Nobl9 this week announced it is making available a perpetual free tier of its software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for managing service level objectives (SLOs).
The free tier was announced at the AWS re:Invent 2022 conference and the company also revamped its pricing. Nobl9 Teams Edition (formerly Nobl9 Hydrogen) now includes 50 SLOs, up from 25, for $850/month. Nobl9 Enterprise Edition also has doubled the included SLOs from 75 to 150.
Finally, Nobl9 also launched SLOcademy to help educate IT teams on how best to create and manage SLOs.
The Nobl9 platform simplifies the creation and tracking of SLOs using metrics and observability data collected from more than 24 widely used DevOps tools including Prometheus as well as services provided by Datadog, New Relic, Dynatrace, Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Splunk.
Kit Merker, chief growth officer for Nobl9, said the company’s platform collects signals from logs, metrics and traces to define what normal should look like for any given service. The free tier of the platform has some limitations, but it does provide access to the full-featured platform to enable IT teams to get started managing SLOs.
SLOs, of course, are not a new idea. They have been used as a metric to track the performance of IT services for decades. It’s not clear whether reliance on SLOs has waned over the years or if application environments simply became too complex to track meaningful metrics. However, as applications are increasingly viewed as services, it’s now only a matter of time before SLOs become more widely adopted across a modern application environment. The challenge, of course, is that defining an SLO is a lot easier than maintaining it—especially within today’s highly dynamic cloud-native application environments where services with lots of dependencies tend to come, change and go unexpectedly.
Nobl9 is making a case for an SLO-as-code approach that makes it simpler to track service levels. A recent survey of more than 300 IT managers and executives conducted by Dimensional Research on behalf of Nobl9 found only 29% of respondents had no plans to implement SLOs. A full 94% of respondents that have or plan to implement SLOs intend to map them directly to business operations, with 91% reporting that they expect that effort to improve decision-making. More than 80% also said their organizations are planning to increase the use of SLOs, with 87% indicating SLOs should improve overall microservices performance.
The challenge is that most organizations have limited visibility into their IT environments. The survey, for example, found less than half of respondents (46%) had visibility into all their IT environments. Only 45% and 35% claim to have visibility into containers and microservices, respectively. More than three-quarters (78%) said hybrid clouds make observability more difficult. Ironically, 45% of companies reported they already employed 11 or more observability and monitoring tools. On the plus side, 31% have hired site reliability engineers (SREs) while nearly half (46%) planned to create that role.
It may be a while before most IT teams are organized around the concept of applications as services but as the management of IT continues to evolve it’s now just a matter of time before that approach becomes more the rule than the exception.