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The State of Observability 2021

Global research reveals that observability improves performance, customer experiences — and the bottom line.

Observability leaders are 4.5x more likely to report strong success with digital transformation.


Observability gets results

We surveyed ITOps and developer teams worldwide to identify the qualities of leading organizations — then measured the outcomes of their observability efforts:


  • 2.9 times better visibility into application performance
  • 2.3 times better visibility into security posture
  • Almost 2 times better visibility into public cloud infrastructure


Attributes of observability leaders

Observability leaders share four key factors of success. Only 11% measured up; 29% were intermediate (three factors), and 60% were beginners (0-2 factors). The factors:


  • Experience: Length of time maintaining an observability practice
  • Data correlation: Extensive ability to correlate data across IT systems
  • Vendor rationalization: Progress from scattershot tooling toward a platform approach
  • AI/ML: Use of artificial intelligence/machine learning within observability tools
Leaders: 11% Intermediate: 29% Beginners: 60%
68% of orgs deploy cloud-native apps across a complex combination of public cloud and on-premises infrastructure.


Key challenges

Respondents identified the greatest problems they face in evolving strong observability practices, including technology, infrastructure, culture and internal support.


  • Asked to name their No. 1 problem, technology (41%) led infrastructure complexity (25%), culture (18%) and internal support (10%).
  • 53% say they only use cloud providers’ native tools — limiting visibility in a hybrid, multicloud world.
  • Developers admit they don’t use observability tools nearly as much as ops teams think they do.


How to be a leader

Observability excellence is foundational to success for modern organizations. The report outlines how to up your game, including:


  • Prioritizing the biggest challenge: data collection and correlation.
  • Rationalizing your vendor list: Commit to broad reach, deep insights and extreme flexibility.
  • Trusting the algorithms: AI/ML and automation help achieve scale and velocity.
  • Doubling down on DevOps: Roles, processes and culture matter.
87% of respondents value observability solutions that work regardless of architecture

Observability is essential. Take the lead.