When New Relic founder Lew Cirne created application performance monitoring (APM), the key innovation was deep code visibility into monolithic applications running in a data center. He then made it available to every engineer in development and operations as a SaaS solution. Today, as new technologies and practices—cloud, microservices, containers, serverless, DevOps, site reliability engineering (SRE), and more—increase velocity and reduce the friction of getting software from code to production, they also introduce greater complexity.
As the company that pioneered and perfected application performance monitoring, we believe the challenges facing modern software teams require a new approach. The antidote to complexity and the way for engineers to keep modern systems available and delivering excellent customer experiences is observability.
Observability is gaining attention in the software world because of its effectiveness at enabling engineers to deliver excellent customer experiences with software despite the complexity of the modern digital enterprise.
But let’s get one thing out of the way: observability is not a fancy synonym for monitoring.
Monitoring gives software teams instrumentation, which collects data about their systems and allows them to quickly respond when errors and issues occur. Put another way, monitoring is building your systems to collect data, with the goal of knowing when something goes wrong and starting your response quickly.
Observability, on the other hand, is the practice of instrumenting those systems with tools to gather actionable data that provides not only the when of an error or issue, but—more importantly—the why. The latter is what teams need to respond quickly and resolve emergencies in modern software.
Observability helps modern software teams:
- Deliver high-quality software at scale
- Build a sustainable culture of innovation
- Optimize investments in cloud and modern tools
- See the real-time performance of their digital business
At New Relic, we believe that metrics, events, logs, and traces (or M.E.L.T. as we refer to them) are the essential data types of observability. But observability is about much more than just data.
How can you establish observability of your systems? And what results can you expect when you have observability? In our opinion, there are four key challenges driving the need for observability. And to meet these challenges head on, organizations need to adopt an observability practice based on three components: open instrumentation, connected data, and programmability. In this ebook, we’ll introduce you to those trends, challenges, and components.