WHAT IS OBSERVABILITY?

How well do you know production?

Observability is achieved when a system is understandable—which is difficult with complex systems, where most problems are the convergence of many things failing at once.

Honeycomb is built on the belief that there is a more efficient way to achieve an observable state in order to understand exactly what is happening, right now. This starts with engineering and the goal of delivering high quality code. This starts with better telemetry and instrumenting code for our future selves. This pays dividends in the form of less toil and more innovation.

A good litmus test for observability is: can you ask the right questions? Can you do this in a way that’s predictable, fast, and scalable over time—i.e., without having to re-instrument or build new code?

Observability eGuide

“Observability” is being able to fully understand our systems. In control theory, observability is a measure of how well internal states of a system can be inferred from knowledge of its external outputs. The observability and controllability of a system are mathematical duals.

Wikipedia

Can't I Observe with Logs & Monitoring?

Our most commonly asked question, “what’s the difference between Honeycomb and others in the market”. Last count there are ~100 tools to choose from and that’s not counting open source DYI capabilities. The answer comes down to ‘what problem are you trying to solve?’ and ‘what is your current workflow and process today?’

Additionally, ‘what is your current technology stack and how much pain are you experiencing when solving problems?’  If your tech stack has undergone lots of change and you are going through scale in the form of increased user volume or release frequency, then you are likely in pain. Is  your team spending too much time on-call and struggling with technical debt? The answer is often “it’s time for a tool review and some change”.

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Is it Time?  Do I Need Observability?

Imagine freeing up 42% of the week to work on exciting new features? Stripe’s Developer Coefficient report tells us this is how much time teams spend on bad code, debugging, refactoring and modifying. It’s demoralizing and pretty boring. Customers don’t like it either and the business suffers. Often existing tools outgrow their usefulness and the more opaque your services, the more challenging it is to manage when things go wrong.

Getting ahead of issues is the only approach going forward.  Start your observability journey now and instrument new services. Very quickly you will see your production on a whole new level.

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