How company IT teams can work smarter, not harder with observability

Even in the days of the ENIAC—the first general-purpose digital computer, completed in 1945—we knew data isn’t useful unless it’s in the hands of the right people at the right time.

Why is data management vital to operations?

With good data, the organisation’s IT teams can work together and companies can make more informed decisions to meet the needs of their suppliers and customers. Data matters to any company, but managing it becomes more complex as the company grows larger.

For example, a global enterprise manufacturing and selling widgets could have an office in Singapore designing its products simultaneously with other design teams in Palo Alto and Germany. It could then make the widgets in Malaysia from raw materials sourced worldwide.

Before the finished product reaches the user, millions of data points gathered worldwide must be corralled appropriately to ensure quality and customer satisfaction. Data must perform an intricate, dance via scalable technologies and applications in modern businesses. To protect their processes, organizations tend to amass monitoring tools. Once set up, the monitoring system sends alerts—many alerts—when something has changed or if something is wrong.

When breakdowns occur or bugs pop up, it’s not easy to understand where the fault lies. Hours get wasted as IT pros search for a solution. And when nothing’s wrong but routine alerts are going off, it can become like a game of Whac-A-Mole. Alert fatigue develops, and teams spend their days managing alerts rather than focusing on higher-level tasks

Why is observability vital to IT teams?

The tendency is to think we must work harder to keep our systems running. Rather than working harder, teams need to work smarter. They must adopt full-stack observability.

Effective monitoring

Traditional monitoring relies on metrics-oriented dashboards built to assess telemetry data against manual or basic statistically relevant thresholds. Traditional monitoring usually focuses on a specific network, cloud, or infrastructure and tracks applications and application elements so IT pros can identify anomalies and investigate problems as they arise.

Monitoring tools display which nodes (infrastructure devices, apps, databases, cloud services, etc.) of interest are up or down, and which ones have changed. But the tools don’t offer cross-domain correlation, service delivery insight, operational dependencies, or predictability. 

Full-stack observability performs these operations and gives IT organizations end-to-end oversight of service delivery and node dependencies. With full-stack observability, tech and data pros can better anticipate and detect problems before they happen. Full-stack observability helps IT teams work smarter. With observability, they can do the following:

  • Identify, characterize, and predict business service, node, and activity state changes, problems, and deficiencies
  • Reduce time and effort so IT teams can accurately pinpoint, route, and prioritize issues; conduct root cause analysis; and coordinate remediation
  • Automate tasks and advance closed-loop operational management, reporting, and capacity planning efficiencies across IT domains

Full-stack observability analyzes conditions affecting the user experience and performance, predicting element problems, service levels, and needed capacity changes. It also provides visualization and insights, deep analytics, greater workflow efficiencies, automation, and closed-loop management. Observability helps tech pros work smarter because it utilizes a large volume of data to supply insights, automated analytics, and actionable intelligence.

Improved IT productivity

Full-stack observability also enables ITOps, DevOps, and security firms to achieve consistent, optimized, and predictable business service delivery with improved digital experience and IT productivity. With full-stack observability, IT organizations can do the following:

  • Receive service- and node-level visualizations, insights, and intelligence to make faster and smarter decisions
  • Optimally manage the services supporting customers and employees
  • Meet service levels and efficiently conduct problem resolution, configuration, reporting, and planning tasks
  • Spend time on more impactful activities

With full-stack observability, IT firms can stop being reactive and become proactive. They have an opportunity to become more productive. This increased productivity allows IT firms to improve business agility and meet service levels. The entire IT firm works smarter and becomes more efficient at problem resolution, configuration, reporting, and planning tasks. The trick is to work smarter, not harder. The way forward is with full-stack observability.

Thomas LaRock is the Head Geek™ at SolarWinds.