How to choose a cloud native observability solution

September 28 2022

Modern application architectures enable technologists to innovate quickly, but building apps in a cloud native environment adds complexity. Here's how to find the right observability solution for your cloud ecosystem.

Digital transformation initiatives are driving the rapid adoption of cloud native technologies such as microservices and Kubernetes®. And IT teams are under considerable pressure to manage and monitor availability and performance across vastly complex cloud native application architectures. In many cases, they’re struggling to gain visibility into applications and infrastructure for large, managed Kubernetes environments running on public clouds.

According to a recent study by Ubuntu-maker Canonical on Kubernetes and cloud native operations, one of the biggest challenges that IT leaders face when migrating to and using Kubernetes and containers is that observability and monitoring requirements are not being addressed.

In AppDynamics’ Agents of Transformation 2022 survey, more than a third (37%) of technologists said their organization has prioritized efforts to generate greater visibility of IT performance within microservices, container and serverless environments over the last 12 months. This shows the growing emphasis that IT departments are placing on these environments and the rise of Kubernetes for microservices orchestration. This trend is likely to accelerate next year and beyond, the study found.

The unique challenges of cloud observability

With digital transformation projects advancing at a whirlwind pace, technologists are under great pressure to adapt quickly and bring visibility and insight to modern, cloud native ecosystems. But this isn’t easy in dynamic, software-defined cloud environments where things change in real-time.

Modern cloud ecosystems present far greater complexity than the IT world of a decade ago. Back then, IT teams managed a set number of servers and network connections, which meant fixed dashboards for each layer of the IT stack, notes AppDynamics Executive CTO Gregg Ostrowski in CXO Insight Middle East. By comparison, modern cloud environments have introduced new levels of complexity, with organizations scaling their IT use up and down based on real-time business needs. And while legacy monitoring solutions have evolved to track both cloud and on-prem deployments, most weren’t purpose-built to manage cloud native environments efficiently.

Why? Because today’s highly distributed systems utilize thousands of containers, generating an immense volume of metrics, events, logs and traces (MELT) telemetry every second. And most IT teams lack an observability solution purpose-built to make sense of this deluge of data, one that would enable them to quickly troubleshoot application and performance issues that span hybrid environments.

Things to consider before choosing a cloud observability solution

As organizations focus on the cloud, they need a cloud native observability solution to help manage their increasingly complex and dynamic applications and technology stacks. This decision isn’t easy, of course, and technologists need a purpose-built observability solution that observes distributed and cloud native apps. And while traditional monitoring solutions will continue to provide great value, problems arise when cloud capabilities are bolted onto existing monitoring and APM tools, which often lack the instrumentation, connectivity and observability features for modern cloud ecosystems. As a result, data remains disconnected and siloed, and users have to jump from tab to tab to pinpoint the root cause of performance issues. Outdated tools also fail to provide complete visibility, instead focusing on a specific layer of the IT stack.

Technologists should choose a cloud native observability solution that enables them to monitor the health of key business transactions distributed across their technology landscape. They need quick insights from the business transaction’s telemetry data to identify the root cause of issues and alert the appropriate teams to expedite resolution. This observability solution should combine 360-degree visibility with sophisticated AIOps capabilities, leveraging the power of AI and business intelligence to prioritize actions in a cloud native environment.

Multiple teams — ITOps, DevOps, CloudOps, site reliability engineering (SRE) and more — need deep insights that provide business context throughout the tech stack. The ongoing cloud migration of enterprise apps is spurring IT leaders to stay up to speed on the latest technological trends — such as how highly distributed, cloud native applications work, new ways to adopt huge sets of MELT telemetry data, and which observability solutions are the best choice for maximizing the benefits of modern applications and enhancing the customer experience and business outcomes.

Cloud observability done right

An effective cloud observability solution correlates telemetry data across cloud environments at a massive scale. It leverages cloud native observability to remediate application performance issues with business context and insight-driven actions. It provides a single, intuitive interface to deliver power and usability, focuses on comprehensive visibility, and empowers technologists to take actions to ensure a seamless customer journey.

Moreover, this solution accelerates the detection and resolution of performance issues involving a complex mix of infrastructure, microservices, containers, and APIs using various IT stacks, multiple clouds, SaaS services and security solutions. By comparison, legacy monitoring tools will likely fail in such a vast and dynamic technology ecosystem.

To glean insights from the current state of the IT stack down to the end user, a cloud native observability solution must be able to ingest the firehose of MELT data from multiple sources — networks, databases, storage, containers, security, cloud services and more. This observability platform should enable actions that optimize costs, maximize transaction revenue, and secure user and organizational data.

Learn more about cloud native monitoring and how AppDynamics Cloud can provide observability across your cloud native technology landscape.

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