Observability is high on the agenda of every C-Suite technology discussion, and for good reason. Applications have become the lifeblood of revenue extraction and growth in every business segment and vertical. Releasing features and functionality while maintaining the best possible customer experience is the new battlefield for competitive advantage.
There has been an explosion in cloud services and flexibility in how customer-facing applications can be developed and continually deployed in the wild in near real-time. For the highly skilled development teams and application owners, this unleashes their creativity to push the boundaries of digital customer delight.
The velocity with which these highly distributed Cloud-Native applications are being developed and released creates new challenges when issues inevitably arise. Traditionally, enterprises have invested in monitoring solutions to allow them to try to identify problem areas through changes in specific metrics like the utilization of compute resources or throughput bottlenecks. These methods can have value when the applications are monolithic and hosted in their own datacenter. In the new world of hybrid cloud microservices-based architectures, a new approach is required: Observability.
Observability builds on the capabilities of monitoring tools, which are typically focused on utilization metrics to also correlate with log data and traces. Observability or observing these applications is about understanding these complex systems’ deeper workings and internal states. The ability to correlate these different telemetry types facilitates an understanding of the performance, availability, and end-user experience of the applications being observed. Observing applications enables a more proactive and informed approach to managing, maintaining, and improving than monitoring alone.
New trend: Observability Platforms
The other significant technology trend unfolding in the observability space is the evolution from observability tools to observability platforms. The term “platform” has become a buzzword used to describe many solutions on the market. True software platforms should be more than a set of APIs that allow products to be integrated. A fully-fledged observability platform should act as a central hub that can receive telemetry data from areas of the modern enterprise’s technology landscape and correlate it to give insights greater than the tools available within each discrete domain.
In addition to this, the true litmus test of a platform is that it is extensible by anyone to create new capabilities and address additional bespoke use cases. Imagine you are a cruise ship company, and you want to visualize and correlate your ships and their infrastructure and connectivity via satellites back to the central hub. How would you do it? Most solutions on the market that call themselves platforms are just data lakes/repositories that lack the ability to model bespoke domains and observe/correlate across them.
A True Observability Platform
The Cisco Observability Platform embodies all the characteristics of a true observability platform. The basis of the platform is a freestyle modeling capability that allows for the creation of objects to represent anything that the user wishes to observe and store and correlate telemetry around. The result is you get visibility across any generalized or specialized domains end-to-end. The platform was launched with its first foundational model out-of-the-box designed to observe cloud-native applications. This solution was designed to help SREs, and Developers find the root cause of performance issues in the shortest amount of time. The model can be enhanced by enabling cost optimization, which leverages the platform’s ability for easy extension without any need to amend the base solution in a modular fashion.
The Cisco Observability Platform, released in June of 2023, is light years ahead of the competitive data lakes and repositories currently on the market. It has been designed from the ground up to store, retrieve, and analyze cross-MELT (Metrics, Events, Logs, and Traces) data in a highly performant and scalable way. The UI is designed with extension in mind–whether on the back-end model or the front-end visuals–the whole thing looks and feels more like a platform than a tool.
At the time of writing, tens of solutions are readily available via the Platform Exchange, developed by Cisco and Cisco partners to address different observability use cases and can be enabled by any platform consumer. For example, one partner developed a solution designed to enhance the efficiency of a cloud-native solution to promote sustainability and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
There is a pipeline of fifty solutions being built by Cisco and Cisco partners globally. While many Observability solutions claim to be a platform, Cisco, with its Observability Platform, is the only Tech Company with the heritage and breadth of vision that customers and partners can afford to invest in.
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