Observability   Customer Stories  

Customer Story: Intercom Reduces MTTWTF With Observability and Distributed Tracing

By Rebecca Carter  |   Last modified on January 20, 2023

Intercom’s mission is to build better communication between businesses and their customers. With that in mind, they began their journey away from metrics alone and towards complete observability. 

The first step was tooling, and they learned quickly that trying to work with multiple solutions was not the answer. “What people really want is the ability to see different visualizations easily and quickly, without having to hop through various tools,” Kesha Mykhailov, Product Engineer at Intercom explained. “They want to understand what ‘normal’ looks like, and what ‘deviation’ looks like. All they want is a tool that allows them to seamlessly switch between different visualizations and get alternate perspectives on their problem.”

Kesha recently joined Honeycomb for a live discussion delving into how Intercom implemented Honeycomb’s distributed tracing to gain a full-picture view of their systems. 

“Say I want to learn what kind of components or systems go into processing a certain request. All I have to do is open a Honeycomb trace view to see the hierarchical structure of the different units of work,” Kesha noted.

For those who are unfamiliar, distributed tracing is a tool that can be used to debug distributed systems. Honeycomb’s distributed tracing method goes beyond that by combining tracing with anomaly detection for more granular insight into what’s going on with your systems. 

“Tracing is also helpful for engineers new to the team who are just trying to understand the system they own,” Kesha added. 

For more insight into how Intercom implemented Honeycomb for a holistic view of their environment, improved build cycles, and ideas on how you can introduce a culture of observability to your teams, read the case study.


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