In increasingly complex IT environments, a new category of solutions is knocking at the door of IT departments: IT platforms. application observability.
Behind this name are sets of tools whose main objective is to help IT managers understand what is happening in their systems, for which they basically collect and analyze three types of data:
- Metrics: they start from a KPI approach in which the percentage of memory in use or the number of transactions per second is measured, for example.
- Logs: unstructured qualitative records that reflect the events that take place in the system.
- Traces: connect the dots between sequential events.
Observability platforms allow users to access a real-time picture of the entire system, making it easier to identify the nature of potential problems, where they are occurring, and which systems are being affected. Some go even further to detect what caused the “original problem” and offer possible solutions to mitigate it.
How then are they different from monitoring tools? Monitoring tools are typically used to record information about events as they occur. For example, they alert DevOps teams if an application is down or there is an issue. However, they don’t have that “holistic view” of an enterprise’s distributed application environment.
On the other hand, the platforms, also based on the information collected by the monitoring tools, help to identify patterns that would otherwise remain hidden. Observability also makes it easier to locate the root cause of a problem throughout the system, while monitoring only provides a first basis for a trial and error strategy. While monitoring can answer what is happening at a given moment, observability can answer why. Some of the observability platforms that stand out the most in the market are the following:
Dynatrace is an All-in-One platform for the observability of the entire IT structure of the company: monitoring and application security, digital experience, business analytics and automation in the cloud.
However, what makes Dynatrace unique is its AI engine, Davis. Davis provides accurate, automated insights into a system’s data instantly and continuously. These insights include dependency detection, anomaly detection, root cause analysis, and business impact analysis.
All of this means that many of the world’s largest companies trust Dynatrace to modernize and automate their operations, launch better software faster, and deliver new digital experiences.
New Relic is one of the oldest platforms in the world of observability. The platform offers easy-to-use tools and highly configurable dashboards. They also allow you to choose between over 400 quickstarts that provide integrations, dashboards and alerts related to the main software tools that are commonly used on a daily basis.
Another of its strong points is its commitment to open source technologies, with projects such as Prometheus or Grafana that limit the business cost that this type of platform usually has.
Its Applied Intelligence tool automatically detects and explains anomalies before they become incidents, reduces excessive re-alerts by correlating related alerts, and diagnoses problems by enriching incidents with context, allowing you to quickly get to the root of problems.
Honeycomb is an observability tool that shows potential problems users experience with enterprise applications in complex and unpredictable environments.
In a matter of seconds, it finds patterns and outliers in billions of rows of data to solve problems and for its approach it is one of the most valued platforms by SRE and DevOps teams.
One of the most interesting features is BubbleUp, a tool that signals the correct dimension of an atypical event which is causing problems. And it’s true that Honeycomb’s interface can be a bit overwhelming when you’re just starting out, but the platform offers extensive step-by-step tutorials that make the experience easy.
Splunk has been a giant in the APM market for nearly two decades, and today offers a range of observability applications. Individual solutions are available for infrastructure monitoring, APM, logging, front-end user monitoring, synthetic monitoring, and automated incident response.
Users can choose to add each of these applications to their final solution, or you can bundle them in an as-a-service mode, in the Splunk Observability Cloud.
One of its greatest advantages is that its instrumentation functions are natively compatible with OpenTelemetryan open source observability framework.
This means that the entire platform is completely vendor agnostic and provides a consistent framework for telemetry data collection across applications.