The Observability Hierarchy of Needs

Building modern observable systems goes far beyond logging analytics and application performance management. Observability requires an intelligent pipeline from infrastructure all the way through to analysis. So what does an Observability Hierarchy of needs look like?

ITOps and SecOps teams struggle to understand complex operational environments spanning multiple clouds, container-based deployments, and ever-expanding security surfaces.

Traditional monitoring is failing these teams in three ways:

  • Exorbitant costs force teams to compromise on what they’re monitoring. Forced into decisions about which logs, metrics, and traces to keep to stay within budget, teams simply can’t store everything they need to stay informed about their environment.
  • Pre-built dashboards and alerts don’t reflect today’s infrastructure reality. Systems scale dynamically, and DevOps teams may deploy code across thousands of containers dozens of times each day. The static views offered by traditional monitoring systems don’t reflect this reality.
  • Monitoring is a point solution, targeting a single application or service. Today’s applications comprise hundreds or thousands of independent services. A failure in one service cascades to others, and unraveling those errors is well beyond the scope of monitoring applications.

Addressing these challenges means infrastructure and operations teams must shift from isolated monitoring applications to holistic observability.

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