The More You Monitor – What Are the Three Pillars of Observability?

3 pillars of observability

In this episode of The More You Monitor Product Manager, Chris Sternberg, breaks down the three pillars of observability and how they can help you gain better control and visibility of your infrastructure, applications, and networks. It’s important to remember that although these pillars are key to achieving observability, they are only the telemetry and not the end result.

Video Transcription

Welcome to this episode of The More You Monitor! I’m Chris Sternberg, a Product Manager here at LogicMonitor. In this video we’ll be walking through the three pillars of observability. I’ll cover why a data-first approach to monitoring not only your infrastructure, but also your applications and log data, gives your organization more visibility into the health and performance of your systems without having to rely on additional coding and services. 

You might be wondering what the difference is between monitoring and observability. Monitoring can best be described as keeping tabs on the underlying systems, applications and infrastructure your business depends on. Through monitoring, your teams can be alerted to any potential slow-downs or disruptions. Observability, on the other hand, is an overall approach that leads you to full visibility into and control over your business systems, hybrid infrastructure, and applications by using the data outputs coming from your logs, infrastructure, and applications.

We like to say there are three pillars of observability: Logs, Metrics, and Traces.

Logs are the historical records of your systems. They are time-stamped and often come in either binary or plain text as well as structured logs which combine text and metadata, making them easier to query. Logs allow you to look back and see what’s gone wrong within a system.

Metrics can be a wide range of values, monitored over a period of time. Metrics are often key performance indicators such as CPU capacity, memory usage, latency, or anything else that provides insights into the health and performance of your system. The changes in these metrics allows teams to gain a better understanding of the end performance of the system. Metrics provide modern businesses a measurable means by which to improve the user experience.

Traces are a way to record a user’s journey through your application or system. A trace records the user’s interaction and requests within the system, starting from the user interface through to the backend systems, and then back to the user once their request has been processed. Every operation performed, from clicking on a tab within your application to that tab loading in the GUI, is recorded as part of the trace. This becomes especially useful when a single request goes through the multiple containerized microservices that are so common in today’s complex applications. Traces help SREs and other ITOps and DevOps team members quickly identify chokepoints or breakdowns within the application or system.

By combining these three types of telemetry from a variety of sources within a single platform like LogicMonitor, ITOps and DevOps teams are able to collaborate more effectively to create a ‘big picture’ view and achieve greater visibility into the systems they are responsible for. This allows a business to reduce MTTR, meet or even exceed SLAs, and work in a more collaborative way to develop, deploy and iterate on systems and applications quicker and more efficiently than ever before!

Looking for even more information on how to achieve observability and unify your ITOps and DevOps teams? Check out logicmonitor.com/platform-demo. And while you’re there make sure to check out all of our other helpful content and resources. Thanks for joining me on this episode of The More You Monitor!

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