A Common Language

In order to build a DevOps culture of collaboration, product and IT teams need a common language to break free of silos and rally around collective insights. For today’s distributed, elastic cloud environments, infrastructure monitoring is that language. Only metrics and analytics provides the signal and insights that serve as the platform for a DevOps monitoring culture shift.

Just as the rise of agile methodology is streamlining the build, test, and release cycle for faster, more reliable delivery, monitoring is shifting from the responsibility of a single, self-contained organization to a capability that is key to every step and every team in the product lifecycle.

A Common Language for DevOps Monitoring

DevOps Monitoring Decentralized

So what happens to DevOps when infrastructure monitoring is accessible, scalable, flexible, and delivered as a service? With the right monitoring, everyone has the information they need to take part in operations, resulting in faster response, better performance, and, ultimately, more runway to innovate. Perhaps more importantly, operations as a function can be decentralized, and the operations and infrastructure teams can multiply their value across the organization—a key step towards building a successful DevOps regime. How do you break down silos and build a culture of collaboration that uses DevOps monitoring as the common language? What are the requirements to ensure impact?

Gathering our insights from helping SignalFx’s customers monitor ephemeral infrastructure at cloud-scale and from supporting massive infrastructure growth at Facebook, there are at least five major users of monitoring-as-a-service in a DevOps regime. Each has a set of objectives and methods tied to core job responsibilities, but all relate to streamlining the application lifecycle for faster, more reliable delivery and putting in place the safety nets required to develop and push code into production more aggressively.

John Rousseau of OnShape on DevOps Monitoring


Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)

For SREs, important features of DevOps monitoring are dimensionality and just-in-time notifications. Dimensions filter or group operations data into the most meaningful view to understand what’s actually happening throughout the environment. With analytics at their fingertips, SREs can define sophisticated, dynamic alert thresholds based on things like percentiles and duration conditions, and then benchmark against historic patterns to trigger on growth rates or variances. The SRE’s role becomes less about finding signal among the noise and more focused on working cross-functionally to ensure availability in light of emerging trends and noteworthy events that actually affect SLAs.

Software Developer

Real-time analytics and out-of-the-box analytic dashboards are important features of DevOps monitoring for software developers. The faster a developer can see what’s going on in the environment, find the right view for a specific use case, and ask additional questions, the more likely it is that the code, service, container, or other resource can be improved to address the problem. Metrics and analytics become the common language between development and operations.

For those of you who run large distributed systems, no monitoring of the production system is as if you were driving a bus with the windshield covered.

Mikey Dickerson
Head of the U.S. Digital Service

Infrastructure Engineer

With a modern DevOps monitoring solution, infrastructure engineers can own growth as the product scales even if they’re not SREs. Rather than relying on a gut feeling or external benchmarks, capacity requirements can be modeled on actual usage data for better control and efficiency of investment. For the first time, the infrastructure cost implications of software updates can not only be planned but correlated to actual behaviors in real time.

DevOps Engineer

DevOps engineers represent a new strategic perspective on integration across functional areas, openness of tools, and communication throughout the application lifecycle. They see the problem behind the problem and have a vision for multiplying benefit by tearing down silos. In order to be effective, a DevOps engineer requires cloud monitoring that automatically configures to a changing population of components and services as the infrastructure scales. A straightforward UI, a simple search interface, high-contrast charts, slick dashboards, and a breadth of data sources help DevOps bring more users to the data.

Florian Berckemeyer of Sunrun on DevOps monitoring

Product Manager

An analytical approach to infrastructure monitoring combined with application behavior and metrics helps product managers understand how changes to the code affect the customer experience and how operational issues affect SLAs. By correlating operations, customer, and business metrics, product priorities can be set against much more intelligent, relevant, and measurable objectives.

Build a DevOps Monitoring Culture of Collaboration
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