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Innowise Group is an international full-cycle software development company founded in 2007. We are a team of 1400+ IT professionals developing software for other professionals worldwide.
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Innowise Group is an international full-cycle software development company founded in 2007. We are a team of 1400+ IT professionals developing software for other professionals worldwide.

Observability and monitoring: overview

Downtime is one of the most devastating issues that may occur with your business. It leads to direct and indirect costs and may even result in reputational risks. Therefore, being aware of downtime is very important and this is where various monitoring solutions come into play. With such tools that include metrics and logs, developers have an opportunity to minimize software downtime.

Observability and monitoring go hand in hand during the development and support period. While they are not synonyms, they have a lot of common points under the hood. By choosing the right strategy for observability and monitoring applications, developers can reduce the risks of direct and indirect costs. If you are looking for useful information about observability and monitoring in DevOps you are in the right place.

The high cost of downtime

Let’s start with the figures as they are the best way to show how downtime can negatively impact your business. According to recent studies by Gartner, the average downtime cost is about $5,500 per 60 seconds. However, this figure may vary according to the business operation features. When it comes to hourly downtime costs, they look even more impressive. The range starts at $140,000 and ends up at $540,000, which is a massive amount, which can be compared with the average price of a house in Miami. 

For 98% of businesses, a single hour of downtime costs $100,000 and more, while for almost 81% of companies the 60 minutes outage is even more expensive (over $300,000). Some 33% of enterprises estimate a loss of up to $5 million for the same one-hour downtime.

In addition to direct costs, it is also important to consider indirect losses associated with time wastage.. Such outages will require precious minutes and sometimes hours for the problem to be solved. According to the latest research, such interruptions may take 238 minutes a day, which, in turn, may result in 6.2 hours per day and 31 hours per week consequently. 

While you can’t avoid such downtime situations or receive immunity from them by any means, you can add some useful practices like monitoring and observability that will allow you to react to such situations. 

What is monitoring in DevOps?

Monitoring in DevOps includes a set of tools and techniques that allow us to understand the current state of systems with the help of metrics and logs. Simply put, monitoring tools in DevOps can notify the team about possible problems and show the current state of the system.There are four main DevOps measurements that a team should employ to ensure  reasonable monitoring:
  • Traffic. This parameter shows the volume of requests that the system currently experiences. This can be, for instance, the number of HTTP server requests or the amount of transactions.
  • Latency. By checking such metrics, you can track how long it takes for the server to respond to the user’s request. 
  • Errors. Allows developers to reveal the number of failed requests (such as HTTP 500 error) or errors that may derive from the application policy.
  • Saturation. With this parameter, you can see how much load your system handles at the moment. Normally, these metrics include CPU utilization or network bandwidth. 

There are plenty of application monitoring DevOps tools nowadays, but not all of them are good enough to satisfy all needs. When searching for the right feature for monitoring, there are several keys to consider:

  • Real or near real-time analysis – having real-time data will help teams to minimize incidents’ impact.
  • Alerts – when something goes wrong or part of a system is broken, the platform should have alerts in place in order to notify the team about issues. 
  • Data visualization – dashboards with charts and graphs are helpful if a team needs to see the current state of a system or flow of data.
  • Integrations – the platform should have integration with the current stack out of the box. This makes it easier to integrate, but also avoids some unnecessary costs of setting up new integrations from scratch.
Observability and monitoring

What is observability in DevOps?

Observability is a set of tools and techniques that allows the developers to see how systems behave by analyzing patterns and properties which are not known in advance.

With the help of observability DevOps tools, teams have an opportunity to assess the health of the internal system and detect unknown issues such as performance bottlenecks. Moreover, by using this set of tools and techniques, developers can receive essential feedback in DevOps.

Observability’s primary components include:

  • Logging. It helps keep a record of issues, which, in turn, allows the team to learn from previous incidents to speed up the process of finding the root of a particular error.
  • Tracing. This is one of the most important components of observability that aims at revealing the connection between the cause and effect of the problem. 
  • Metrics. With this component, developers can see the trends that emerge over days, weeks and even months.
Observability and monitoring

Observability or monitoring: which one is better?

When comparing observability and monitoring it is not simply about which approach is better. It is about what purposes a team has when it applies both of them. While monitoring tools allow developers to reveal issues, observability serves to find the source of problems so that to avoid such errors in the future or to minimize debug time. 

The difference between both is that monitoring can notify the team about current problems and show the current state of a system, whereas observability allows the developers to debug the system and get the necessary data to understand the root cause of issues. Simply put, monitoring answers the question “What has happened” while observability gives a reply to the “Why it has happened” query.

Both monitoring and observability in DevOps should go hand in hand when it comes to what should be implemented. Together they provide indicators of an outage, detect outages, help debug and provide long-term trends for business and for capacity planning.

With all the above in mind, it should be mentioned that monitoring is an integral part of observability. It is very important in DevOps to know what has happened with the app or website and this is where monitoring comes into play. Moreover, it is possible to monitor without observing. However, to reduce the risks of similar issues in the future, developers should use observability tools. 

Bottom line

Monitoring and observability are both very important in DevOps as they help developers reveal errors and downtimes, tackle all possible issues and even eliminate the root of such problems. Innowise Group uses this combination in its everyday activities in order to provide customers with premium-quality robust products. Minimizing downtime cases is what we put at the forefront of our development and maintenance processes.

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