Why Observability Is an Important Consideration for Your IT Operations
Gartner defines observability as the ability to understand what is happening inside a system based on the external data released by that system. Observability requires that actionable data from multiple sources be appropriately connected, optimized and enhanced for context.
Observability relies on the exploitation of data in a carefully orchestrated and integrated approach across business functions, applications, and Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) teams. It is used to glean insights that enable shorter decision-making times to effect remediation or provide corrective actions. This results in superior infrastructure performance and an overall improvement in end-user experience.
Monitoring vs Observability
Monitoring. Traditional network monitoring provides the ability to keep an eye on network activity and infrastructure assets. This is done via monitoring tools, logs, metrics and even proactive queries into particular components and processes. At the end of the day, monitoring provides a ton of data that emanates from the network. It provides visibility as an external view into the current state of the network.
Observability. Observability, on the other hand, is the ability to glean insights into the internal working of the network based on this data. For example, for a given service:
- How is it performing from an end-user standpoint?
- What particular segments of the delivery infrastructure getting stressed?
- Are there specific communities of users that are facing degraded service levels?
Observability provides the answers to such questions about a system using available data to derive real-time insights. It places greater emphasis on monitoring performance from an end-to-end perspective of a service, as opposed to monitoring the performance of individual infrastructure components that comprise the delivery chain.
Observability in Action
Let’s take for example a unified communications (UC) environment. UC solutions combine multiple enterprise communications channels, such as voice, video, personal and team messaging, voicemail, and content sharing. UC is integrated with networks and systems, IT business applications and, in some cases, consumer applications and devices.
All of this leads to a complex deployment environment, often with assets located in both in-house and off-premise locations. Some functions are hosted in the cloud, or in some cases multiple clouds.
Monitoring provides a level of visibility into all these supporting components. But does it truly give you an understanding of the user level experience from an end-to-end perspective?
Observability aspires to provide this level of detail. Observability makes it possible to go beyond monitoring to understand the true nature of the user experience in real-time. Look for tools that provide observability in a holistic fashion that transcends the layers of infrastructure monitoring.
Monitoring may be able to alert about a potential issue, but it is observability that helps detect and solve the root cause of the issue.
The key difference here is that observability is based on data that is coming in right now – It is evidence-based and not a predictive recommendation. It facilitates rapid decision making and enables IT organizations to achieve near real-time response levels.
Observability improves network uptime by delivering faster resolution times, increasing overall end-user satisfaction. By applying observability systematically, organizations can increase their speed of response and optimize business operations in real time.
Observability is no passing trend. Gartner expects that by 2026, 70% of organizations successfully applying observability will achieve shorter latency for decision making, enabling competitive advantage for target business or IT processes. Make sure your MNS provider has current observability tools.