October 4, 2021, at 15:39 UTC, was the exact time when the online world stopped as Facebook was down for 6-7 hours. The result was a trickle-down effect on online businesses that relied on Facebook for their traffic and, of course, the users.
Estimates said that Facebook lost almost $65 Million in ad revenue during this downtime. Stock prices and cascading effects on other businesses who rely heavily on Facebook for their business are not calculated.
Imagine something like this happening in your business; it would be a nightmare, wouldn't it?
So we would talk about something that would help in reducing these downtimes, and that is Observability.
What is Observability, and how can it help?
Is Observability a new concept? Or just a passing buzzword? A little context will help answer these questions.
Observability measures how well businesses can infer the internal states from their external outputs. Simply put, Observability is how well you can understand your complex system. How do you harness and drive new insights from all the chaos as your applications grow in complexity?
One of the key benefits of working with older technologies was the limited failure modes. When things went wrong, it was pretty easy to understand why. Most older systems failed in the same few ways, time and time again.
At first, monitoring tools attempted to highlight what was happening with software performance. You could trace application performance by monitoring data and time-series analytics. It was a manageable process until systems became more complex. Today, the possible causes of failure are abundant.
The problem is many developers cannot predict all of their software's failure modes in advance. Often, there are too many possibilities, some of which are genuine unknown unknowns. You cannot fix a problem that does not even exist yet.
Why should businesses care about Full-Stack Observability?
To keep up with the complexities of the modern world, you need a step function improvement.
As we witnessed in the case of the Facebook outage, the failure patterns are more often than not challenging to isolate. It will not be sufficient to monitor for known problems. You must connect symptoms to a problem and solve it when an unexpected failure scenario occurs. Full-stack Observability tends to raise the bar in what type of visibility we can encounter in the case of complex systems. Let's say you have a lot of users interacting with the systems; you not only want to understand if there is a problem from your backend or your application but also understand the impact on the users or the internal or external events that led to the outage. It makes room for end-to-end visibility that you wish to have.
Moreover, businesses have to rely on multiple monitoring tools for infrastructure or network or implement an APM tool, which are all generally disconnected. As a business, you will have to dodge between multiple teams and dashboards to detect and then troubleshoot the problem. Ideally, for better functionality, it is necessary to bring all such metrics together. Full Stack Observability puts the puzzle pieces together and gets businesses to grips with out-of-the-blue circumstances.
How can anomaly detection help businesses?
Businesses of today have to deal with rapidly changing datasets. Continuously keeping tabs on dashboards & large number of KPIs becomes a priority when an outage of a few hours can disrupt the business's functioning. It has become the need of the hour to set up anomaly detection tools to raise smart alerts when any of the thousands of KPIs deviate from their pattern.
Detecting anomalies with Observability tools can help monitor and diagnose the root cause and save you the aftermath. Without full-stack Observability, businesses fail to determine any abrupt changes in the known datasets, forget about detecting the unknowns. Small Businesses take time to fully recover and compensate for the loss inflicted due to unanticipated anomalies as what happened recently after Facebook went down.
However, the need of the hour is not to cry about what you have lost but to ensure that your business is immune to such challenging circumstances. Using open-source tools like Chaos Genius to raise smart alerts can help auto-detect anomalies in your Business and System metrics. It enables businesses to be better prepared for the unknown.
To not let another outage or any such unforeseen situation give your business a hard time, it’s best you adopt Business Observability in your organisation. Observability helps you understand what is going on with your KPIs, monitor how they are doing, and get the information you need to troubleshoot any anomaly or outage. Invest in Business Observability today, to keep your worries of late detection and manual root cause analysis off the table.