Taos Glossary

An explanation of industry terms that is a quick read, and knowledge base.


What is observability?

In IT and cloud spheres, observability is the ability to proactively collect and measure intelligence concerning a system’s internal state through its outputs. If a system is “observable,” then its current state can be accurately determined by assessing its metrics, events, logs, and traces—a collection of sensor data.

In other words, can you understand how a system is working by observing the work it performs?

How does observability work?

To fully gain observability, system managers must collect the pertinent data and visualize it for analytics purposes. The central elements for observability data gathering are metrics, logs, and tracing. Metrics are essential in any monitoring process but are often determined based on past system failures that have been fixed and are still being tracked. Logs are viewed to investigate anomalies and reveal more detailed breakdowns of system events, allowing for outputs to be traced back to specific inputs.

How is observability important?

As modern systems grow in complexity, they’re being developed and deployed more rapidly via DevOps teams. This continuous delivery and agile development accelerate the whole software delivery process, making it difficult to detect any issues that need fixing. System monitoring tools are now more essential to reveal what’s happening within software and system performance and allow managers to trace application performance with time-series analytics.

Benefits of observability

Observability gives data and system engineers an active view of a system and allows them to optimize performance. Providing real-time oversight of operations and operational data in a system can also enable managers to analyze applications and infrastructure.

With complete architecture visibility, developers and engineers can monitor their apps and third-party services to detect, fix, and prevent issues before they cause widespread problems. Performance can be enhanced, and customer experiences can be improved through more strategic initiatives that contribute to business growth.

Observability establishes shared views of the working environment for a more detailed look at project health and team-wide performance for teams. Observability can help generate more accurate and valuable post-incident reviews and empower data-driven decision-making. And an organization will allow for ongoing upgrades of apps and services without risking the stability of current systems or creating downtime.

Common use cases for observability

Observability can enable a team to monitor its systems more effectively and trace any issues back to their causes while giving IT analysts and developers visibility across the whole architecture. This includes application performance monitoring, with end-to-end observability that identifies and solves problems faster and helps automate more processes for greater long-term efficiency.

In DevSecOps, observability helps teams observe the same apps they created and deployed, leveraging data to heighten security measures and develop more resilient applications in the future.

The end-user experience can also be enhanced with observability, giving the organization a competitive edge and improving customer loyalty and brand strength. User experience can be refined through real-time feedback, clarifying specific areas that must be dealt with.

Business analytics is also a big area where observability plays a part. Organizations combine infrastructure oversight with real-time reporting to gauge impact, improve conversion, meet established goals, and confirm operational adherence to SLAs.

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