Is A Full-Stack Observability Solution In Your Future?
Posted December 1, 2022 by Sayers
Author: Mark McCully
Mark is an industry-certified Senior Solutions Architect at Sayers with more than 20 years of experience designing enterprise-class, hybrid-cloud infrastructure with a focus on automation, observability, performance, security, and stability.
Organizations continue to modernize their networks and data centers to support business and user requirements. Elements of that modernization, such as more complicated cloud-native applications and containers, make monitoring infrastructure and applications performance a greater challenge and necessity.
According to the 2022 New Relic Observability Report, only 27% of organizations had achieved full-stack observability of their technology stack, and 82% of companies are using at least four different tools to monitor the health of their systems.
As more vendors move into the crowded market for monitoring and observability platforms, organizations benefit from a wider and more intelligent range of options in the pursuit of end-to-end full-stack visibility.
What Is Observability?
Observability is one of those industry buzzwords that can have different meanings, but for this conversation we’re talking about the next generation of network monitoring tools at the application and infrastructure layer.
Legacy monitoring tools historically have been reactive, situational, and speculative in their focus on the what and when of network issues, such as alerting about an application that’s running slow for an extended period of time. In contrast, new observability tools are proactive, predictive, and data-driven. They focus not only on the what and when but also the why and how of incidents.
As companies move into more complicated cloud-native applications, containers, and other aspects of data center modernization, managing with legacy monitoring tools becomes more difficult.
Observability platforms bring more intelligence as they aim to get full-stack, end-to-end visibility across not only the application layer, but also the database, infrastructure, and network layer as well. Observability attempts to consolidate the capabilities of multiple legacy monitoring tools into one platform that can do it all, while adding AI and machine learning components to be more proactive and intelligent.
What Are The Business Drivers For Observability?
According to the 2022 New Relic survey, most organizations currently don’t monitor their full tech stacks, and a third of them still rely on manual issue detection or user complaints (the “hey, my application isn’t working” method).
Companies are looking to go beyond monitoring to adopt an observability approach for four main reasons:
- Improve uptime and reliability. Dealing with multiple critical incident calls per week, sometimes in the middle of the night, is a huge driver to improve reliability. When critical incidents do occur, organizations want to reduce their mean time to recovery and quickly meet service-level objectives after a disruption.
- Proactively detect issues. Whether it’s a network, application, or server issue, many organizations want to improve reliability by rooting out the main causes of critical incidents and correct them. Being more proactive in detecting issues can lead to improved customer satisfaction and a better bottom line.
- Consolidate tools. Having various teams own different tools for infrastructure management, network and application performance, and other monitoring purposes tends to complicate operations and leads to longer incident triage calls. Instead of each team focusing on their own niche tool, consolidating tools into a single source of truth helps improve incident detection and uptime.
- Achieve end-to-end-visibility. The single pane of glass aspect of observability enables teams to analyze alerts from a main dashboard to see what servers or containers were involved, for example, and continue to drill down into the tech stack to identify the root cause of the issue.
According to the New Relic survey:
72% of executives expect to increase or maintain their observability budgets next year, and 78% see observability as a key enabler for achieving core business goals.
If you’re wondering if you need to increase your organization’s focus on observability, asking yourself questions like these can be helpful:
- What monitoring tools are you currently using in your environment?
- Do you have monitoring and alerting gaps in your environment? What isn’t getting covered with current tools?
- Are you looking to consolidate application performance monitoring (APM), network performance monitoring (NPM), and cloud monitoring tools onto one platform?
- How many critical incidents do you have per week?
- Are you looking to improve your mean time to recovery and/or service level objectives?
Who Are The Top Vendors?
Gartner has released their 2022 Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring and Observability tools, adding the term “observability” to the report for the first time.
Leaders in the Magic Quadrant are Datadog, Dynatrace, and New Relic. Challengers include Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, who as cloud providers have a mixture of tools to monitor the cloud that can lead to an observability platform.
Sayers currently has partnerships with several observability platform vendors including Microsoft, Splunk, Riverbed, Sumo Logic, and SolarWinds (all in the 2022 Magic Quadrant), as well as LogicMonitor.
Questions? Contact us at Sayers today. We offer extensive solutions to cover all areas of your business.