Visibility vs Observability

Solving Problems OR Proving Innocence

When critical business systems fail multiple teams need to mobilize. The Network, Apps and Infrastructure team all play a part in application assurance and the end user experience and accordingly each team plays their part in troubleshooting the problem, remediating it and quickly delivering the right experience.

Unfortunately, an unavoidable driving force for teams in these circumstances is the need to prove innocence and show that their respective domain is not the source of the issue. Each team has its own domain-specific tools to assist, which are commonly founded on classic monitoring technologies – typically not suited to modern distributed IT environments so diagnosis is dependent on a series of independent snapshots and not end-to-end visibility.

Crucial time is wasted determining which team the issue should reside with, and as we know this is not always that easy. Once the issue has been issued to the correct resolver groups it is usually the case that they start from the beginning every time. There is little learning from past events to establish connections between incidents, supporting infrastructure, code faults, app location and cause. This drains resources and prolongs remediation.

What is more, there is often little awareness of the scope of quantifiable impact on the business to drive urgency.

But it’s not all about blame, it’s about better

Businesses are rapidly transforming, particularly in the aftermath of Covid-19. A new focus on web user experience, cloud capabilities and mobile-friendly technology is helping businesses to reposition their offerings. It is forcing IT teams to re-align strategies with modernisation. More than ever, business success depends on prioritising innovation, focusing on the customer, and measuring outcomes.

Some IT teams have adjusted to this better than others. Winning teams have realised the value of performance insight and that old-school visibility and monitoring is no longer enough. This is driving the appreciation of observability over visibility, with some subtle differences that are delivering significant impact, let’s explain:


What is application visibility?

Application visibility highlights information about issues that have already taken place within your network environments, allowing you to better understand the state of your systems retrospectively. By leveraging a monitoring tool, you can watch, analyze and present back data by gathering data logs. This approach considers monitoring tools, services, locations, applications and devices.


What is application observability?

Observability provides real-time information about issues taking place in the present. By leveraging a wider understanding of the systems at hand, this approach can provide deeper, more intelligent data for your organisation, thereby allowing your internal teams to be more proactive in tackling issues.


What is the difference between IT visibility and observability?

Visibility outlines the information that is already available and allows you to identify when something’s wrong. Observability on the other hand, provides contextual data in real-time, supporting deeper analysis that unearths new insights into a specific domain. In other words, richer, deeper and more useful knowledge and context for what is happening within a system and, more importantly, its impact on a business.




The Need for Observability Today

With an increase in blind spots in today’s infrastructure, application observability is becoming more and more paramount for organisations as the increase of threats and issues arise. Observability is crucial for infrastructure and operations teams. Without it, it’s quite simply impossible to monitor performance and service delivery.

Observability is simply an evolution of visibility and now allows organisations to build on what they already have in place, making life for Network, Application and Infrastructure teams easier as they can be more proactive in their approach to tackling issues.


Download the eBook: The Power of Observability

This guide explores the use cases for Infrastructure, Applications and Network teams in leveraging the Power of Observability. We’ve broken this document down by infrastructure, application and network, so you can flip to the part of this guide most relevant to you.