The Future of Observability – 2023 and beyond
In my previous blog on what is observability and why the buzz, I spoke about its three pillars (logs, metrics, and traces) and highlighted its past & present, along with its benefits. Gartner ranked observability among the top 10 strategic tech trends for 2023. So, it is crucial to understand – what's next for observability. I want to leave you with my thoughts, predictions, and thoughts from a few of our customer organizations' IT and tech leadership.
Observability of the future
Today's Observability platforms enable us to quickly figure out what's happening with every request and promptly identify the cause of issues. This practice is on course for daily improvements and enhancements, drawing us to conclude that observability will strengthen and have a bright future as processes, tools, and techniques improve. Here are key highlights of observability's future:
Intuitive setup and operations: Complex infrastructures, numerous processes, and several stakeholders are involved in the application development, delivery, and maintenance process. We need an intuitive setup to ensure that breaches do not occur in such complex arrangements. Observability should not only be limited to IT teams. It should also be accessible by users across the enterprise to respond to network, app, and service performance flags. And they will need to be able to do this without specialized, extensive training or possessing in-depth skills. The observability of the future must enable everybody, from customer success teams to salesforce admins to product owners, to get real-time visibility into their functions within the organization's operations.
A unified system of records: Organizations seek a solution that provides a holistic view of monitoring, tracing, and logging. Today's observability solution lives and works reasonably in isolation, but a comprehensive, unified ecosystem is on the cards. The observability solution of the future will enable faster, more straightforward analysis by feeding all the data into a centralized system. The centralized system will aggregate the data in real-time, saving organizations the pitfalls of data decay and will provide authorized users with advanced analytics capabilities at their fingertips.
End-to-end observability: We will see a steady rise in the demand for solutions that will provide observability of cloud-native environments as the world rapidly adopts cloud-based infrastructure. This includes tracking and resolving issues with cloud-based technologies like serverless functions and Kubernetes. Many businesses use multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud strategies, consequently making it crucial to have solutions that can monitor and troubleshoot across multiple cloud environments. Also, with the adoption of open-source technologies by businesses, there will be a rise in demand for open-source observability solutions that can interact with the current infrastructure. Companies will find it essential to have distributed tracing across boundaries and possess the same level of visibility into all their third-party cloud dependencies as they have with their systems and software
More Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered solutions: As IT's footprint expands, managing application environments with human teams alone will become increasingly difficult. As the volume of data and the number of systems to monitor increase, businesses will face challenges to do more with less. With AI-powered alerting and remediation tools, IT teams can proactively optimize and resolve issues more accurately before they become full-blown problems. AI-based solutions that can automatically detect and diagnose performance issues and provide proactive recommendations for optimization will become more prevalent, making trustworthiness a crucial requirement for any AI solution.
Scalable to a whole new level: The words 'scalability' and 'cloud' have been closely related since the beginning. It's no surprise that future observability solutions will be expected to be more scalable than they are to accommodate the demands of growing and shrinking business needs (without, of course, having to pay exorbitant prices). They will also need to possess a good level of self-regulation and furnish more real-time, in-depth analytics capabilities. This will enable better IT environment cost evaluation and help enterprises frequently rightsize deployments while minimizing budget and resource wastage.
The observability tools of tomorrow are already taking shape today!
Undoubtedly, teams in IT and DevOps are under increasing pressure to resolve issues more quickly, understand their root causes, and help prevent them. Fast-paced CI/CD pipelines and the overall boom in cloud adoption demand more efficient systems, and observability is one of the frontrunners. With organizations understanding observability better than ever, it is evident that observability adoption by IT ops has taken off and has gone mainstream. Though we have seen reasonable success with it, leading players who house and process vast amounts of data are finding it insufficient and are steadily bringing improvements to the observability process. We are already in the midst of creating next-generation observability tools.
What our customers say about observability
As we look toward the future of observability, I spoke with some customers about what they expect from tomorrow's observability solutions. Here are the top thoughts:
- Want increased connectivity between VSM and observability: I want a nexus between value stream management and observability data in the future. For customers, value outcomes are measured in terms of referrals, NPS reviews, and P&L. But these indicators have a lag. Observability has the potential to provide us with leading indicators to tell us what the customer is experiencing in real time and how it will affect their behavior.
- Security: With advancements in open telemetry, it is necessary to account for security as another fundamental pillar of observability. Security has increasingly become relevant to development teams, SREs, and stakeholders. To keep software components secure and free of vulnerabilities, events, security data, and CVEs must be incorporated to give a deep correlation with logs, metrics, and traces.
- More scalable and wider access to information: I want the observability solutions of the future to be more scalable than they are today. Because of the rising number of distributed systems and the associated operational complexity, gaining access to observability data is becoming increasingly essential for decision-makers. Observability today has visibility gaps, but we anticipate these gaps to shrink. Not just IT and tech teams, but other functions also should be able to leverage observability data in real-time to achieve business goals.
The future of observability is just around the corner.
The observability tools in the future will enable engineers to have a clearer view of systems and possess highly accurate information instead of assuming or trying to correlate logs, traces, and metrics. This alone, in my opinion, can save engineers a lot of time and effort that they could direct elsewhere. To summarize: The future looks promising for observability, and I can't wait to see the developments it will bring. Feel free to share your experiences and thoughts on observability in the comments section below.