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Why More Choices Matter With Observability Tools

June 6, 2024

Observability is a broad topic that provides visibility into the key metrics powering customer-facing applications. These applications range from external facing applications ( e.g., Internet banking/online education/e-commerce/government records ) to internal facing applications ( e.g., Trading systems by brokers, Logistics controllers, Traffic Management, and Hotel Reservations). Observability also incorporates backend systems powering industries that ensure smooth operations of tools and processes. ( e.g, Mining systems powering the automation of mining equipment to the robots used at manufacturing facilities )

Irrespective of the use case, Observability gives you visibility through the collection of the metrics that are key to the health of your systems. These metrics give you real-time insights into how your systems are tracking. There are a lot of vendors providing observability solutions that help with the collection and analysis of key metrics together with logs, traces, and profiles.

The challenge is finding the right solution that caters to your requirements and at the right cost. Each vendor has its unique strengths and weaknesses. And, of course, there is the commercial cost involved with licensing, implementation, and continuous maintenance.

This is where Cribl Stream comes in to help optimize these key metrics and route the data to the right solution without needing to change the backend ( agents).

Cribl Stream has native integration with popular Observability solutions (e.g., Splunk, SignalFx, OpenTelemetry, DataDog, Grafana, Dynatrace ) as per Figure 1 below.

Figure 1 – Cribl Stream

The vendor-neutral integrations that come with Cribl Stream allow you to:

  • Connect easily to your existing deployment (sources) without needing to reinstall the agents (e.g., Connecting to OpenTelemetry as per Figure 2 below)

Figure 2 – Connecting to Open Telemetry Collectors

  • Route any observability data to any destination you specify without losing any data (e.g. Grafana Cloud in Figure 3 or NewRelic in Figure 4)

Figure 3 – Routing to Grafana Cloud

Figure 4 – Routing to New Relic

  • Migrate to a new observability tool in a short period of time due to the advantage of not needing to deploy new agents to your applications. Or utilize both existing and future observability tools while migration projects are in place.
  • Optimize the data ( removing duplicates and aggregate metrics ) in Stream before routing it to your observability tool ( Figure 5 ). This makes a huge difference to the value you obtain from your Observability tool as you are able to send more data through Cribl Stream and optimize the data ( Reducing Active Series Count & Aggregating High Cardinality metrics data) without blowing your license limit.

Figure 5 – Optimize Data in Stream Before Routing to O11y Tools

  • Extract metrics from your logs/traces before routing the cleansed data to your observability tool. This ensures you are using your Observability tool to focus primarily on giving you the best value based on the quality of the data you provide.
  • Help improve TCO ( Total Cost of ownership ) from your existing tool by ensuring only useful data is sent to it. This has proven to effectively manage the type of data you forward to your observability tool and dropping unnecessary data ( e.g. Debug logs, High Cardinality Metrics, Removing Duplicates )
  • Take control of your data by choosing what goes to the right tool without losing fidelity by ensuring that the original data is routed to cheap blob storage ( e.g. AWS S3, Google Cloud Storage (Object Storage), Azure Blob Storage ) without losing any contents for compliance/security requirements. You can easily Replay this data through Cribl Stream if and when required for investigations.

Figure 6 – Replay Full Fidelity Data for Investigations

Lately, several changes have occurred in the observability market with acquisitions (e.g., Cisco acquiring Splunk, NewRelic & Sumologic acquired by Francisco Partners). The constant changes in the industry force a rethink of observability strategies to avoid vendor lock-ins and remove the commercial risks of being forced into multi-year contracts as a minimum spend. Some vendors have even included an unlimited ingestion model; however, you are still charged for storage costs in their SaaS model based on the size/disk types of storage allocated and credit utilization based on processing reads.

Open Telemetry (OTEL) has also seen a large customer uptake to avoid vendor lock-in. The vendors often customize the OTEL collectors to force users to route data into their respective platforms.

Cribl helps overcome these challenges through its native integration with popular observability platforms & also being the middle layer that helps you with migrations and efficiency. You can easily utilize your existing investments and connect to Cribl before routing to both your existing observability platform and future one too. ( e.g., Migrating from DataDog to Grafana Cloud/HoneyComb). With the Replay functionality, you can replay data from object storage to investigate your observability tool of choice without any restrictions.

You can try out Cribl Cloud or use any of our available sandboxes to get hands-on experience here. Our Cribl Community is here to help if you have any questions!


 

Cribl, the Data Engine for IT and Security, empowers organizations to transform their data strategy. Customers use Cribl’s suite of products to collect, process, route, and analyze all IT and security data, delivering the flexibility, choice, and control required to adapt to their ever-changing needs.

We offer free training, certifications, and a free tier across our products. Our community Slack features Cribl engineers, partners, and customers who can answer your questions as you get started and continue to build and evolve. We also offer a variety of hands-on Sandboxes for those interested in how companies globally leverage our products for their data challenges.

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