Modern applications are more complex, more distributed and more loosely coupled than ever before. Because of that, a lot of software companies are running into an Observability Problem: they cannot monitor at the same time each separate nook and cranny of their software.
When you don’t have your eyes everywhere, issues necessarily float underneath your radar. And even when you do notice an issue in some part of your app (like the backend for example), it prevents you from getting the full context behind how they impact your users and the rest of your software.
Modern debugging requires modern methods and tools. And for that, monitoring is no longer enough, you need an Observability Strategy.
Observability allows you to keep an eye across your entire stack
“Nines don’t matter if users aren’t happy”. If you want to claim that you are delivering a software of quality, it needs to be true for all your users. Even if your services are reliable 99.8% of the time, your users could still be experiencing bugs or performance issues. And in the end, that is what matters.
Monitoring only answers the questions you predict. It’s like focusing your lens on areas or components you think are likely to misbehave after an update.
But what this means is that you don’t have a global view over all these isolated systems. While you’re busy checking out weird exceptions in your frontend console, other parts of your app could be affected by some imperceptible butterfly effect.
When you want your website to be bug-free for all your users, you need a global view over all these isolated systems. What this means is that you need to aggregate all your different monitoring logs and debugging information within a unified system. This is how you turn your Monitoring into Observability: when you have an overarching eye over everything.
Observability allows you to get the full context behind every issue
If you have visibility over all the separate parts of your software from within a single platform, it becomes much easier to see its impact on the rest of your stack.
Imagine your error reporting tool detects an anomaly: it sends you an alert with a stack trace. From there, you can assess the steps that led to that issue and attempt to solve it. But what you don’t see is the context: - How did that issue affect my users? - How did the rest of my stack behave?
A good Observability strategy means that you can see everything that is happening across your stack, at all time. And this has the great benefit on allowing you to focus on bug fixing, rather than bug detection. It allows you to pinpoint issues across your software, from within a single application. That way, as soon as an issue arises it is instantly noticeable.
If you want to know how to build your Observability Strategy, check out this guide we wrote on the information you need to focus on and how you can unify it within a single platform.