Observability Tools

This content was last reviewed on
August 26, 2022

Observability is an end-to-end framework for:

  1. Collecting telemetry data such as logs, traces, metrics, events, etc. at both the infrastructure and application levels.
  2. Processing, analyzing, and visualizing that information to identify the root cause of issues.

You need logs, traces, and metrics from all system components to make systems observable. Telemetry data is mainly logs, traces, and metrics. These three are called the Pillars of Observability. Many open-source tools provide end-to-end observability either by using a single tool or combining multiple tools based on the type of architectures and systems in use.

There are many open-source observability tools, which we cover in-depth this other post. Below are some of the vendor-provided observability tools.

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Datadog

Datadog provides Observability Pipelines in addition to APM and other types of monitoring to provide a complete picture for different connected services and the appropriate troubleshooting tools irrespective of whether the issues are related to the database, infrastructure, etc.

Key Features of Datadog’s Observability Pipelines:

  • Collect, transform, and route Observability data in any format to any destination at a petabyte scale.
  • Logs, metrics, and traces can be enriched and transformed, and telemetry pipeline health monitored.
  • Control costs by moving noisy data to low-cost storage and rehydrating data as needed, aggregating data without losing KPIs and trends.
  • Preserve data quality and manage when changes are made with type-safe transforms.
  • Redact sensitive data with custom rules.
  • Reduce event size by dropping unnecessary fields.
  • Enrich data with GeoIP or from lookup tables.
  • Standardize data across services.
Datadog dashboard
Source: Datadog

New Relic

New Relic provides cross-platform observability and all telemetry data can be ingested with their native support for Open Telemetry. In addition to Application Performance Monitoring (APM), New Relic offers Infrastructure Monitoring, Kubernetes Monitoring with Pixie, Log Management, Network Performance Monitoring, Real User Monitoring (i.e., RUM metrics), Vulnerability Management, Machine Learning Model Performance Monitoring, etc. With the wide variety of monitoring and management tools that New Relic offers, it’s possible to correlate issues across the stack for more actionable insights.

Key Features of New Relic:

  • Integrate with any source easily and include data from third-party sources in your dashboards.
  • It supports open standards and open instrumentation.
  • Dashboards, alerts, and integrations are available in one place.
  • Correlate infrastructure health with performance and customer impact.
  • AI to assist with root cause analysis.
  • Provides a live and in-depth view of the network, infrastructure, applications, end-user experience, machine learning models, etc.
New Relic dashboard
Source: New Relic

Splunk

Splunk provides end-to-end Observability for organizations with a suite of products, such as Splunk APM, Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring, Splunk IT Service Intelligence, Splunk Log Observer, Splunk Real User Monitoring, Splunk Synthetic Monitoring, and Splunk On-call for incident management.

Key features of Splunk Observability Suite:

  • In theory, fewer data silos with end-to-end visibility across the hybrid landscape.
  • Predicts potential problems before users report them.
  • Real-time monitoring of any stack, on-prem, hybrid, and multi-cloud.
  • Troubleshoot microservices and application issues with NoSample full-fidelity distributed tracing.
  • Unified metrics, traces, and logs with OpenTelemetry.
  • Intelligent alerting using time-based and advanced thresholds.
Splunk Observability Suite dashboard
Source: Splunk

Dynatrace

Dynatrace provides observability for apps and infrastructure across hybrid and multi-cloud environments and is especially well-suited for enterprise implementations and scale. Its AI engine provides causation-based answers and proactive, actionable insights. It provides a complete view of transactions by bringing together real user monitoring, synthetic monitoring, and session replay. Dynatrace offers different services such as Infrastructure Monitoring, Applications and Microservices, Application Security, Digital Experience, Business Analytics, and Cloud Automation to achieve end-to-end observability.

Features of Dynatrace Observability:

  • Automatically discover, map, and monitor every component in the system, from the application, underlying infrastructure, and experience of all users.
  • Understand resource utilization, network usage, performance, monitor logs and incorporate third-party data and events into the platform.
  • Deep, code-level observability.
  • Track every transaction across all tiers from user click to code-level or database level.
  • Provides many integrations, including open data sources like Prometheus, Fluentd, Logstash, OpenTelemetry, etc.
  • Provides log monitoring, custom metrics, events, and serverless function traces.
Dynatrace dashboard
Source: Dynatrace

Azure Monitor

Azure Monitor has multiple features that help enterprises increase the availability and performance of applications and services. The Application Insights feature in Azure Monitor supports distributed tracing through OpenTelemetry. In addition to APM, it provides Infrastructure Monitoring, Container Monitoring, VM monitoring, etc., and good dashboarding for Ops teams to monitor and find issues.

Key features of Azure Monitor:

  • The Application Insights feature detects issues provides diagnoses across applications and systems.
  • Get VM and container insights features to correlate infrastructure issues.
  • Automated actions helps support Ops.
  • Azure dashboards and workbooks for visualizations.
  • Data from different resources can be collected with the Azure Monitor metrics feature.
  • Change analysis to investigate changed data during development and deployment, and to monitor or triage incidents.
Azure Monitor dashboard
Source: Azure Monitor

Instana

Instana provides an enterprise observability platform by ingesting all performance metrics, tracing all requests, and profiling all processes to make observability work and provide full contextual. In addition to APM, Instana also provides Kubernetes or Microservices Monitoring, End-User Monitoring, Serverless Monitoring, Cloud and Infrastructure Monitoring, Website Monitoring, etc.

Key features of Instana's Enterprise Observability platform:

  • It can be used by different teams to have application visibility because of the ease of use.
  • Automatic Discovery, Monitoring, Root Cause Analysis, and Feedback for applications in the software delivery pipeline.
  • Correlates every application component and service.
  • Provides near real-time metrics.
Instana dashboard
Source: Instana

Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon CloudWatch provides visibility into cloud resources and applications. It can collect metrics and logs from all AWS resources, applications, and services that run on AWS and on-prem servers. With CloudWatch, you can analyze user requests to speed up troubleshooting and debug. CloudWatch Dashboards provide visualizations that correlate logs, traces, and metrics, and there are alarms or automated responses that can be set for threshold changes. CloudWatch ServiceLens ties together metrics, logs and traces from AWS X-Ray to provide end-to-end observability.

Key features of Amazon CloudWatch:

  • Correlate, visualize and analyze metrics and logs to resolve issues quickly and combine them with trace data from AWS X-Ray for full observability.
  • Provides monitoring for Amazon ECS, AWS Fargate, Amazon EKS, and Kubernetes.
  • ServiceLens identifies application performance bottlenecks and isolates them using correlated metrics, logs, and traces.
  • Amazon CloudWatch metrics streams allow you to create continuous, near real-time streams of metrics and send them to the destination of your choosing.
Amazon CloudWatch dashboard
Source: Amazon CloudWatch

AppDynamics

AppDynamics, along with other products of Cisco such as ThousandEyes and Intersight, provides full-stack observability. It provides modern cloud-native application monitoring and hybrid application monitoring. AppDynamics helps with cost optimization by providing visibility into resource allocation, simplifies vulnerability management, and can defend applications against exploits.

Key features of AppDynamics Observability:

  • Correlate code-level application performance with infrastructure health.
  • End-to-end network visibility.
  • Visualize user, application, hybrid cloud, and internet performance in one place.
  • Simplify application resource management.
  • Protect applications with real-time security visibility.
  • Prioritize incidents with App-Tier Node Correlation.
AppDynamics dashboard
Source: AppDynamics
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