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What is Observability in the Software World?

© by Image courtesy of Observability

The term observability has grown more common in recent years, as companies continue to discover the power of visibility for company performance. In a world where we’re all more reliant on technology, applications, and tools to keep operations running, it’s important to ensure business leaders have a certain level of visibility into how those systems work. The term observability can have different definitions depending on who you speak to. However, most experts agree that the concept centers around strong website maintenance strategies, customer experience management, and performance monitoring. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at how companies define observability in software.

Understanding Software Observability

If you’re looking to understand what is observability in the software landscape, it is a common word used in reference to application and system operation. Basically, it refers to how well the internal performance of a solution might be described based on its output and performance. Observability isn’t just another word for system monitoring – the strategy companies use to collect data about systems, applications, and processing. Observability is the process of building, or supplementing systems with tools for gathering actionable data offering guidance not only on when an error or issue occurred, but why it happened. Observability gives modern software and IT teams the technology and insights they need to deliver high-quality software at scale, and with speed. This technology means companies can build sustainable cultures of innovation, optimizing their investment in modern tools and cloud technology, and seeing real-time benefits as a result. 

Full-stack observability often helps with bridging the chasms that exist between engineering performance, and the DevOps team, developers, and stakeholders in the business. As they scale, complexity and dynamics of technology in the modern landscape continues to evolve, IT teams are becoming more reliant than ever on high-level observability to keep everything running at peak performance. Making a system observable in the modern landscape means ensuring IT teams can access important logs, metrics, insights into customer or user experience, and distributed traces for a complete picture of how systems are behaving. 

Why Companies Need Observability

Observability in the software landscape gives companies the opportunity to understand what’s happening inside a system, based on the external outputs that system can offer. In today’s complex environment, the right observability strategy will help cross-functional teams to better understand and answer crucial questions about what’s happening in distributed systems around the business ecosystem. In simple terms, observability answers the question of “how”, when it comes to figuring out why something is slow, broken, or not working as it should be, so you can see the cause of the issue, and what you need to do to improve performance. 

Because most modern cloud landscapes are constantly evolving and dynamically scaling, most problems can be difficult to monitor with traditional technology. Observability addresses the common issue of not being able to determine where problems come from and how they progress, by eliminating the unknowns in the ecosystem. With the right technology, companies can consistently and automatically understand problems which might arise in your business, and what needs to be done to rectify them.