With the rise of DevOps, businesses are better capable of not only scaling apps to meet critical demand but keeping track of those applications to ensure they are available and configured to continue running efficiently.
DevOps is the marriage of development and operations that makes it possible for businesses to reach an agile state of functionality. By being agile, a company is better capable of shifting quickly according to trends or other needs in the market. Being agile means your company can compete in an ever-growing world of high demand and fast pace development.
Along with DevOps comes another technological movement called observability and monitoring. On the surface, this term is exactly what you think it is—the ability to observe what’s going on with your applications. But dive below the surface and you’ll find it to be a bit more challenging than that.
So, how does observability fit into DevOps? Within the realm of technology, DevOps observability refers to a solution that makes it possible for DevOps teams to debug systems in real time based on patterns that have not been defined prior to the deployment of a solution.
Observability makes it possible to
- Report on the overall health of a system.
- Report on a system state.
- Monitor for key metrics.
- Debug production systems.
- Track down previously unknown information about a system.
- View the side effects of upgrades and other changes to a system.
- Trace, understand, and diagnose problems between systems and services.
- Stay ahead of outages and degradation.
- Better manage capacity planning.
If your company wants to gain serious insights into your DevOps projects, observability is a must.
Implementing Monitoring and Observability
To implement monitoring and observability to serve DevOps, you cannot simply rely on a single employee to keep track of your systems. This is much bigger than that. To gain true observability, entire teams must be empowered to monitor and observe those software stacks and services.
There are several steps you must take to successfully implement monitoring and observability:
- Determine the strategy that best suits your business and your systems.
- Decide on what metrics are important for your business.
- Keep a constant watch on event logs for your systems.
- Implement tools to start, stop, and reset logging systems.
- Keep track of all calls that are made to and from a system.
- Build data visualizations to more easily view trends.
- Choose (or build) the right observability platform.
- Work with artificial intelligence and automation for better monitoring and faster responses to problems.
A number of tools are available to add observability to your DevOps systems. Here are a few examples:
- ContainIQ — designed specifically for monitoring and observing Kubernetes deployments.
- AppDynamics — a complete set of tools for gaining insight into applications and infrastructure.
- Datadog — an observability platform that focuses primarily on collaboration and connectivity.
- Dynatrace — focuses on end-user experience monitoring, user-defined transaction profiling, and component deep-dive monitoring.
- Honeycomb — provides insights into application performance.
- Lightstep — observes and monitors cloud-native applications.
- LogicMonitor — offers SaaS observability.
- New Relic — observes and debugs entire application stacks.
- Splunk — observes cloud infrastructure.
- Sumo Logic — a log management tool.
Exactly what your company needs to observe will define the tools you use. Changes are pretty good; however, you’ll need to use a collection of such tools, especially if your systems depend on multiple types of infrastructure and are complicated full-stack deployments.
For example, if you’re working with Kubernetes but also need to observe the infrastructure used to deploy containerized applications and services, you might go with ContainIQ and AppDynamics.
Of course, some applications do have specific observation tools. For example, Kubesphere provides rich observability from infrastructure to applications and can be installed directly with Kubernetes or on your own Linux servers.
Benefits of Observability
The benefits of observability go well beyond just keeping tabs on your software, systems, and infrastructure. Observability adds a level of confidence to your DevOps teams that they can quickly solve problems and keep systems running as efficiently as possible.
Observability empowers your development teams to deliver faster and more reliable products. The insights from teams closely monitoring what works and what doesn’t will go a long way in improving software development lifecycles.
Observability also makes it easier for your DevOps teams to be in line with your business objectives. This is partially due to the interaction between teams that now have enough information available to stay in sync with the goals of your company.
Observability not only keeps your company agile, but it also places innovation and digital transformation front and center.
Observability isn’t the easiest piece you’ll add to an already complicated puzzle, but the benefits you’ll gain are very much worth the time, effort, and cost you’ll put into adding it into your pipelines and systems.
Although observability isn’t absolutely crucial to staying in business, if you want to remain competitive, you owe it to yourself (and your company) to begin implementing it immediately.