Splunk Unveils Unified Observability Platform

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Content By Devops .com

Splunk today unveiled an observability platform delivered as a cloud service that captures all metrics, traces and logs in real-time without relying on sampling.

Spiros Xanthos, vice president of product management for observability and IT Ops at Splunk, said Splunk Observability Cloud collects all that data via a single agent based on open source OpenTelemetry software to instrument an application.

Historically, application performance management platforms (APMs) have only analyzed samples of data to identify a potential anomaly. Splunk Observability Cloud analyzes all the streaming data captured by its agent software to enable IT teams to pinpoint the root cause of an issue faster, said Xanthos.

As a result, Xanthos said the signal-to-noise ratio dramatically improves compared to legacy monitoring platforms. It will then be up to each IT team to decide how much of that data they want to store after it’s been analyzed, added Xanthos. Pricing for Splunk Observability Cloud is based on the number of hosts employed rather than the amount of data collected.

The Splunk Observability Cloud unifies a Splunk analytics portfolio by including capabilities provided via Splunk Log Observer, Splunk Real User Monitoring (RUM), Splunk Synthetic Monitoring, Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring, Splunk APM and Splunk On-Call. Splunk Synthetics Monitoring is based on technology Splunk gained with the acquisition of Rigor last year.


The Splunk Observability Cloud is one of the first such platforms to rely solely on OpenTelemetry agent software being developed under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to collect data. That project not only reduces the cost of instrumenting applications, it also reduces the number of agents an IT team might have to deploy to collect metrics, traces and log data.

Many rival observability platforms can collect data from OpenTelemetry agent software, but also tend to encourage DevOps teams to deploy proprietary agent software that they claim is easier to install and collects data at a more granular level. Splunk has decided OpenTelemetry has matured to the point where those proprietary agents are no longer required, said Xanthos.

The rise of observability platforms presents an opportunity for IT teams to rationalize a raft of monitoring tools that often surface conflicting analyses. IT teams today spend an inordinate amount of time convening so-called “war room” meetings to determine the actual source of an issue. Those meetings can go on for hours, only to eventually discover an issue that only takes a few minutes to fix.

While observability has always been a core DevOps principle, the level of visibility most IT teams have into their application environments is limited. There is no shortage of monitoring tools, but because there is no unified approach to observing an IT environment, there simply isn’t enough context being provided. As IT environments become more complex – thanks primarily to the rise of microservices-based applications that have lots of dependencies – that lack of context is rapidly becoming a major issue. A microservices-based application is designed to degrade gracefully if one microservice suddenly become unavailable. The issue is that it can take a very long time to discover the root cause of performance degradation.

It may be a while before most IT teams achieve true observability, but once they do, many will wonder how they previously managed IT without it.

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