In DevOps, observability and monitoring tools are considered to be the eyes and ears of the production systems. But what is the difference between these two concepts? And what do they mean for our DevOps implementation?
Monitoring is measuring and analysing metrics to gain insight into a system or process. Observability is a set of tools and practices for collecting, storing, and visualising data about developed systems.
Read on to understand the comparison between monitoring vs observability in detail.
Observability is monitoring and understanding an application's behaviour, performance, and health. It's also one of the most critical skills for DevOps professionals.
The term "observability" has been around for a while, but it becomes more prevalent in recent years. Google engineers first used it in 2007 to describe their approach to monitoring systems at scale. Today, observability is critical to modern software development practices like DevOps and containerisation. Therefore, it is one of the core subjects of DevOps online training.
Observability is built on principles that guide software design and deployment decisions. It helps teams monitor their applications over time, allowing them to identify issues before they impact customers or users.
Monitoring is an essential part of DevOps training. It helps a person to be aware of the status of their software infrastructure and applications. Monitoring enables one to identify and fix issues before they cause problems for users, customers, or business partners.
Monitoring is not just about collecting metrics and logging events but also analysing those metrics and logs. This analysis helps engineers determine if things are working as expected. Monitoring is deployed by making minor changes in the source code of a system.
Monitoring tools collect data from servers, applications, network devices (routers), etc. These tools can be installed on all these sources so that they can monitor their performance continuously.
In a DevOps environment, monitoring plays a crucial role in ensuring that applications are monitored from both an operational perspective as well as from a business perspective.
For example, if an application has been down for too long, it could impact sales or customer satisfaction, so issues must get fixed as fast as possible. Suppose a company uses cloud-based computing services like Amazon Web Services (AWS). In that case, the software must be compatible with all the platforms. This means setting up monitoring tools that can communicate with these services automatically.
The differences between observability and monitoring can be easily understood with the following table:
|Error detection||Using observability, one can identify the problem in the system and what could have caused this problem. This process analyses the data provided by monitoring and creates an understanding of the system, which includes the system's health and performance.||Monitoring notifies whether there is an error in the system or not based on some of the preset metrics and the log database. Monitoring applications allow one to identify any pre-determined failures in the system easily.|
|Tracking system's performance||Observability serves as a knowledge base and instructs what aspect of the system needs to be monitored. It lays down the indicators that can help decipher a system's performance.||Monitoring tracks the system's performance by monitoring the metrics set by observability and alerts the team in case of any issue with the system.|
|Usage of data||Observability functions by focusing on the surface-level data, which is vital in providing context to the data. It also provides traces and metrics from the software and application deployed in a given environment.||Monitoring focuses on collecting data regarding usage trends and the program's performance. DevOps engineers deploy well-monitored programs to efficiently collect data on the health and performance of the software.|
|Assessment||With observability, one can assess the overall environment after the software is deployed and alert the team about issues.||Monitoring only keeps track of important KPIs and warns of upcoming performance issues.|
|Methodology||Observability works like a traversable map and alerts about any issue and tells about the origins of the problems.||While monitoring works in a single plane|
|Information provided||By using observability, one can get complete information on any issue||While monitoring provides only limited information on any point in the performance of the software|
The relationship between monitoring and observability is a complex one. Observability is the ability to monitor, observe, inspect or perceive something. Monitoring is the act of keeping or tracking a variable over time, often with some form of automated alerting and reporting.
One can use observability to determine whether a system is healthy. Monitoring is observing a variable over time with automated alerts and reporting. There are many types of monitoring tools available — some more sophisticated than others — but at their core, they all do the same thing: watch for changes in variables over time and then alert when they occur so someone can take action on them.
Monitoring and observability are core DevOps concepts essential to a successful DevOps implementation. Monitoring helps DevOps engineers track the performance of their applications and systems. This helps them identify issues before they cause problems or impact users. Observability enables them to gain insights into the behaviour of software running in production environments. One can use these insights for debugging and troubleshooting problems. This leads to proper optimisation of the system.
The DevOps training course helps one understand what DevOps is all about, why it's essential, and how it can help an organisation. The DevOps Certificate course covers the tools and technologies used in DevOps, including Jenkins, Puppet, Docker, Ansible, SaltStack, and more. So to get the DevOps Certification, join the DevOps training at StarAgile today!
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