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Splunk State of Observability 2023 Research Reveals Fewer Outages

Observability has many benefits for organizations, according to Splunk, including helping to improve security and the overall confidence of IT operations to keep things running.

Observability vendor Splunk released its State of Observability 2023 report on May 16, identifying numerous key trends.

Splunk conducted the report in partnership with Enterprise Strategy Group, with 1,750 IT operations professionals participating globally.

Splunk has developed a platform that provides observability capabilities that can benefit IT operations as well as security professionals. Observability is important to organizations because it provides visibility into how services are running and insights into areas where there could be risks.

Among the key highlights of the report:

  • Observability leaders have fewer disruptions. Leaders have 33% fewer disruptions a year than others.
  • Greater visual clarity drives ROI. More than 80% of organizations can find and fix problems faster, thanks to observability.
  • Stronger assurance to meet reliability goals. Having better observability gave 89% of leaders more confidence to meet performance and availability goals.
  • Hybrid applications continue to persist. Organizations report having nearly a 50/50 split of applications in the public cloud and on-premises.
  • AIOps is critical. 34% of respondents found that AIOps capabilities in observability practices outperform legacy solutions by automatically identifying technical root causes.

Xanthos pulled quote

"What's surprising to me is the rapid pace of adoption of observability as practice, and how quickly the industry has grown and matured — it has been faster than I anticipated," Spiros Xanthos, senior vice president and general manager, Observability, ITOps, at Splunk, told ITPro Today. "For example, the State of Observability 2023 report shows that 87% of respondents employ specialists who work exclusively on observability projects. That's significant. "

State of Observability Report Shows Link with Resilience

One of the key findings from the State of Observability 2023 report is how instrumental observability is in reducing unplanned digital downtime.

The report found that observability leaders — those with 24+ months of experience — are four times more likely than beginners to resolve instances of unplanned downtime in minutes, versus hours or days, Xanthos said. Such a significant time savings can lead to significant cost savings, as 76% of respondents reported that downtime can cost up to $500,000 per hour.

SplunkObservability leaders prioritize resilience chart

"As seen in the report, leaders experience fewer outages and digital downtime because they are more prepared to respond rapidly and with more precision when incidents occur, and can pivot quickly when the macro environment calls for it," he said. "A robust observability practice helps a company mitigate risks and fix issues before they turn into failures or outages, which is key."

Key Metrics for Observability

Observability tools enable organizations to observe and measure what applications are doing.

A core part of observability are the metrics that can help organizations understand how IT operations are performing overall. Xanthos said that MTTR (mean time to resolution) is of course an essential metric as it indicates an organization's ability to respond to issues quickly, before they impact customers and result in costly outages.

However, observability also gives organizations the confidence to move faster — using, for example, continuous deployment, the process of deploying changes to production continuously — without the fear of breaking their applications, he said. Another important metric is the time it takes for a code change to be deployed to production.

And lastly, as the report showed, observability solutions help drive better application security, Xanthos said — 81% of respondents noted that their observability solutions strengthen their application security.

Challenges of Becoming an Observability Leader

Beginners will need to overcome a number of challenges if they are to mature into observability leaders. 

Xanthos said the report found that observability beginners are often not using AI/ML in any of their observability tools, with only 8% of beginners (in contrast to 66% of leaders) using AI/ML.

In addition, beginners may have a harder time recruiting talent; the report found that beginners are less likely to have individuals working exclusively on observability projects. Beginners may also experience a lack of confidence or full understanding of their observability toolset.

"It's worth noting, though, that we have seen a lot of movement and progression from beginners that have advanced their observability practices over the last three years since we began this report," Xanthos said. "So I believe there is a good path forward for all organizations who want to advance their observability practices."

About the author

 Sean Michael Kerner headshotSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.
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