Many businesses are chasing the dream of full stack observability (FSO) in order to achieve greater operational resiliency.  

When enterprises establish FSO, they are able to leverage data from logs, metrics and traces to gain real time or near real time understanding of application availability and performance, and infrastructure endpoint status regardless of hosting model, including serverless technologies. Additionally, business Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are captured through business systems to get a view of business outcomes. To paint the complete FSO picture, the relations among these entities must be established and put into their current context.

While application performance monitoring (APM) tools have evolved from simple event monitoring into more complex monitoring entities, by themselves they cannot establish these relationships. 

What’s required for this is to have a superior AI engine sitting at the heart of FSO, continuously capturing the massive amount of log, event, metrics and trace data, and supporting contextualization, aggregation, de-dump and correlation. Data from cloud platforms through APIs and application traces through Open Telemetry further enrich the AI engine.  

Attain progressive levels of IT maturity

The intelligent output from AI should be coupled with a powerful user interface that is intuitive and provides actionable insights. With all this in hand, businesses can advance first from a reactive to a proactive environment, and then to a predictive one.

Companies can expect the following FSO benefits:

  • Immediate reduction in mean time to repair (MTTR). With visibility into impact, insights into system components and their relationships and AI assisting with root cause detection, it takes much less time to identify root cause and resolve an outage.
  • Better problem management. With broader and deeper visibility into distributed and complex systems across the enterprise comes insight into the inner workings of applications. Visibility into their performance increases awareness among support teams and fuels better use of real time dashboards, helping improve application availability.
  • Improved application development. Seeing real time performance and traces for an application allows developers to get a deep understanding of how their code is really working and determine how it can be improved. This insight into code further extends into infrastructure and enables implementation of better technical landscape and capacity management aligned with business outcomes.
  • Realtime visibility into performance along with implementation of proper CI/CD pipeline. To achieve higher velocity, a real time and deep monitoring view provided by FSO is required. With higher velocity you get a faster code to cash at reduced risk.

Next steps for FSO

Like any good monitoring system, FSO is incomplete without alerts and related integrations with notification tools. Dashboards can serve the purpose of surfacing data from ITSM systems in a timely way, with appropriate information about the severity levels of incidents.

For an oil and gas customer that had been using traditional event-based monitoring and had minimal visibility into application availability, DXC implemented a top-rated application performance monitoring system, which included monitoring cloud-native applications, and built over 150 dashboards into the platform to support its FSO journey. The platform was integrated into ITSM for both configuration management database (CMDB) as well as incident integration. Agile DevOps teams covering operations as well as application development were onboarded and trained to use  the platform. As a result of this work, the company reduced the cost of managing the apps portfolio across business units by 30 to 40%, as well as saw a 30% reduction in MTTR and 30% improvement in operations productivity.

With upsides like these possible, it’s no wonder that more companies are moving forward with FSO: In a recent report more than half of businesses have started the transition to full-stack observability, and a further 36% had plans to do so this year.

 

About the author

About the author

Tushar Patwardhan is the leader for applications service line innovation and automation at DXC Technology, and he’s also in charge of the company’s hyperautomation program. Tushar has deep experience in managing innovation for applications, leading and delivering application services projects for customers across various industries, and directing large business-transformation projects.