SREs Need Faster, More Unified Data Investigation
January 02, 2024

Gagan Singh

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No one ever said Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) have it easy. SREs have to deal with ever-increasing amounts of data that is increasingly complex to discover and analyze. Heaps of metrics, logs, traces, and profiling data are also siloed, leading to a fragmented and opaque monitoring toolset to navigate operational efficiency and problem resolution.

Additionally, SREs have the unprecedented pressure to resolve site uptime/availability and performance issues and deliver data-driven insights that get to the root cause of those issues, which ensure mission-critical applications and workloads run smoothly and without interruption.

This increase in data scale and complexity drives the need for greater productivity and efficiency among SREs but also developers, security professionals, and observability practitioners so they can find the answers and insights faster while collaborating seamlessly.

In this environment, SREs need faster, more unified data investigation. An observability solution that provides not only unified data but also contextual-based analysis is a crucial tool for SREs to keep pace with the growing observability challenges, resolve site issues more quickly and easily, and deliver value to the organization by preventing disruptions to "business as usual" that can negatively impact daily operations and end-user experiences.

Decoding a Deluge of Data

To prevent and remediate system downtime and other related issues, SREs monitor thousands of systems that generate important trace, log, and metric data. This data is then used to identify problems and implement measures to prevent system or application interruptions in the future.

However, observability-ingested data can be complex and unpredictable as the number of nodes to monitor changes frequently. To date, it's been a challenge to perform data aggregation and analysis across various data sources from a single query. This is a problem because the ability to analyze system behavior with a combined understanding of multiple data sets is essential for an SRE. They need the ability to correlate and reshape data to unearth deeper insights into system and application behavior and perform post-hoc analysis after an issue is identified.

One way to meet the increasingly complex needs of SREs with speed and efficiency is via new AI-powered capabilities and natural language interfaces that enable concurrent processing irrespective of data source and structure.

Turning the Page on Old Ways of Data Investigation

What will this new world of faster, more unified data investigation look like?

For starters, we'll see reduced time to resolution as this will enhance detection accuracy in several important ways.

Secondly, it allows engineers to identify trends, isolate incidents, and reduce false positives. This richer context assists with troubleshooting and helps quickly pinpoint root causes and resolve issues.

Finally, we'll see leaps ahead for operational efficiency. From a single query, SREs will be able to create more actionable notifications, create visualizations or dashboards, or pinpoint performance bottlenecks and the root cause of system issues.

Concurrent processing will enable enhanced analysis with stronger insights. Operations engineers will be able to get their hands around a diverse array of observability data — not just application and infrastructure data, but also business data — regardless of what source it comes from or structure it takes.

In observability, context is everything. A world of faster, more unified data investigation would provide the ability to easily enrich data with additional context. With this context fed in, engineers can personalize and create an uninterrupted, intelligent, and efficient workflow for data inquiries.

With this type of functionality in place, SREs will redefine how they interact with data, which will democratize access to newfound data insights and transform the foundations of their decision-making.

It's time for SREs to turn the page on the data investigation approaches of the past. A world of faster, more unified data investigation awaits.

Gagan Singh is VP, Product Marketing, at Elastic
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