Find out how full stack observability goes beyond application monitoring, and why it’s a top priority for IT teams.

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

In the modern application lifecycle, the traditional practice of siloed monitoring has become a significant challenge for developers that build and maintain applications and the IT groups that manage their architectures. This approach involves different departments or teams working independently and not sharing information or collaborating effectively with each other. It has fostered a demonstrable divide between application development and IT operations teams, including SecOps and Infrastructure engineering. This divide promotes several challenges that affect the performance of the application when trying to achieve unified observability of all aspects in the “stack.”

Full stack observability brings visibility, insights, and actions together for teams across multiple domains

Traditional monitoring is built on passive access to information with each team having their own dashboard to monitor every domain. Observability takes a broader, holistic approach of getting different teams and data across multiple domains together to provide actionable insights that are tied to the business. Full stack observability breaks down siloes and moves beyond domain-specific monitoring to correlate telemetry across multiple teams and domains.  The approach provides fullstack visibility, insights, and actions, tied to business context, so that organizations can deliver always-on, secure, and exceptional digital experiences for customers and employees. 

Keep reading to explore the challenges of siloed monitoring, the benefits of full stack observability, and how full stack observability can help organizations bridge the gap between application development and IT operations teams. 

Organizational silos hide valuable insights, slowing your innovation  

As an organization matures, it can be easy to fall into a siloed monitoring practice if there is no proactive strategy for team communication and collaboration in place. Developers today often inherit fragmented monitoring systems built over time in a piecemeal manner, sometimes even for a different era of technology.  

Siloed monitoring practices hurt business growth 

Siloed departments and teams have unique security challenges and pick their own tools, solutions, and software. The divide between these silos grows farther apart as time goes on, perpetuating the gap between app development and IT ops efforts. The challenges that arise from these walled-off workstreams are further compounded by the increasing complexity of application architecture and the ability for individual pieces of a whole application to run in varying runtime environments. 

  • Fragmented visibility gives a narrow view
    In a siloed environment, developers only have partial visibility into underlying systems and overlayed applications. Monitoring data is often spread across different tools and teams. And, the use of multiple technologies, cloud services, and data sources that don’t inherently talk to each other can further exacerbate the issue. This fragmentation can lead to blind spots that make it difficult to identify issues and diagnose problems effectively. 
  • Blocked productivity strains cross-functional collaboration
    Each silo is often blocked from other siloed views and processes, which strains cross-functional team collaboration. This small-picture view decreases the quality of data insights, leads to delays in problem resolution, and hinders overall productivity. 
  • Unnecessary friction slows progress toward larger business initiatives
    A lack of visibility or knowledge of business data can result in missed opportunities, taking on unnecessary risks due to missing clues or trends, and delaying the discovery of security vulnerabilities or potential attacks.  

Full stack observability offers a true end-to-end view of your application 

Organizations use full stack observability to gain a complete view of their application, from the front-end user interface to the back-end infrastructure and services. 

Monitoring had to adapt to the cloud era 

In a world where every consumer has a mobile device, the industry will continue to optimize cloud technologies for the digital economy. Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast by Gartner to grow 20.7% in 2023 to a total of $591.8 billion and shows no signs of slowing down.   

Reactive monitoring is not sophisticated enough to provide the real-time visibility hybrid and cloud-native organizations need to align their teams and provide user experiences that proactively drive progress toward their business goals. A strong understanding of user experience is paramount to any modern application’s success, and organizations turn to their operations teams to help them find the business value in their telemetry data. Observability practices evolved to meet new demands for scale, speed, and complexity.

Move the needle with fullstack visibility, insights, and actions tied to your business context   

Full stack observability takes traditional telemetry data sets like metrics, events, and logs, and adds tracing capabilities that connect multiple domains and teams together. Organizations use the approach to track the flow of data and requests across every layer of the stack, from the initial request to the final response. These layers include:

  • Front-end application layers
    • Code and related security
    • Containers and related security
    • Kubernetes nodes and clusters and related security
    • Cloud and on-premises deployments and related security
    • Developer operations and related security
  • Back-end network and security layers
    • Compute and data storage and security
    • Network layers and network security

FSO - Infographic

Bring proactive awareness to what’s happening in your stack 

Observability offers an opposite experience to opaque silo walls – it provides transparency and understanding. Accurately collecting, organizing, and understanding all your available data points is crucial. The recent evolution towards hybrid work and the increasing impact of digital experience on the bottom line makes it full stack observability more important than ever. 

  • Unified visibility unlocks an end-to-end view of user experience
    Full stack observability stitches together insights from different sources and teams by collecting data such as logs, metrics, traces, and user behavior, then integrates them into a single view. The practice provides a holistic view of the application’s performance available across all teams, unifying application, infrastructure, and network engineers together with one source of truth. By customizing full stack observability to your organization’s specific stack, you can identify big-picture trends and gain a comprehensive understanding of your application’s performance and engagement. 
  • Cross-functional observation aligns team communication 
    Full stack observability improves cross-functional team collaboration by standardizing metrics and logs. This standardization makes it easier to compare data across an entire technology stack, giving teams a common language to communicate and make decisions about application performance. With full stack observability, teams can collaborate more efficiently and effectively, ensuring that they can work together to address issues as soon as they arise. 
  • Streamlined efficiency speeds up innovation
    Full stack observability unlocks insights that inform business decisions, providing improved visibility into application performance and engagement. With faster identification of optimization opportunities, and at worst, diagnosis of issues, teams can work together to address issues efficiently. This unified approach supports teams to align their work with larger business goals, speeding up innovation. Full stack observability allows organizations to stay ahead of the curve, and proactively identify and address potential issues before they become major problems. 

Unlock deeper insights that enable smarter business decisions 

Full stack observability provides a unified view of an organization’s entire technology stack, enabling decision-makers to monitor and observe applications, optimize cost, right-size a particular environment, and even handle or prevent a security incident. Learnings help organizations improve end-user experience, a critical criterion for business success in today’s digital economy. By embracing full stack observability, organizations can bridge the gap between the app development and IT ops teams, enabling them to work together more effectively toward the common goals of improving application performance and providing a seamless user experience. 

Take your next step towards adopting full stack observability

 Watch my interview with Carlos Pereira, Cisco Fellow and Chief Architect, where we dive into the power of telemetry at every layer of IT operations and application deployment. From network layer traffic management to security vulnerabilities in the actual code, find out more about how integrations can be utilized across Cisco’s portfolio to truly realize full stack observability.

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Matt DeNapoli

Developer Advocate - Meraki & CMX

Developer Experience