4 Strategies to Slash Observability Costs
October 31, 2023

Dotan Horovits

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In a world where software systems rule the digital landscape, there's a lurking terror that goes bump in the code. It's called "observability," and you may not be prepared to pay its price.

Observability is essential for maintaining the performance and reliability of digital creations. Like a boat in shark-infested waters, it's a lifeline of modern software. But beware, for the cost of attaining the power of observability can quickly spiral out of control, like a monster lurking in the depths, waiting to strike when you least expect it.

In the darkest corners of the tech world, we hear the chilling cries of organizations, tormented by the relentless rise of the cost of observability. Every dollar spent on technology is scrutinized and dissected. Meanwhile, nefarious vendors take advantage of the desperate need for observability, charging terrifying fees to transport data to their unholy platforms, data that holds virtually no value.

But fear not, for there is a different path, a path to cost-effective observability. Join me as we venture into this cryptic world with practical tips to help you vanquish observability costs, without compromising your monitoring and troubleshooting prowess.

Tip #1: Optimize Your Data

In this haunted realm, one of the most pervasive villains is excessive and irrelevant data. Many organizations unwittingly ship massive volumes of metrics and logs, most of which are mere phantoms, holding no value. To banish this data demon, you must identify and capture only the meaningful data that affects your business. By filtering out the unnecessary, you can significantly reduce the cost of storage and processing, focusing your energies on what truly matters.

Thanks to the "mysteries" of machine learning, we can now unlock the secrets of multi-layer data optimization and distinguish between living and undead data. With the right tools, we can now visualize the metrics and logs that are truly alive, and ignore those that wander the land of the dead. Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions, leading to substantial cost savings.

Tip #2: Manage Data Retention

Not all data deserves to ascend to the observability plane. Some data must be preserved, while others can be released into the ether. By managing data retention wisely, you can reduce storage costs without sacrificing your ability to troubleshoot and comply with the dark arts of regulations.

The key is to segregate your data based on specific use cases and retention requirements. Each use case should have its own set of retention policies, ensuring that the critical data lingers for the required duration while less important data meets its demise sooner. In this way, you can flexibly optimize costs, aligning data retention with its value and importance to your organization.

Tip #3: The Alchemy of Logs to Metrics

Sending logs is like sending a message to the beyond, but the true value lies in the insights that rise from the darkness. Many organizations find themselves drowning in the deluge of logs, trapped in a nightmarish maelstrom of data overload. However, by converting logs into meaningful metrics, you can refine data analysis, visualization, and alerting, all while reducing costs. No longer will you be haunted by the specter of high storage costs, for you can define parameters to generate metrics that unveil system performance, success rates, failure rates, and more.

Tip #4: Leverage Sub-Accounts for Cost Control

In the sprawling mansion of observability, managing costs can be as daunting as a haunted maze. One of the best ways to conquer the labyrinth is to provide cost accountability and autonomy to different teams within your organization.

By allocating specific budgets to sub-accounts, you can impose cost limits on each team while allowing them to manage their observability needs. This approach ensures teams are responsible for their spending and, if done correctly, casts a protective spell to ensure teams only see the data they need for their tasks, reducing compliance risks. Sub-accounts bring balance between autonomy and cost control, like a ghostly guide through the labyrinth of resource utilization and budget management.

End the Nightmare: Cost-Efficient Observability Can Be Your Reality

Observability, though essential, need not be a horror story of costs spiraling out of control. By heeding these practical tips, you can wrestle control from the observability cost beast, all while maintaining your monitoring and troubleshooting prowess.

Focus on meaningful data by utilizing data optimization techniques; convert logs into metrics; master the dark arts of storage and data retention policies; and wield sub-accounts for cost control — These are the keys to achieving cost-efficient observability, without compromising your critical monitoring processes.

So be brave enough to face the shadows and seek the observability you desire at a price that won't cost you an arm and a leg. When you do, the horror of observability costs shall haunt you no more!

Dotan Horovits is Principal Developer Advocate at Logz.io
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