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Post: 6 Principles of Observability in Modern Applications



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Welcome to our blog on the six principles of observability in modern applications!

Owing to the increasing complexity of everyday applications, and software, it’s becoming quite difficult to effectively monitor and troubleshoot the various issues that are cropping up within the same.

That’s where observability comes in.

It refers to a series of observability practices that are carried out with the help of various tools. These tools enable developers and operations teams to gain insight into the inner workings of their applications.

Owing to the increasing importance of this form of observability, we’ll dive into the 6 key principles of observability that are critical for ensuring your applications’ performance.

So, whether you’re a developer looking to improve your application’s performance, or an operations team trying to keep everything running smoothly, this blog is for you.

Let’s get started!

Principles of Observability

1. Acknowledging the Purposes of Observability

The ultimate goal of observability is to gain deep insight into the behavior and performance of an application with the help of various application performance monitoring tools that allow developers and operations teams to identify and resolve issues quickly and efficiently.

Nowadays, businesses have also begun to utilize Artificial Intelligence to monitor and observe their applications, owing to its wide range of applications.

However, there are some other goals that businesses achieve with the help of  AI observability, namely:


Allows teams to monitor key metrics and performance indicators in real-time, which helps them detect issues before they become critical.


Since observability allows organizations to minutely study and analyze the behavior of an application, DevOps teams are able to quickly identify the root cause of performance issues, if any, and take appropriate action against them.


Helps the DevOps teams involved to identify opportunities for optimization and improvement of the concerned applications, which contributes to:

  1. An improvement in your applications’ performance
  2. A better user experience


Promotes collaboration between teams by providing a shared understanding of an application’s behavior, making it easier to work together to resolve issues and make improvements wherever required.

Thus, on the whole, observability helps DevOps teams to build more reliable, performant, and scalable applications by providing deep insights into the behavior of the same.

These teams can also better leverage the various observability-centric tools and techniques to achieve their organizations’ goals and improve the overall quality of their applications.

2. Data Curation

While data curation may not be one of the traditional principles of observability, it is certainly an important aspect that should not be overlooked.

It refers to the act of:

  • Gathering
  • Purifying
  • Organizing
  • Keeping data sets

All of the above help DevOps teams to quickly analyze and utilize the data sets to draw conclusions.

This is why DevOps teams must establish a clear data collection and storage strategy, which includes:

  • Identifying the types of data that need to be collected
  • Defining the structure and format of that data
  • Determining how the data will be stored and accessed

It’s also important to have effective data management processes in place to ensure the quality of the data being collected, such as:

  • Implementing automated checks to validate the data
  • Establishing data cleansing procedures to remove irrelevant or erroneous data
  • Creating a system for ongoing maintenance and updates

3. Creating an SSOT

Yes, creating an SSOT (single source of truth) is one of the best practices for observability regarding modern applications. 

This is because an SSOT is a centralized repository of information about a system that can be accessed by all relevant stakeholders, such as the system’s

  • Configuration
  • Performance
  • Behavior

By creating an SSOT, the following parties can access the relevant information from a centralized repository and do their respective work in a hassle-free manner:

  • Developers
  • Operations teams
  • Stakeholders 

This aspect is quite important as it allows stakeholders to quickly identify and resolve issues, if any.

4. Measuring the Performance of Your Application

The manner in which applications perform nowadays is quite important as it determines the experience which your customers or users have with your brand or interface.

This is why you must regularly monitor their performance with the help of application performance monitoring tools

These tools collect and analyze data about the system, including metrics such as:

  • Response time
  • Throughput
  • Error rates

By monitoring these metrics, stakeholders can identify trends and patterns that may indicate performance issues.

Another way to identify performance roadblocks is by using techniques such as:

These techniques can help stakeholders identify performance bottlenecks and hotspots within the system and provide insights into how to optimize its performance.

5. High Transparency 

Transparency refers to the ability to see and understand what is happening within a system, such as its:

  • Internal processes
  • Dependencies
  • Interactions

One way to achieve high levels of transparency is by using tools that are present on the observability platform.

These tools collect and analyze data from various sources, such as:

Another way to promote transparency is by implementing practices such as:

  • Continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD)
  • Infrastructure as code (IaC)

These practices promote transparency by enabling stakeholders to see and understand how changes to the system are made and deployed.

6. Understanding Context and Topology

Context refers to the relevant information and data that surrounds an event or issue within the system, whereas topology refers to the physical or logical structure of the system, including its:

  • Components
  • Connections
  • Dependencies

In modern applications, which are often distributed and complex, it is essential to understand the context and topology of the system to ensure observability.

This means having visibility into the relationships and dependencies between the different components of the system and understanding how they work together to deliver functionality.

Observability Wrap up

Therefore, the above principles comprise the six key principles of observability regarding modern applications, namely:

  • Creating a single source of truth (SSOT)
  • Promoting high levels of transparency
  • Understanding context and topology, etc.

By following these principles, stakeholders can:

  • Gain visibility into the internal workings of the system
  • Identify and resolve issues more quickly
  • Ensure the applications remain reliable and perform at the same level 

Businesses can practically implement these principles of observability through the use of:

  • Monitoring tools
  • Distributed tracing
  • Service-oriented architecture
  • Microservices
  • Continuous integration and deployment
  • Infrastructure as code
  • A culture of learning and continuous improvement

Thus, observability is a critical component of modern application development which is essential for ensuring the success of complex, distributed systems.

Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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