A glimpse into our crystal ball: What does the future hold for observability?

September 29 2021

What will the future of observability look like? Four core capabilities will be foundational to the next generation of solutions.

Conceptual image of woman with tablet and metrics, events, logs and traces aka MELT in the foreground

In today’s complex and sprawling IT environments, monitoring without true observability ends up being like a game of whack-a-mole. The second you knock down one issue, the next one seems to pop up.

Enterprise business and IT teams must be able to spot issues quickly and easily. But it’s not just a matter of resolving major incidents — it’s also about preventing them in the first place. And this can only be accomplished with advanced observability solutions and strategies.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why IT’s growing footprint makes observability essential and highlight the trends, tools and technologies shaping the future.

Why observability is fundamental to IT success

As IT environments have exploded in size and complexity, cutting through the resulting volume of data noise has become a significant challenge. The ever-growing number of moving parts — software as a service (SaaS) applications, networks, public and private clouds, and other connectivity points — make the process of identifying and resolving issues difficult and time consuming.

Companies are also feeling increasing pressure to optimize performance, minimize outages and protect against real, measurable damage to their brand. After all, nearly two-thirds of consumers will switch brands following a poor interaction or experience with applications or services.

The stakes are high, and the demands are intense.

To maximize performance and deliver an exceptional customer experience each and every time, organizations need complete observability. Unfortunately, most of today’s tools fall short of expectations in this area.

The need for advanced observability solutions

Development teams have long relied on application performance monitoring (APM) solutions to track and monitor events, logs and traces. It’s a tried-and-true approach to optimizing performance, uptime and the user experience.

However, many enterprises have gone all in on monitoring at the expense of true observability. While monitoring tells you when something’s wrong, observability gives you the context that you need to fully understand what happened — and how to fix it.

Monitoring solutions also still tend to operate in silos, resulting in widespread visibility gaps. These gaps can be especially challenging to fill in hybrid IT environments where core databases reside on premises and computing is handled in the cloud.

In response, organizations have begun increasing the number of observability tools in their proverbial toolboxes. (Research shows that 63% of DevOps pros use more than one, with nearly 14% of them using five or more.) And while this is a step in the right direction, it’s not necessarily efficient — or sustainable. At some point, they’ll need to replace disparate and system-native monitoring tools with vendor-agnostic platforms capable of comprehensive, real-time visibility that spans the entirety of their environment from a single system.

What to expect from observability in the future

The chasm between an enterprise’s ability to observe the farthest reaches of its application environment and the pace at which the IT perimeter is expanding continues to widen, unbridgeable by most of today’s technologies.

To overcome these challenges now and into the future, four core capabilities will be foundational to the next generation of observability tools.

1. Intuitive setup and operations

There’s no time to waste when it comes to optimizing and protecting an IT environment. Observability solutions in the future must enable users across the enterprise — not just IT teams — to assess and respond to app, network and service performance flags. And they’ll need to be able to do this without having to go through extensive, specialized training or possessing particular, hard-to-come-by skills.

The best observability tools will allow everyone from Salesforce administrators to product owners to customer success teams to get instant, real-time visibility into their slice of an organization’s operations.

2. A centralized system of record

Unlike today’s monitoring and observability solutions that largely live and operate in isolation, tomorrow’s observability platforms will be unified, comprehensive ecosystems that all feed data into a central core system of record for simpler, faster analysis.

By aggregating data in real time to a single location, they will allow organizations to overcome concerns about data decay and provide more self-service analytics capabilities to authorized users.

3. Automated alerting and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered remediation

Today 40% of IT organizations already see over a million event alerts a day, with 11% receiving over 10 million. As IT’s footprint continues to balloon, it will become increasingly difficult to manage application environments with human teams alone.

That’s why observability solutions of the future will embrace AI and feature even more automation than they do today. With AI-powered alerting and remediation tools, IT teams will be able to proactively optimize and more accurately resolve issues before they become full-blown problems.

4. Extreme scalability and waste mitigation

Observability solutions in the future will need to be exponentially more scalable than today’s, growing and shrinking on demand as the needs of the business change. (Without, of course, the excessive licenses or outrageous additional costs that most tools currently require.)

These platforms will also need to enable more self-regulation and provide more in-depth, real-time analytics capabilities. This will help enterprises better evaluate the cost of their IT environments and rightsize deployments more frequently to minimize budget waste.

Shaping the next generation of observability tools

IT and DevOps teams are under increasing pressure to not only resolve issues faster, but also to understand what causes them in the first place. In the future, enterprise teams will need to go well beyond reactive application and systems monitoring. Instead they’ll need to dive deeper into the nitty-gritty technical details of every application, system and endpoint to witness real-time performance under various conditions.

That’s why AppDynamics and ThousandEyes — the leaders in application performance and network monitoring — are pioneering the next generation of enterprise observability tools. Building on the range of world-class solutions global enterprises already rely on, the combined power of AppDynamics and Thousand Eyes will finally give organizations holistic visibility and actionable insights across their entire domain.

Get the full story

To dive deeper into what you can expect from the next generation of observability solutions, grab a copy of our e-book Building observability for the future. It’s packed with insights into the emerging trends, tools and technologies that will reshape digital transformation and customer experiences for generations.

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