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Cloud Native Ecosystem / Observability

Top 4 Factors for Cloud Native Observability Tool Selection 

Arming teams with modern observability that is purpose-built for cloud native environments will allow them to quickly detect and remediate issues.
Aug 29th, 2023 3:00am by
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This is the fourth of a four-part series. Read Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3.

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 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.

Our most recent article covered why traditional application performance monitoring (APM) tools can’t keep up with modern observability needs. This one covers the features and business requirements to consider when selecting cloud native observability tools. 

The Need for Cloud Native Observability

Today’s developers are driven by two general issues pervasive throughout organizations of any size in any industry. First, they must be able to rapidly create and frequently update applications to meet ever-changing business opportunities. And they also must cater to stakeholders and a user base that expects (and demands) apps to be highly available and responsive, and incorporate the newest technologies as they emerge.

Monolithic approaches cannot meet these objectives, but cloud native architecture can. However, enterprises going from monolithic infrastructures to cloud native environments will fail without a modern approach to observability. But while the challenges cloud native adoption brings are real, they are not insurmountable.

Arming teams with modern observability that is purpose-built for cloud native environments will allow them to quickly detect and remediate issues across the environment. Your applications will work as expected. Customers will be happy. Revenue will be protected.

What to Look for in a Cloud Native Observability Solution

A suitable cloud native observability solution will:

Control Data … and Costs

Your cloud native observability solution should help you understand how much data you have and where it’s coming from, as well as make it simpler to quickly find the data you need to solve issues and achieve business results.

Traditional APM and infrastructure monitoring tools lack the ability to efficiently manage the exponential growth of observability data and the technical and organizational complexities of cloud native environments. APM and infrastructure monitoring tools require you to collect, store and pay for all your data regardless of the value you get from it.

With a central control plane, you optimize costs as data grows, without any surprise budget overruns. You get persistent system reliability and improve your user experience. You enjoy platform-generated recommendations that optimize performance. You also don’t waste so much valuable engineering resources on troubleshooting but rather reduce noise and redirect your engineers to solve problems faster. A central control plane allows you to refine, transform and manage your observability data based on need, context and utility. That way, you can analyze and understand the value of your observability data faster, including what’s useful and what’s waste.

Avoid Vendor Lock-In with Open Source Compatibility

Proprietary formats not only make it difficult for engineers to learn how to use systems, but they add customization complexity. Modern cloud native observability solutions natively integrate with open source standards such as Prometheus and OpenTelemetry, which eliminates switching costs. In times of economic uncertainty and when tech talent is scarce, you’ll want to invest in a solution that is open to possibilities.

Ensure Availability and Reliability

When your observability platform is down — even short, intermittent outages or performance degradations — your team is flying blind with no visibility into your services. The good news is that you don’t have to live with unpredictable and unreliable observability.

Your modernization plan should include working with an observability vendor that offers a 99.9% uptime service-level agreement (SLA), which can be confirmed by finding out what the actual delivered uptime has been for the past 12 months. Also, dig in a little to understand how vendors define and monitor SLAs and at what point it notifies customers of problems. A best-in-class solution will proactively monitor its own systems for downtime and count any period greater than a few minutes of system inaccessibility as downtime, prompting immediate customer notification.

Predict and Resolve Customer-Facing Problems Faster

A cloud native observability solution can improve engineering metrics such as mean time to remediate (MTTR) and mean time to detect (MTTD) as well as time to deploy. But that’s not all. It can also provide real-time insights that help improve business key performance indicators (KPIs) such as payment failures, orders submitted/processed or application latency that can hurt the customer experience.

Promote Strong Developer Productivity from the Jump

Today’s engineering on-call shifts are stressful because people can’t find the right data, run queries quickly or remediate issues fast — something enterprises should try to avoid when transitioning to a modern environment.

Most APM tools were introduced more than a decade ago when most engineering teams were organized in a top-down hierarchical fashion. In a DevOps world, developers own responsibility for the operations of their applications. The best way to support a modern environment that’s been organized with small, interdependent engineering teams is with an observability solution that supports workflows aligned with how your distributed, interdependent engineering teams are operating.

Your Observability Vendor Should Be a Partner in Your Cloud Native Success

Technical expertise isn’t a nice to have; it’s a must have for successful businesses. Vendor support experts help teams meet service-level agreements. Therefore, your observability vendor should offer customer support experts that are always available to help you navigate your cloud native journey — at no additional charge.

Read our full series on getting started with cloud native:

  1. 5 Things to Know Before Adopting Cloud Native
  2. Pros and Cons of Cloud Native to Consider Before Adoption
  3. 3 Ways Traditional APM Systems Hinder Modern Observability 
  4. Top 4 Factors for Cloud Native Observability Tool Selection
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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Resolve, Pragma.
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