Regardless of whether you choose to build your own or use open source or commercial solutions, all observability tools should:
Integrate with current tools: If your observability tools don’t work with your current stack, your observability efforts will fail. Make sure they support the frameworks and languages in your environment, container platform, messaging platform and any other critical software.
Be user-friendly: If your observability tools are hard to learn or use, they won’t get added to workflows — preventing your observability initiative from getting off the ground.
Supply real-time data: Your observability tools should provide the relevant insights via dashboards, reports and queries in real time so teams can understand an issue, its impact and how to resolve it.
Support modern event-handling techniques: Effective observability tools should be able to collect all relevant information from across your stacks, technologies, and operating environments; separate valuable signals from the noise, and add enough context so that teams can address it.
Visualize aggregated data: Observability tools should surface insights in easily digestible formats, such as dashboards, interactive summaries and other visualizations that users can comprehend quickly.
Provide context: When an incident arises, your tools should provide enough context for you to understand how your system’s performance has changed over time, how the change relates to other changes in the system, the scope of the issue and any interdependencies of the affected service or component. Without context at the level that observability can provide, incident response is crippled.
Use machine learning: Your tools should include machine learning models that automate data processing and curation, so you can detect and respond to anomalies and other security incidents faster.
Deliver business value: Make sure you’re evaluating your observability tool against metrics important to your business, like deployment speed, system stability and customer experience.