What is DevOps Observability (Importance & Best Practices)
By Shormistha Chatterjee, Community Contributor - February 10, 2023
The 2022 Observability Prediction found that almost half of the 1,600+ respondents mentioned the improved focus on governance, security, compliance, and risk as the key trend driving observability required for their company. Other drivers counted enhanced attention on customer experience management, development of cloud-native app architectures (frontend), and migration to a multi-cloud setting (backend).
As with all DevOps capacities, installing a tool isn’t enough to achieve the goals, but tools can help or hinder the effort. Monitoring and observability DevOps systems must not be confined to a single team or individual within any business. Empowering all developers to be proficient with monitoring and Observability DevOps tools helps develop a practice of data-driven decision-making and enhances overall system debuggability, decreasing outages.
DevOps Observability opportunities
Observability enhances service-level metrics. Companies see its worth—and expect to spend more on it.
The observability market includes a wide range of categories, such as app performance monitoring, which according to Gartner will become a USD 6.8 billion market by the year 2024.
As per the Enterprise Strategy Group’s State of Observability survey in 2021, worldwide IT leaders are convinced of the worth of observability. A full ninety percent of survey participants said they projected it to become the famous pillar of enterprise IT.
What is Observability in DevOps?
Observability in DevOps is a technical or tooling solution that focuses on aiding IT firms to understand what procedures are going on in an app by looking at the app’s output. Observability also allows firms to know issues in the app operation by pinpointing what, where, how, and why the app operation is malfunctioning.
This empowers QA teams to efficiently observe, revamp, and improve the app to deliver a better customer experience.
Learn More: What are the tools used in DevOps?
Importance of DevOps Observability
Modern cloud app environments are complicated, running across 100s or even 1000s of compute instances in multi systems with individual operations. With the progress of microservices adoption, numerous individual and isolated system elements make tracing the source of failure time-consuming and challenging.
- As more organizations adopt agile approaches, the frequency of deployments allows DevOps teams to speed up software delivery.
- Regular deployments in any system mean introducing high risk into the system.
- With attention to CI/CD, DevOps teams rely on response to debug and diagnose systems efficiently.
- Observability gives that feedback. Automation is a crucial element in DevOps. It allows teams to unite the right people with the right processes, take action with shared data, increase performance across the complete organization, and tie it to definite business outputs.
- Observability is a procedure of proficiently giving proper contexts to all types of data that the app environment yields so that it is simpler to audit the result repeatedly.
- It is based on exploring patterns and properties not defined in advance.
Automation keeps observability information flowing. Observability allows DevOps teams to comprehend what’s happening across multi technologies and environments to find and resolve critical problems. It keeps systems reliable and efficient and clientele happy.
Learn More: How DevOps and Cloud work together
What are the Key Components of Observability?
These components are the key pillars of observability! They are:
- Event Logs- Event logs are just a written record of events continuing in the system. Logs give you an insight into errors and events experienced by the system, giving context to the issue at hand.
- Metrics- Metrics are a series of data that display a system’s performance. They are gathered over a definite period, weeks, days, or even months. Metrics deliver a constant, point-in-time impression of the system. This lets DevOps developers and teams spot particular trends as regards the system’s performance.
- Traces- A trace gives DevOps teams an outline of the system based on the transaction or request made in the system. Firstly, a request is prepared for the system, & after that, it records the flow of any request from 1 service to another.
What are the key Benefits of Observability?
- Better Alerting: Observability assists developers in discovering and mitigate issues faster, giving in-depth visibility that allows them to rapidly determine what has been modified in the system and debug or fix the issues.
- Unfailing Infrastructure: Observability assists in examining system availability, network, user behavior, capacity, and other metrics to ensure the system performs as it has to.
- Security & Compliance: A system’s observability is extremely important to companies with regulatory or compliance necessities to protect sensitive data.
- Unified/Linked Context: Information requires to be linked to know-how the relationships between system elements and how they tie to your business.
- Superior visibility: Sprawling distributed systems sometimes makes it tough for developers to know what solutions are in production, whether app performance is robust, who owns a specific service, or whatever the system looked like before the latest deployment.
- Improved workflow: Observability also allows developers to see a request’s comprehensive journey, accompanied by relevant contextualized info about a specific problem, improving its performance.
Common Loopholes in Observability
Here are some to bear in mind when you are integrating observability into DevOps.
Loophole 1: Working Without the Appropriate Tools
It becomes problematic to observe actions in the system. For example, teams cannot collect accurate data during an examination without the correct tools. And inconsistent information fed into the system often results in improper warnings.
Loophole 2: Irregular Distribution of Data
IT firms often relegate the understanding of the functions of the observability system to just the DevOps team. Which isn’t true. Rather, observability must be incorporated into the understanding of teams working within the firm. This will assist in debugging since data is spread evenly amongst workers.
Loophole 3: Worse Alerting System
In observability, developers tend to order symptom-based alerts & ignore cause-based alerts. This is often because developers write alerts for every possible error in the system without considering their causes.
Best Practices in Observability
There are some do’s & don’ts that the DevOps team or the software developer must put into practice when it comes to observability. Such rules comprise:
- Do not try to observe everything. Instead, collect just the essential data.
- Put up alerts on crucial events.
- Concentrate more on examining crucial things and mitigating them if they fail.
- Avoid gathering every log or data access. Instead, collect those that give insights into crucial events.
- Generate data graphs that are effortlessly comprehensible by every team member, as this will enhance the usability of the information.
Future of DevOps Observability
An observability approach eradicates the potential threats of missing problems directly influencing app performance and creates an improved, complete experience. This will make the year 2023 the era of digital experience observability.
By 2025, 88–97 percent of seventeen diverse observability capacities are projected to be deployed. Very few respondents did not expect to employ these observability capacities (2–7%). This mentioned intent to employ a huge number of observability capacities is the most eye-opening result from this study as it put forward that most companies may have robust observability practices in place by 2025.
Browserstack is actively solving that issue in Test Observability, wherein teams can not only re-run tests but also map the re-runs automatically with the previous runs of similar test cases and reveal only the current status of the test.
The following scenarios are supported:
- Framework automatically re-tries a failed test case.
- You can re-triggering the Continuous Integration job with failed test cases.
- The same Continuous Integration job invokes the test runner with the failed test cases.
- You can re-run test cases (multiple or even single tests) during manual analysis.
For instance: Test Observability on TestNG
Quick start guide to integrating BrowserStack Test Observability with TestNG
- You need a TestNG test suite
- You might run your tests on BrowserStack App Automate or Automate.
- Your tests can be functional/integration/ unit or of any nature.
NOTE: BrowserStack Test Observability is currently in private-alpha, and it supports the following automation test frameworks:
Integrate with Test Observability
You can make use of Test Observability both when you are using BrowserStack’s browsers and devices to execute functional E2E tests and also if you are running tests locally on your CI/ laptop system or even when you are using some other cloud-based provider. Not just that, Test Observability is uncertain to the type of tests; hence, you can incorporate it with your integration or unit test suite.
Documentation: Test Observability with BrowserStack
Observability is still an evolving technology; few companies and professionals completely understand its importance. Many companies rely on a series of fragmented observability tools in DevOps to accomplish observability goals.
Ultimately, shifting observability left along the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment pipeline means potential SLO (service-level objective) deltas are caught before they reach production. DevOps teams looking to offer enhancement to app performance & business results can look to observability as a means to deliver both.