Grafana Cloud fundamentalsWhat is observability?

What is observability?

Most people can tell you what monitoring does. Put simply, monitoring measures something and then evaluates the result of that measurement against a defined standard to tell you whether something is good or bad, working within proper parameters or outside of them. Monitoring is useful.

In the world of cloud computing, the real constant is change. You can’t measure your system up against an architectural diagram to know whether things are operating as designed when the system is constantly spinning up new resources and destroying unneeded nodes in response to system load. We simply don’t know what the ruler should look like, much less how to gauge what exists by it.

Observability refers to gathering as much information as possible to enable system operators, DevOps practitioners, and Site Reliability Engineers to ask questions across that information. These are questions that are not anticipated in advance, like monitoring presumes, but rather questions that arise due to unexpected or novel events within a system.

You may have heard of The Three Pillars of Observability: which are metrics, logs, and traces. Grafana Cloud enables all of them.