A recent survey found the biggest obstacles to observability were the pace of technology change, IT blind spots and the complexity of modern applications. The survey polled 300 IT professionals to identify the biggest challenges they faced in achieving observability. The accelerating pace of technology change (72%) topped the list, followed by IT blind spots and the growing complexity of modern applications (58% each), and lack of funding (52%).
The survey, conducted by SolarWinds, also found the typical enterprise suffered nine brownouts or outages every month, each of which lasted around twelve hours. The full cost of outages and brownouts averaged $13.7M annually for these enterprises, according to the SolarWinds report.
Jeff Stewart, field CTO and vice president, global solutions engineering at SolarWinds, said the survey makes it clear that a lack of observability is having a material impact on businesses. Organizations are now moving beyond monitoring predefined metrics to embrace observability platforms that make it simpler to investigate the root cause of issues that adversely impact businesses; these businesses are more dependent on IT than ever, he added.
In fact, the primary reason organizations are investing in observability is to improve their customer experience (96%), enable faster innovation (71%), reduce time spent solving (71%) and detecting (60%) issues and improve operational efficiency (55%), the survey found.
While it’s still early days as far as achieving observability is concerned, a lot of progress is starting to be made as organizations realize that complex IT environments require a different management approach. IT teams can no longer afford to navigate multiple monitoring tools in what often turns out to be a vain effort to prevent brownouts and downtime, noted Stewart.
In addition, many IT teams are becoming increasingly aware that the telemetry data collected via an observability platform provides the foundation for infusing IT operations with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, he added. The ultimate Holy Grail is to one day achieve autonomous operations, noted Stewart.
There is, of course, no shortage of observability platforms, but Stewart contends that providers of monitoring tools such as SolarWinds are in the best position to help IT teams make the observability transition. Rather than ripping and replacing a monitoring platform, a more seamless transition that results in less disruption is preferable, he noted.
Regardless of approach, observability platforms that enable IT teams to launch queries across complex distributed computing environments are becoming a necessity. Distributed computing environments often have more dependencies than IT teams can manually track. It’s only a matter of time before the most talented DevOps professionals start to migrate to organizations that provide them with the management tools and platforms required to succeed. Otherwise, the stress of managing a complex IT environment will only result in higher rates of burnout among DevOps professionals.
It may be a while before observability platforms are pervasively employed across IT environments, but as it becomes clear that brownouts and downtimes result in a decline in revenue, business leaders will understand what’s required to maximize profits. In many cases, the answer will be an observability platform that surfaces the insights needed to proactively manage modern IT environments.