A Beginner’s Guide to Observability


Published April 2021


Observability has been called everything from a trendy tech buzzword to a “monitoring-on-steroids” must-have. The truth is more involved — especially given the increased complexity of the modern infrastructure and the undisputed need for better monitoring higher in the stack, and deeper in the system.

Teams requiring operational visibility have expanded beyond sysadmins and IT Ops analysts — even developers are taking greater ownership of knowing what’s going on for a better customer experience. To effectively do this, all roles need visibility inside their entire architecture — from third-party apps and services to their own — to fix and eventually prevent problems. When that capability is built-in — the premise of observability — it not only makes visibility easier, enables greater insight and leaves more time for more strategic initiatives, but it’s also critical to the overall success of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE). This provides a bridge between developers releasing code and operators maintaining infrastructure impacted by code. On top of this, it shifts some of the monitoring workload onto development.

In this guide, we’ll define what observability is and what it takes to achieve it. We’ll also give some examples of observability in action and guidance for what to look for in a solution to help your organization achieve observability.

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