Ever aware, SIRE understands customers rely on being able to extract value from their data easily and cost-effectively.
However, the complexity of infrastructures remains the ever-growing problem for IT professionals. Specifically, application environments and highly distributed cloud-based infrastructures that use microservices, containers and orchestration tools. Without the tools to address observability, your IT systems and operations can be quite opaque – and eventually this will impact customer experience and your bottom line.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” – Peter Drucker
Where does the term observability originate?
Observability is big in engineering – primarily as a method of troubleshooting the automated control of dynamic systems. At its simplest, it’s a way of determining the status of a complex system by understanding the entirety of its outputs and inputs.
SIRE has reframed this concept using our Pulse360 Performance and Pulse360 Secure suites. In the digital age, the observability equation is simple: the greater the observability, the easier you can diagnose issues, uncover their root causes and resolve problems. And if you do all this further upstream, observability can mitigate issues before there’s a negative impact on customers or the business.
What does observability look like?
Observability sounds straightforward on paper. Until you encounter the complex reality of today’s IT architectures. Often highly distributed, with practices that can be disparate across larger estates; there’s also a huge volume of data that’s rising exponentially and flowing through networks, applications and systems.
In terms of outcomes, observability is action focused. Meaning: it goes beyond simply gaining an understanding of the totality of system functions. Observations, and related data and insights, should provide a blueprint for mitigating issues and making proactive changes that evolve, innovate and transform IT operations.
So, what are we actually observing?
Where monitoring can help you manage, observability enables you to orchestrate. In other words, it looks at the big picture.
In practice, observability requires a complementary suite of software that detect issues by analysing inputs and outputs across a technology stack. Inputs include application, system architecture and infrastructure, while outputs include business transactions, user experiences and performance on running applications.
To a degree, this all relies on an IT infrastructure that’s observable. Which sounds obvious but requires the foresight to engineer observability into systems and applications therefore baselines can be determined well before issues develop. That’s necessary when you consider that observability tools collect and analyse data from anywhere and everywhere including application health and performance, operational and performance telemetry, along with business metrics such as sales conversions and user-experience topography.
Why does observability matter?
First and foremost, it’s where the world’s going.
The demand for digital services has sky-rocketed since the global pandemic which vastly accelerated the whole process of digitisation. Whether it’s working from home, switching between services and providers, or migrating to the cloud – organisations have had to adapt at speed to a future that’s digital and data-driven.
Ironically, this same rapid rate of innovation and digital transformation has created a significant increase in IT complexity. As a result. observability is becoming an essential activity that keeps digital journeys on track, customers happy and business goals intact.
The number of applications that organisations now need to manage is at an all-time high and continuing to grow. Moreover, this volume of applications increasingly leverages components and services across on-premises, software as a service (SaaS), public clouds and third parties through APIs. As a result, IT teams must now manage traditional apps alongside their cloud-native cousins. This has resulted in distributed operating environments, which are by nature more complex than their more-centralised and single-location IT infrastructures.
Do customers care?
Today, observability is a priority because experiences matter and customer behaviours have changed. With devices in their hands, people are quick to switch if they encounter a bad experience. It’s no longer acceptable for businesses to be late to the party and find out about a negative experience directly from the customer.
Ultimately, the capabilities to understand, respond to and resolve IT issues before they become problematic for customers or impact business performance are the sweet spots for observability. This is driving more organisations toward observability to gain a deeper level of visibility and data-led insights into performance across the technology stack.
Why use observability tools?
In distributed, cloud-native applications, the variety of processes and systems involved can create issues in unexpected ways. This makes it difficult to precisely diagnose what has gone wrong when you’re alerted to a system fault.
By tracking a broad spectrum of events related to system function, observability tools can detect potential issues before they impact deliverables. This enables more accurate diagnosis of a problem. This is especially important for applications developed using agile methodologies – DevOps, microservices and containers – which rapidly deploy application components using a variety of programming languages.
The context provided by observability tools correlates any changes in system performance with other the system elements involved. This focus on identifying interdependencies is key to detect, diagnose, analyse and resolve issues in a timely manner.
Time to extend your observability toolset?
Usually driven by IT complexity, the visibility gaps that many organisations experience can have far-reaching consequences. For example, they can manifest in bad user experiences, or worse still, in data breaches. Lost sales, regulatory fines and reputation damage are all on the line.
At SIRE, we understand the importance of observability and the toolset that organisations need. We provide a service called Pulse360 Performance that helps you understand and manage the data generated by your IT systems, network, applications, infrastructure and operations.
Together, these provide analytics about performance, plus actionable insights into today’s complex IT environments. When combined with our expertise, increased observability can help you can start joining the dots of disparate IT – for the benefit of your customers and your business.