Modern Information Technology (IT) firms use a popular saying: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. This saying indicates that companies must continually measure their operational performance in order to identify and remedy potential issues. This can apply to a wide range of business processes and infrastructures, including for example application development and deployment infrastructures. By measuring the right operational metrics and sources of data, modern enterprises can derive insights about their infrastructures and their services. The above listed metrics include for example metrics of computational resources, networking infrastructure metrics, as well as business operations metrics. When properly analyzed, these metrics can enable the so-called observability intelligence.
Nowadays, observability intelligence can greatly benefit from technological advances in data analytics, machine learning and business intelligence (BI). These technologies facilitate the collection and analysis of structured and unstructured data at scale. Moreover, they also help bringing value from these data beyond simple data collection and analytics. For instance, they can suggest how companies can optimize the use of their development infrastructure and of their business operations.
Observability is directly linked to enterprise resilience, as well as to the availability of enterprise infrastructures. In a time where the demand for applications that feature fault tolerance, resiliency and rapid availability is increasing, it is imperative for enterprises to practice observability. Observability provides information about the development and functioning of systems and processes execution. When it comes to software development and deployment, observability can be considered as a key component of DevOps (Development and Operations). It allows organizations to gain insight into their applications, systems, and servers. In some cases, it also provides insights into business users, customers, and processes. Through the extraction of such insights, observability enables businesses to make smart decisions about how to improve their services, products, and internal operations.
In practice, observability systems collect data and insights from various tools to improve the overall performance and reliability of some software system. Specifically, it collects, analyzes, and interprets data from various sources within the systems (e.g., logs, metrics, traces), towards gaining a comprehensive understanding of the systems’ behavior. One of the main goals of applied observability is to help teams troubleshoot problems and make data-driven decisions that improve the overall health and performance of their business and software systems.
Observability intelligence is the ability to derive insights from the large amount of data. Big data helps enterprises in explaining and eventually predicting phenomena associated with their products and services. In this direction, analytics tools provide a single, high-level view of all data that helps enterprises to identify any deviations from normal patterns. There are various types of analytics tools available (e.g., batch analytics, real-time analytics), which are designed to provide data observability at different processing speeds. Batch analytics process the data up to hours or days, whereas real-time analytics process the data instantly. Beyond these analytics tools, observability intelligence is empowered by various technologies, including:
Leveraging the above-listed technologies, enterprises strive to address and mitigate the following challenging parts of observability intelligence implementations:
Overall, when used correctly, observability intelligence can produce business insights that allow enterprises to improve their performance and stay ahead of the competition. It enables a totally new way of seeing things, one that gives companies an unprecedented view into how their applications behave in production. Leveraging this knowledge, companies can ensure high performance and business continuity in ways that set them apart from their competitors.
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