Clients expect prompt implementation of changes to their software, and this requirement motivates site reliability engineers to incorporate reliability into applications. The healthy practice of observability and monitoring can improve the reliability and security of software systems.
Monitoring is the recording and interpreting data from software systems to keep track of their performance. In contrast, observability is the collection of metrics from software systems to understand the system’s workflow better.
Feedback from automated monitoring systems is closely reviewed and illustrated to allow development teams to understand the root cause of system failures, lowering the likelihood of such failures. On the other hand, observability employs system outputs to provide development teams with a clear picture of the internal status of systems, highlighting specific failure locations.
Monitoring aids development teams in determining whether or not an issue exists. On the other hand, observability goes a step further by revealing the source of software system problems to development teams.
SREs can use monitoring tools to improve their security practices throughout the software development lifecycle. Based on the measurement and visibility of monitoring tools on software systems, SREs can do threat assessment, root cause analysis, incident response, and computer and database forensics.
Observability tells you precisely what’s wrong with a system. Development teams can take advantage of observability’s insights by obtaining the information they need about essential processes, retaining it, and repairing system failures.
For the most part, monitoring provides only high-level information regarding the existence of a problem, reducing how much time is spent manually looking for errors. Monitoring looks at the entire application stack and acts as though a user engages with your app, website, or API.
Monitoring identifies and corrects performance variances before an actual user encounters them. Observability lends credibility to monitoring, which is essential when working with serverless systems.
What is observability in DevOps?
Observability is defined by deducing the internal state of software solutions from the knowledge of its exterior outputs. Observability is a technical solution that assists development teams in determining what operations are taking place in an application by examining its output.
Observability also allows SREs to see which processes have failed. Knowing if new changes may disrupt the program is critical because software development relies primarily on regular deployment.
SREs, use observability results to plan for and address risks before the risks become a problem. Teams interact using pipeline observations, swiftly discovering and addressing code faults.
Observation provides enhanced system performance and health visibility and deep dive into system logs when carried out properly. Observability should be a company-wide knowledge and carried out with the proper tools as this will hasten the rate of debugging.
Teams should endeavor to measure accurate data to prevent false warnings from observability tools.
What are the three pillars of observability?
Logs, metrics, and traces are observability pillars, allowing teams to understand systems’ internal state across multi-cloud settings.
A log is a time-stamped record of an event on your system at a particular time. To spot anomalies in a system, development teams analyze log data.
Metrics are data taken over time that enable development teams to assess the state of a system and identify and eliminate bottlenecks.
A trace helps development teams identify the relationship between a problem’s origin and effect. Based on the request made in the system, development teams gain a high-level perspective of the system.
Is observability the same as monitoring?
The most misunderstood but critical DevOps concepts are observability and monitoring, and they are not the same thing, despite being commonly referenced in the same context. Observability is more intense than monitoring because it gives SREs an insight into the general state of a complex system that changes regularly.
In contrast, monitoring provides answers to known system issues. Monitoring and observability tools help SREs ensure that while their system’s complexity increases, their systems maintain a state of operational stability that does not negatively impact customers’ experience.
Observability and monitoring are critical tools for SREs to achieve uptime and performance objectives.
What is monitoring?
Throughout the software development lifecycle, monitoring provides feedback to SREs on an application’s performance and usage patterns. Monitoring alerts development teams to areas that may require further automation and also keeps track of the frequent deployments made to our software systems.
Monitoring encourages development teams to use third-party solutions, which offer advanced capabilities, including integration with alerting systems, wide deployment, and ticketing systems. So the monitoring system should support both the latest DevOps tools and older tools.
Because of business metrics used to establish a pipeline for delivering new features and constant learning and feedback, monitoring systems guarantee that developers, stakeholders, and product managers communicate effectively. Monitoring systems should be able to get data directly from software systems.
Modern monitoring systems should have real-time streaming data, historical replay, and excellent visualization capabilities. Monitoring helps development teams experience fewer incident events and quality issues, resulting in better products and satisfied consumers.
How to Measure Observability and Monitoring
By gathering metrics from observability and monitoring tools, development teams can track the effects of observing and monitoring their systems. It is critical to quantify the impact of observability and monitoring to guarantee that systems are reliable.
Below are some of the metrics SREs can track to measure the impact of observability and monitoring:
- Frequency of incidents: Because of monitoring and observability tools, SREs foresee fewer severe occurrences.
- The number of support tickets: When customers have problems using your services, they submit a ticket.
- Mean-time-to-remediate (MTTR): is a metric that evaluates how long it takes to address a reliability issue.
Why SREs Should Understand Observability & Monitoring
SREs benefit most from observability and monitoring as they are at the forefront of maximizing the reliability and performance of systems. To achieve this, SREs must leverage monitoring and observability to discover problems and understand their causes.
With each deployment, software solutions get increasingly complicated, making it difficult to pinpoint the core cause of a reliability issue. But with observability, SREs can prevent reliability and performance bugs from being deployed to production.
By understanding monitoring and observability, SREs can mitigate critical events that impact system performance by setting up alerts and creating organization-wide usable information about the status of systems.
Monitoring and observability tools
Monitoring tools give SREs a clear view of the system’s performance and usage patterns. They include:
- Nagios: it monitors all mission-critical infrastructure components.
- Prometheus: an open-source monitoring tool.
- Kibana: open-source analytics and visualization tool that interacts with Elasticsearch.
Observability tools use the information gathered from monitoring tools to identify patterns that can cause problems for systems. You might consider using:
- Netreo: its telemetry data capabilities give you access to the information you need to keep track of your system’s performance.