AIOps vs Observability vs Monitoring

In the previous few months, I’ve been analyzing and writing a analysis report for GigaOm on this area, which is because of be launched quickly. I checked out about 30+ distributors on this area as a part of that course of and did a deep dive with 20 of them. In that course of, after speaking with these distributors, a bunch of their prospects, and some CXO executives, I discovered quite a lot of confusion.

A number of the confusion is vendor-created, and a few exist as a result of prospects don’t perceive what the totally different phrases actually imply:

  1. A number of the distributors appear to be purposely utilizing the phrases interchangeably, to confuse the patrons. 
  2. Customers are confused with the capabilities of every providing/platform and the true differentiators, as they overlap in lots of conditions.

Principally, prospects are shopping for Observability options as a result of distributors inform them these are a very powerful subsequent step in direction of the “Cloud-native” period. This can be true, at the very least partially, however earlier than you make that plunge, you should perceive what observability means, and the way it may also help together with your scenario.

Observability and AIOps begin with a really fundamental premise: be taught what occurs inside your programs and keep away from prolonged outages. Constructing resilient programs which might be obtainable with excessive uptime is the tip aim for any enterprise: options all work in direction of reaching the unicorn standing of Zero Imply Time to Decision (MTTR). 

Over current years, this has turn out to be more durable to realize. Through the monolith structure days, each dev groups and Ops groups would get full visibility into an app as it’s not very distributed. It was comparatively straightforward to isolate an issue, establish the elements that aren’t working effectively, and resolve the problems. In these days, monitoring would offer the standing of the apps (the metrics portion of it), and logging would add particulars to determine what precisely is flawed with the appliance.

In cloud-native architectures, nevertheless, software elements have turn out to be smaller, short-lived, and ephemeral. It’s laborious to make use of old-style monitoring (aka APM) or simply logging to determine the place the issue is, which is why Observability has emerged as an necessary class, even when parts of it will not be new. 

Observability consists of three telemetry elements: metrics, logs, and traces.

  1. What is going on? Metrics will let you have a look at the standing of the appliance and its elements. Telemetry info, equivalent to software RED (Google SRE fame), which measures charge, errors, and length (response time/latency), will let you realize in case your software is functioning correctly. On the very least, you have to be monitoring the four golden alerts said within the Google SRE: latency, visitors, errors, and saturation. 
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  3. The place is it occurring? If you construct a distributed software, your software will probably be unfold on containers throughout a number of Kubernetes clusters, throughout a number of cloud places, On-Prem, and many others. That is the place Traces may also help. Tracing (or distributed tracing) permits you to hint your transaction from begin to end. By tracing the trail, you must have the ability to work out simply the place the appliance is slowing or what elements are inflicting the problem. 
  4. Why is it occurring? That is the place the Logs may also help. Each machine logs (created by programs) and human logs (created by builders) may also help establish if there is a matter. As a result of you might have narrowed it right down to a particular element in step #2, it’s straightforward to deep dive and discover out what went flawed.

So, how does Observability relate to Monitoring and AIOps? Observability is about full visibility throughout your programs and tying enterprise metrics with technical information, Monitoring is about understanding if issues are working correctly, and AIOps is about getting which means from that visibility. Whereas it might exist individually, AIOps is technically a part of observability. [Note however that there is a school of thought that IT automation and self-healing apps are part of AIOps, which is generally out of scope for Observability.] The scope of Observability, to a big extent, is about serving to you establish the issue as quickly as, and generally even earlier than, an incident occurs. In different phrases, if you happen to haven’t achieved full Observability standing, then you may be losing some huge cash and energy in constructing AIOps programs.

Whereas AIOps and Observability can work with out the opposite, they full one another for a holistic answer. AIOps requires observability to get full visibility into operations information. Observability depends upon AI to offer deep insights as the quantity of knowledge collected is big whenever you do cloud-native, distributed microservice purposes. 


Assuming you might have complete observability info (MELT) which you could feed to an AIOps platform, the latter can correlate the occasions and establish the issue utilizing AI/ML with out the necessity for deeper guide intervention or prolonged warfare rooms. A correctly carried out AIOps system detects anomalies, suppresses incident noise, alerts solely the true incident that wants consideration, identifies the situation and explanation for the incident, and suggests what will be completed to repair it. 

So, in conclusion, observability is the response to the growing complexity of distributed cloud-native programs. By specializing in observability, you’re grabbing the bull by the horns, and you may then usher in Monitoring and AIOps that can assist you in direction of your targets – monitoring to feed, and AIOps to degree up.

Additionally, try my earlier Forbes articles and my different supplies on this matter:  

  1. AIOps is extra about information than AI itself – Forbes – Jul 2020
  2. How To Rise Above The ITOps Chaos Utilizing AI – Forbes – Feb 2020
  3. My current podcast on Observability and Open telemetry – – Dec 2020

If it’s all nonetheless too complicated, please attain out to me. I might be very happy to assist in any manner I can together with your “totally observable, AIOps infused cloud-native” journey!


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