Survey Surfaces Observability Challenges in the Cloud Era –

A recent cloud observability survey found nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents reported the adoption of public clouds has made it more difficult to achieve observability. Nearly half of respondents (48%) said they now consider providing real-time insights into application/infrastructure environments to be a top priority.

The survey polled 357 IT professionals and was conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) on behalf of Yotascale, a provider of cost optimization tools for cloud computing environments.

Yotascale CEO Asim Razzaq said that attaining and maintaining observability becomes more challenging with each new cloud platform adopted. The survey found that 71% of organizations now rely on more than three cloud infrastructure providers.

A full 84% of survey respondents also noted that tracking costs and cloud cost allocation is burdensome and time-consuming, and 61% admitted they lacked sufficient visibility into which teams own what cloud resources. Nearly a quarter (24%) are considering making changes to their monitoring and observability practices as infrastructure costs rise.

Observability has always been a core DevOps tenet, but achieving and maintaining it is challenging. Most DevOps teams today aspire to be able to maintain some level of continuous monitoring. However, as it becomes easier and less costly to instrument applications, interest is rising in observability platforms that simplify the investigation of anomalies indicative of an issue that could disrupt an application environment. As that shift occurs, more organizations will seek to correlate events with costs as part of an effort to rein in the costs of IT, said Razzaq.

In the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of workloads being deployed on public clouds increased sharply. In theory, many organizations signed enterprise licenses that reduce cloud costs if they consistently consume a certain level of infrastructure resources. In practice, however, individual developer teams are showing a preference for one cloud platform over another based on the attributes of their workloads. As a result, however, it becomes more challenging to not only consistently observe diverse platforms but also to control costs.

It’s still early days as far as the adoption of observability platforms is concerned, but it’s apparent that as application environments become more complex the plethora of monitoring tools that DevOps teams rely on will need to be streamlined. It’s not uncommon for DevOps teams to have multiple monitoring tools that surface a set of pre-defined but often conflicting metrics. Observability platforms unify logs, metrics and traces in a way that makes it simpler to launch queries to identify the root cause of an issue.

The rate at which DevOps teams will embrace observability will naturally vary. In 2022, the biggest obstacle might not be the technology as much as it is simply understanding what queries can help DevOps teams better understand the root cause of an IT issue before there is a major disruption. In the long term, it’s expected that machine learning algorithms will leverage the data collected by observability platforms to automatically identify issues that might lead to a disruption long before it actually occurs. Regardless of approach, however, the ability to manage complex IT environments in the months and years ahead will continue to steadily improve.

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