Observability is Mission Critical
September 14, 2021
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While 90% of respondents believe observability is important and strategic to their business — and 94% believe it to be strategic to their role — just 26% noted mature observability practices within their business, according to the 2021 Observability Forecast, from New Relic.

Recognizing the importance of closing that gap, 81% of C-Suite executives expect to increase their observability budget in the coming year with 20% expecting budgets to increase significantly.

"IT teams are under more pressure than ever to ship new features faster, minimize downtime and resolve issues before they ever impact customers," noted Buddy Brewer, GVP & GM, New Relic. "With the accelerated shift to digital resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the roles of software engineers and developers have become more critical today, as has empowering them with a data-driven approach to observability so they can plan, build, deploy and run the great software that delivers great digital experiences for their customers, employees and partners."

During the pandemic, most organizations accelerated their digital transformation initiatives by as much as three or four years. This phenomenon has condensed software development cycles and burdened data pipelines, making both increasingly complex for engineers and developers with multiple stages of telemetry ingest, processing and compounded interdependencies between various systems of record, applications, infrastructure and networks.

Yet despite the promises and because digital experiences are built on thousands of microservices, today's monitoring tools often require engineers to spend an unreasonable amount of time stitching together siloed data and switching context between a patchwork of insufficient analysis tools for different parts of the tech stack — only to discover blindspots because it's too cumbersome and too expensive to instrument the full estate. And even then, engineers get stuck at what is happening, instead of being able to focus on why it's happening.

In fact, 72% of our global survey respondents noted having to toggle between at least two and 13% between ten different tools to monitor the health of their systems.

This all comes at significant cost to businesses — in shipping delays, slow responses to outages, poor customer experiences and time wasted that engineers could have spent on the higher priority, business-impacting and creative coding they love.

Consolidating tools into a single, unified observability platform is among the research report's five key insights for charting an organization's path to achieving modern observability. Adopting a data-driven approach for end-to-end observability, expanding observability across the entire software ecosystem, modernizing the IT budget for full-stack observability and upleveling the value of observability to further engage the C-Suite round out the list.

"The art and science of planning, building, deploying and operating great software has changed forever," noted Brewer. "Modern observability — taking a data-driven approach by pairing a unified data platform for all telemetry with full-stack analysis tools wrapped in a consumption-based pricing model that makes all data accessible to all engineers — positions IT teams to improve uptime and reliability, drive operational efficiency and deliver exceptional customer experiences that fuel innovation and growth."

Key findings from the 2021 Observability Forecast include:

Observability is mission critical

■ 90% of respondents believe observability is important and strategic to their business.

■ 94% believe observability is important to their role.

■ 81% of C-Suite executives expect to increase their observability budget in the next year with 20% expecting budgets to increase significantly.

Observability delivers clear, positive business impact

■ 91% of IT decision makers (ITDMs) see observability as critical at every stage of the software lifecycle with especially high importance in planning and operations.

■ 42% believe observability helps support their digital transformation with 23% noting it helps deliver better digital experiences for end users.

■ 27% cite faster deployment with observability.

■ 25% believe observability helps the organization be more cost effective.

Massive opportunity to expand and mature observability practices

■ Survey respondents confirmed that outages are on the rise, and that monitoring is fragmented.

■ Unsurprisingly, 72% noted having to toggle between at least two and 13% between ten different tools to monitor the health or their systems.

■ 23% of respondents said that they cannot gain end-to-end observability at all.

■ 74% of respondents note room to grow their observability practice with only 26% claiming a mature observability practice in their business.

■ Additionally, opportunity exists to increase awareness of observability and its benefits in New Zealand and Japan; More than 60% of respondents from New Zealand said they only were somewhat familiar or not familiar with observability while the number was even greater in Japan — Interestingly those very familiar with observability or who self-identified as experts came from Indonesia, India and Australia.

Organizations lack a strategy or roadmap for implementation

■ Only 50% of respondents note their organizations are in the process of implementing observability.

■ Lack of resources (38%), skills (29%) understanding of the benefits (27%) and strategy (26%) are top barriers to success.

■ This could explain why 60% of respondents still monitor telemetry data at the application level, leaving massive amounts of valuable telemetry data unmonitored, thus foregoing an opportunity to understand their environment more comprehensively..

Observability for Kubernetes and containers expected to grow rapidly

■ While the majority of IT decision makers (88%) are exploring Kubernetes and containers at some level right now, 25% are conducting research, 25% are evaluating, 29% are in development and just 10% are in production.

■ There is hope among IT decision makers that this will change as 40% expect to be in production within three years.

■ This is critical because achieving true observability hinges on deploying solutions across all data that will automatically collect and correlate observability data from any and all available sources.

Research methodology: On behalf of New Relic, CITE Research conducted an online survey among nearly 1,300 software engineers, developers, IT leaders and executives across the globe in May-June 2021. This research was conducted in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the US and the UK. Respondents were screened to be employed full-time in Software Development / IT with a designated title. Company size ranged from less than 50 to more than 10,000 employees from a variety of industries.

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