IT performance monitoring is undergoing a major transformation thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and real-time analytics. Many IT monitoring platforms promise new capabilities that will move them beyond monitoring to observability. Even the best analytics engines will struggle to fully deliver on that promise unless the industry changes the most prevalent, metric-in-a-vacuum approach to system data collection.
But before we examine why that change is needed, let’s first define the goal of observability. In one of the clearest definitions to date, Cindy Sridharan describes observability as a superset of monitoring. Observability brings together monitoring, alerting/visualization, distributed systems tracing infrastructure and log aggregation/analytics to provide better visibility into system health.