11 Key Observability Trends for 2022 - Part 1
January 10, 2022

Buddy Brewer
New Relic

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These are the trends that will set up your engineers and developers to deliver amazing software that powers amazing digital experiences that fuel your organization's growth in 2022 — and beyond.

1. Observability becomes mission critical

The success of every modern organization hinges on delivering great digital experiences to employees, customers, and partners. That means that business is powered by the underlying infrastructure, networks, applications, microservices, and software that deliver those experiences. This trend has only been accelerated by the pandemic, which increased reliance on digital experiences for connecting with family, friends, co-workers, teachers, and doctors; shopping—and enjoying entertainment online.

This year's Observability Forecast (a global survey of nearly 1,300 IT leaders, software engineers, and developers across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia) reinforced the importance of this trend. 90% of respondents said that observability is critical to the success of their business, and 94% state that it's critical to their role. Also, Gartner noted that they expect enterprises to increase their adoption of observability tools by 30% by 2024.

So what's next? More than 80% of C-Suite executives stated in that same Observability Forecast that they expect to see their observability budgets increase next year, with 20% expecting budgets to increase significantly, further pushing observability to the mainstream.

How to Seize the Trend

If you aren't already, make observability mission-critical within your organization and prioritize budgets for observability as appropriate to systematically measure, improve, and grow your digital business.

2. Observability extends across the entire software lifecycle

Until now, traditional monitoring tools have mostly been used to troubleshoot and resolve errors in production environments. However, IT leaders, developers, and engineers are realizing that they can apply the same benefits of observability that they achieve when running (or operating) their software as they plan, build, and deploy it. In fact, when used across the entire software lifecycle, observability helps to reduce the challenges when operating those production environments. It enables developers to collaborate on code inside the IDE to improve operational efficiency, and gives them rich analysis tools to quickly uncover the root cause and resolve issues to improve uptime and reliability.

Data from the 2021 Observability Forecast showed that global IT Decision-Makers (ITDMs) believe in the promise of modern observability. In fact, 91% see observability as critical to every stage of the software lifecycle. They place especially high importance for planning and — as you might expect given the roots of application performance monitoring (APM) — for operations. These IT leaders see a breadth of observability benefits, ranging from improved development speed, quality, and agility, to cost effectiveness, improved user experiences, and better engineer morale.

How to Seize the Trend

As you enter 2022, enable more of your engineers to use observability across the entire software lifecycle to plan, build, deploy, and run the great software that delivers great digital experiences. Your engineering teams will be able to do their best work based on data, not opinions. You can also better position them to achieve business objectives, from driving digital transformation to optimizing cloud usage, accelerating speed to market — and delivering great customer experiences that fuel innovation and growth.

3. Unified data-driven strategies overtake siloed, multi-tool approaches

The coming year and beyond will see data-driven observability gain further momentum. With end-to-end visibility, engineers and developers will have the deep insights they need to make informed business decisions based on data, not opinions, so they can do their jobs better, faster, more easily and efficiently.

This modern take on observability is in contrast to traditional monitoring methods and tools which employ multiple monitoring experiences, forcing users to toggle between a variety of stand-alone applications on top of purpose-built databases. This creates silos of data that inhibit true end-to-end, enterprise-wide data discovery and observability. The result is frustration and extra, time-wasting toil, that keeps engineers from doing the work they love: building and delivering amazing software.

How to Seize the Trend

It's time to recognize that traditional monitoring tools fall short for monitoring siloed and complex microservice-based data. Empower your engineers with modern observability for a more comprehensive, data-driven approach. They'll see all of their data when they need it, quickly capture insights to make critical business decisions, and then take action.

4. Data democratization ushers in observability for all

The explosion of big data reshaped the needs of engineers and developers, along with what they expect from their tools. Yet with the expanding number of people needing data across the organization, enterprises are facing an entirely new set of challenges to get the right data in the right hands. For example, the only way for engineers and developers to optimize an application's behavior or troubleshoot a "needle-in-the-haystack" unknown failure is to instrument and collect all the data about the environment at full fidelity and without sampling. But until recently, that's been near impossible because it's been too cumbersome and/or too expensive to instrument the full estate.

How to Seize the Trend

With changes in the observability landscape and new pricing approaches, IT leaders are now positioned to implement a strategy that gives everyone in their organization the benefits of observability. With the economics in your favor you can finally get all of the right data into all of the right hands so they can make better, data-driven decisions to do their jobs faster, and better.

5. Tool consolidation improves efficiency and cost

To keep up with IT complexity, engineering teams have had to adopt an overwhelming amount of tools — both proprietary and open source — at a rapid pace. The average organization uses dozens of tools across distributed teams to monitor different parts of their tech stack. Case in point, the Observability Forecast revealed that 72% of respondents have to toggle between at least two tools, and 13% use ten or more different tools to monitor the health of their systems. Even then, 23% of respondents said that they cannot gain end-to-end observability at all.

Instead of helping teams innovate faster and improve mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to resolution (MTTR), tool sprawl has generated an onslaught of new problems. These include requiring engineers to spend an unreasonable amount of time stitching together siloed data and having to switch context between a patchwork of insufficient analysis tools — and even then discovering blind spots.

How to Seize the Trend

Because observability requires data to be ingested, analyzed, and cross-correlated all in one place, the natural next step for engineering leaders is to assess and rethink their existing toolset. Tool consolidation will gain momentum in 2022 as it enables software teams to save time, increase productivity and efficiency, and lower costs. Look at how you can direct your budget to fewer, more effective observability solutions to help your engineers get unified visibility across the tech stack.

Go to: 11 Key Observability Trends for 2022 - Part 2

Buddy Brewer is GVP and GM at New Relic
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