fleet Management Required: Manages large-scale deployments of telemetry agents in growing and complex distributed environments efficiently.
  • Key Benefits of Fleet Management in OpenTelemetry:

    – Scalability: Simplifies managing increasing services and systems.
    – Consistency: Centralizes configuration for reliable telemetry agent setup.
    – Efficiency in Updates and Upgrades: Automates updates, reducing manual effort.
    – Monitoring and Health Maintenance: Provides ongoing monitoring for swift issue resolution.
    – Compliance and Security: Ensures compliance with security standards across multiple agents.
  • Why You Need to Pay Attention to the Fleet Management Trend: Staying current with fleet management trends enhances organizational capabilities and maintains competitiveness in a fast-evolving digital landscape.