Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to observe your entire application infrastructure?
This concept is referred to as observability.
Various companies utilize application performance management or APM tools to optimize their applications after observing them.
This is because these tools benefit teams to gain insights into application deployment environments to guarantee performance levels will never fall below certain thresholds.
Cloud Observability- An Overview
Cloud observability is a new technology that has taken the world of application performance monitoring and management by storm.
It’s an artificial intelligence-based approach to understanding your applications’ performance in the cloud.
The goal is to enable you to not only see what is going on but also understand why it’s happening, so you can take action and improve the performance of your applications.
AI Observability requires a unified view of all the components that an application has, such as the following:
- Underlying hardware and software components (such as virtual machines),
- Middleware (such as databases)
- End-user applications
Importance Of Cloud Observability for Application Performance Management
Organizations can use cloud observability tools to gain insight into their cloud infrastructures by collecting data from multiple sources across diverse environments such as:
- Physical servers
- Virtual machines
- User experience management systems (UXMs)
- Hypervisors/virtualization platforms
- Storage arrays
- Operating systems
This data can be analyzed using data visualization tools that help users understand trends in their cloud infrastructure over time.
Cloud observability tools typically focus on three main areas:
- Performance management
- Application audit trails
- Event data correlation
Performance management helps you track down slowdowns or errors by providing metrics about how well your apps perform over time.
Audit trails provide detailed information about changes made to your infrastructure over time so you can see which actions caused problems or helped fix them later.
Understanding Application Performance Management
Application performance management (APM) tools are crucial to any DevOps toolchain.
They collect and analyze metrics from across your entire application infrastructure, giving you the visibility to identify and diagnose performance issues early.
APM tools help identify many different types of problems, including:
- Performance bottlenecks in your code or infrastructure
- Slow or unresponsive web pages
- Errors or exceptions that occur during processing
- Slow database queries that cause long-running processes
- Service outages or other unexpected behavior
Benefits of Application Performance Management
APM has become more than just a tool for monitoring application performance.
It’s also critical to ensure that the cloud infrastructure is performing optimally.
Cloud Observability for APM can be improved by adding new capabilities such as:
- Monitoring application infrastructure
- Tracing service dependencies
- Collecting telemetry from user devices
With cloud APM, you can:
- Get real-time insights into application performance, availability, and user experience
- Proactively identify performance bottlenecks before users are impacted
- Identify the root cause of issues faster with rich analytics capabilities, including automated root cause analysis
- Automate response actions so you can fix problems before they impact customers
How Can Cloud Observability Enhance APM?
Cloud observability enables application performance monitoring because it provides visibility into application performance from end-to-end, that is, from the user requesting an application to its delivery by the underlying cloud infrastructure.
Cloud observability also helps you understand how your application behaves as it scales and responds to load changes.
Cloud observability enhances APM in several ways:
- Provides deeper visibility into application performance across multiple environments, including physical servers, virtual machines (VMs), containers, and more
- Integrates with other types of monitoring tools such as logs, tracing, and metrics so you can see how they all work together to understand what’s happening in your application environment
- Helps you manage performance for hybrid applications that combine traditional on-premise applications with cloud-based software components such as databases or message queues
Leveraging Cloud Observability for Better APM
Cloud Observability provides a real-time view of your application’s cloud infrastructure and end-user experience. It also offers advanced analytics capabilities that give you greater visibility into the health of your application.
This helps you identify and troubleshoot problems faster to resolve them before they cause any user impact.
Steps to leverage cloud observability for better APM:
Setting Up Cloud Observability Tools
Cloud observability tools offer deep visibility into cloud-based applications, enabling you to monitor critical metrics like:
- Error rates
- Throughput to detect potential problems early on
To set up these tools, you need a monitoring agent installed in your application or infrastructure stack that sends data back to a collector in the cloud.
The collector stores all the information that is then analyzed by the tool’s analytics engine to give you insights into your application’s overall health status.
Monitoring Application Performance Metrics
Once the tool is set up, you can monitor your application’s performance metrics and log real-time events.
You can use these metrics to measure various aspects of your application’s behavior, including:
- Throughput (number of requests per second)
- Latency (time taken for a request)
- Error rate (percentage of failed requests)
Analyzing And Troubleshooting Performance Issues
Cloud observability tools provide insight into how applications are performing in production environments.
These tools can identify bottlenecks and performance issues and determine where resources are utilized or wasted.
The first function is executed by gathering and analyzing metrics from various sources, such as:
- Network traffic
The second function involves troubleshooting these metrics, which can be done manually or automatically with the help of machine learning algorithms.
Using Data Insights for Continuous Improvement
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to use data insights for constant improvement in your APM strategy.
By leveraging cloud observability features like log monitoring and metrics, you can ensure that all your apps perform at their peak potential. You can reduce IT costs and downtime by optimizing resource utilization.
Examples of How Cloud Observability Can Improve APM
It can help you better monitor, detect and troubleshoot issues that affect application performance.
For example, you can:
- Correlate events across multiple infrastructure layers, including application logs, network data, and server metrics. This helps you quickly identify the root cause of an issue and then take action to remediate it
- Monitor metrics from other systems that aren’t natively available via APM tools, such as security alarms or storage metrics
- Analyze historical data for proactive problem detection and troubleshooting instead of waiting for incidents to occur before investigating them
Here are some more examples of how cloud observability can improve APM:
Cloud observability provides insight into application performance from every possible angle, including:
- User experience
Cloud observability alerts can be set up for specific events or activities so you can proactively identify and resolve issues before they impact users or your business.
With cloud observability, you don’t have to wait until something goes wrong before investigating an issue. With this level of insight into your applications’ behavior, you’ll know exactly where problems exist before they affect end users or business operations.
The operational insights available via monitoring in a cloud environment are thus invaluable to the operations teams of today and tomorrow.
And as more organizations move their workloads to and from the cloud, they’ll need a new way to think about APM.
As we noted above, it may not be enough anymore to monitor an application’s latency as organizations will also need a way to accurately monitor cloud latency to attribute issues to underlying infrastructure problems.
With this additional visibility into cloud environments, such as performance and cost metrics, hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures can address issues before they impact applications.
Featured image by Danist Soh on Unsplash