3 Ways Traditional APM Systems Hinder Modern Observability
Cloud native adoption isn’t something that can be done with a lift-and-shift migration. There’s much to learn and consider before taking the leap to ensure the cloud native environment can help with business and technical needs. For those who are early in their modernization journeys, this can mean learning the various cloud native terms, benefits, pitfalls and about how cloud native observability is essential to success.
To help, we’ve created a four-part primer around “getting started with cloud native.” These articles are designed to educate and help outline the what and why of cloud native architecture.
The previous article discussed the benefits and drawbacks of cloud native architecture. This article explains why traditional application performance monitoring tools aren’t suited for modern observability needs.
Cloud Native Requires New Tools
As cloud native approaches are more widely adopted, new challenges emerge. Organizations find it harder to understand the interdependencies between the various elements that make up an application or service. And their staff can spend enormous amounts of time trying to get to the root cause of an issue and fix problems.
What makes cloud native environments so different and more challenging to manage? Enterprises monitoring early cloud native workloads only need access to simple performance and availability data. In this scenario, the siloed nature of these platforms isn’t an obstacle to keeping applications or infrastructure running and healthy. So, traditional application performance monitoring (APM) and infrastructure monitoring tools do the job.
But as organizations begin their cloud native initiatives and use DevOps principles to speed application development, they need more. APM and infrastructure monitoring tools simply cannot provide the scalability, reliability and shared data insights needed to rapidly deliver cloud native applications at scale.
Legacy Tool Shortcomings
Here are some key ways legacy monitoring tools fail to meet cloud native challenges. These shortcomings will cause acute pain as your cloud native environment grows and should be factors that are considered when devising your modernization plan:
- Inability to navigate microservices. Legacy tools are unable to navigate and highlight all the interdependencies of a microservices environment, making it nearly impossible to detect and remediate issues in a timely manner.
- Lack of control. APM and infrastructure monitoring solutions lack data controls and visibility into observability data usage across teams and individuals. Simple code changes or new deployments can result in surprise overages.
- Vendor lock-in. Proprietary solutions make it nearly impossible to switch tools, leaving you powerless when prices go up.
And though these may seem like engineering-centric challenges, they end up having a big impact on overall business health:
- Costs increase. Because the pricing models for these tools are aligned to data ingestion, users or hosts, and there are no mechanisms to control data growth, it’s easy for costs to spiral out of control.
- Teams end up flying blind. Rapidly rising costs force teams to restrict custom metrics and cardinality tags, limiting metrics stack behavior visualization and causing teams to lack important data.
- Developer productivity plummets. Engineers are spending long nights and weekends troubleshooting. Burnout sets in. The skills gap worsens.
- There is downtime and data loss. Service-level agreements (SLAs) and service-level objectives (SLOs) aren’t being met. Small changes lead to data loss.
These shortcomings have consequences due to the way modern businesses operate. Customer experience and application responsiveness are critical differentiators. Anything that affects either of these things can drive away customers, infuriate internal workers or alienate partners. Today, rather than waiting for problems — including performance degradation, disruption and downtime — to happen, businesses need to be ahead of the issues. They need to anticipate problems in the making and take corrective actions before they affect the application or the user.
It is obvious that cloud native architectures offer many benefits, but organizations also potentially have many challenges to overcome. Traditional application, infrastructure and security monitoring tools offer some help, but what they truly need is an observability solution designed for cloud native environments.
In the next and final installment, we’ll cover four main considerations you should have during the cloud native observability software selection process.
Read our full series on getting started with cloud native:
- 5 Things to Consider Before Adopting Cloud Native
- Pros and Cons of Cloud Native to Consider Before Adoption
- 3 Reasons Traditional APM Systems Hinder Modern Observability
- Top 4 Considerations for Cloud Native Observability Tool Selection