How to shop for network observability tools

Network observability tools can help enterprises more quickly identify, troubleshoot, and resolve performance issues across complex environments before they impact end-user productivity.

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Cloud providers are also realizing they cannot be a roadblock when it comes to how their services support businesses. According to IDC’s Leary, cloud vendors are providing more insights into their environments to help companies understand how they could be impacting performance.

“The cloud is driving more and more of the digital experience, and if you cannot see into those clouds or have any blindness in relation to those cloud services, you will hit that wall and the finger pointing will start.” Leary says. “Contributions by the suppliers is a much more important part of the game as we look at larger observability and IT automation projects to mitigate threats, solve problems, avoid problems, and watch out for customers.”

Shift toward open-source telemetry

Part of the integration requirements for network observability can be addressed with a standard known as OpenTelemetry. OpenTelemetry is a framework that enables tools to capture telemetry data from cloud-native software, and it looks to collect observability data from traces, metrics and logs. This type of standard support in network observability tools is becoming a must-have feature because of how important it is for tools to share data so IT can get the complete picture and identify anomalies that might impact performance.

“Increasingly customers want OpenTelemetry support in their network observability product. It is becoming a de facto standard,” IDC’s Elliot says. “OpenTelemetry understands how systems are exchanging data so that one system can look at another’s and communicate what that means to IT. This is a very hot area in which a lot of vendors are competing.”

In the big picture, there is no one-size-fits-all network observability tool for every environment. Understanding the capabilities available from providers will help IT buyers determine which tool might be the best fit for their specific environment. Ultimately, IT leaders need to be confident that they know how their applications and services are performing before a problem occurs.

“Wouldn’t it be better if you could have the information needed to prevent the problem? Avoiding problems is a much more successful strategy,” IDC’s Leary says. “Network observability tools should provide that visibility and those insights into your infrastructure so you can head off those performance problems or security threats before they directly impact customers or workers become less productive.”

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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