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New Relic Observability Forecast Identifies ITOps Visibility Gaps

Most organizations don't have full stack observability, and it's causing challenges for IT operations professionals, not the least being it's taking more time to detect outages.

To understand if an IT application or service is working as expected, ITOps teams need to make use of some form of observability tools.

The 2022 Observability Forecast report was published on Sept. 14 by observability technology provider New Relic and provides visibility into the observability practices of global enterprises based on a survey of 1,614 practitioners and IT decision-makers. Among the key findings of the report is that only 27% of organizations actually have full stack observability capabilities that enable them to see all the IT elements that enable and support application workloads.

Adding further insult to injury, the lack of observability tooling means that when it comes to detecting outages, 33% of organizations admitted that they primarily rely on manual processes — or just getting complaints — to identify that an outage has occurred. And it's not as though outages aren't uncommon either. More than half (52%) of organizations have high-business-impact outages once per week or more.

Related: Observability vs. Monitoring: Who Needs Which When?

The reasons why organizations aren't identifying outages quicker are varied, as the report identified that IT professionals are using many different tools.

"One of the most surprising data points from the report shows how fragmented observability has become," Peter Pezaris, senior vice president of strategy and user experience at New Relic, told ITPro Today. "More than 80% of respondents are using four or more observability tools, which is having a dramatic impact on customer experiences, especially as software systems, and the teams that build and support them, become more complex."

Benefits of Improving Observability for IT Operations

One key observability challenge is that large parts of organizations' tech stacks are not being monitored or fully observed, according to Pezaris. With the complexity of using multiple tools, only 7% of respondents noted that they had telemetry data located entirely in one place.

While many organizations do not have full stack observability in place, there is some awareness about the benefits. The report found that 36% of organizations agree that having better observability can increase productivity.

Related: 5 Trends That Are Reshaping ITOps

"Respondents from organizations that have already prioritized or achieved full stack observability were more likely to experience the fastest mean time to detect an outage, at less than five minutes," Pezaris said. "The data supports a strong correlation between full stack observability and a faster MTTD [mean time to detection] and a faster MTTR [mean time to resolution]."

Observability Trends Moving Forward

Things will likely change in the future, according to the New Relic observability forecast, as more than half (52%) of the survey's respondents expect observability budgets to increase over the next year.

"When looking at the data, I think we'll continue to see increased spending on observability," Pezaris said. "Organizations are putting their money where their mouth is, as observability continues to be a budget priority for organizations."

Pezaris noted that in the next three years, respondents foresee their organizations most needing observability for artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), as well as for second-wave technologies such as 5G and blockchain.

"Looking out to 2025, we see that nearly all respondents expected to deploy observability capabilities like network monitoring, security monitoring, log management, and more," he said.

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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