After raising $35 million in seed funding, Observe Inc. has emerged from stealth with early access to a namesake observability service that leverages the database-as-a-service (DBaaS) platform created by Snowflake Inc.
Company CEO Jeremy Burton said rather than build another data lake platform, it makes more sense to make an observability platform available using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application model based on an existing cloud service.
Burton said Snowflake, which is based on a relational database running on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, has already proven it can scale to ingest logs, traces and metrics. The Observe platform leverages that platform to correlate that data to monitor application and infrastructure environments in a way that provides more context than legacy tools that monitor software components and infrastructure in isolation.
The context is achieved by creating a “resource” to represent, for example, a user, a session, a shopping cart, a pod, a container, a help-desk ticket or a build. Observe then enables IT teams to also track relationships between resources in a way that the average IT administrator can query without having to tag each resource, said Burton. IT teams can also track how the attributes of a resource change over time, which Burton noted can be employed to reconstitute the state of an entire IT system at any point in time.
That approach can be applied just as easily to existing monolithic applications and emerging microservices applications because all the data required is ingested into the Snowflake service without requiring IT teams to first instrument and then update each application, added Burton.
The pricing model for Observe will be based on the amount of data stored in the AWS S3 bucket and the number of queries launched. IT teams will purchase Observe credits that are billed only when the platform is actually used, noted Burton.
While observability is a core tenant of best DevOps practices, Burton said there is a need to democratize observability in a way that allows any member of an IT team to troubleshoot any issue. There shouldn’t be a requirement to assemble every member of an IT team to diagnose an issue, said Burton, noting over time, that just aggravates developers who don’t really need to deal with, for example, an infrastructure issue.
IT teams will be provided access to dashboards that enable novice or intermediate users to quickly ascertain the root cause of an issue, while more seasoned engineers with be provided access to worksheets based on a spreadsheet-like interface through which they can manipulate data, said Burton.
Competition among providers of observability platforms is already fierce. However, as organizations look to rationalize existing legacy monitoring tools in favor of platforms that add more context, the overall size of the observability market will be measured in billions of dollars. Each IT teams will need to decide what type of platform makes the most sense for them based on costs and their preference for one capability a vendor might have that another doesn’t provide.