Companies in various sectors rely on software systems. Some aspects of these systems can be simple. However, there are a few complex processes involved. Observability is crucial to establish visibility and extend control over these functions. Once observability is determined, businesses can invest in AIOps digital transformation solutions to move on from traditional analysis and management methods. Operations teams will then be able to use insights obtained from the condition of improved visibility to assist businesses in functioning better.
Understanding SLIs and SLOs
The performance of IT operations or services is crucial for a business to function. This one need to measure how one particular IT service performs, and Service-Level Indicators or SLIs are those metric measurements. Now, one cannot use arbitrary SLIs available to measure how a service is performing. SLIs need to be related to the service deliverables to provide accurate results. It is crucial to find the right indicator for a particular service. Suppose operations teams can use the right SLIs for specific services. In that case, it will be easier to avoid certain anomalies and issues that can hamper the growth and development of the business. While it is not easy, it is not very difficult to understand which are the best SLIs for specific IT infrastructure managed services. If the relevant and crucial SLIs are available, businesses can avoid issues like outages or problems with the deliverables that can compromise the quality of user experience. This is how SLIs can improve observability.
Now, before the SLIs are used, IT professionals or the operations team involved in a particular service will have to determine the objectives of the SLIs. Therefore, Service-Level Objectives or SLOs are goals or thresholds that are set for the SLIs. Successful implementation of SLIs will mean that all SLOs have been met and achieved. SLOs are not tricky or extensive and can be easily understood by teams and not just the stakeholders.
One of the primary objectives includes ensuring complete business impact. In the case of metrics for measuring the consumption of standalone resources, it is not easy to understand how exactly the service is performing. This especially happens in the case of CPU utilization, as they need to be interpreted by a Subject Matter Expert or SME.
SLOs need to be easily interpretive. If they are too complex or are not appropriately presented, clients may find it tough to understand the issues with the services and if and how the performance has been compromised. SLOs also need to be related to the overall performance improvement, especially of the business functions.
Once the SLOs for specific SLIs have been determined, businesses should set the Service-Level Agreements or SLAs. It helps the teams, and the stakeholders understand what the service performance needs to be, how much time is necessary for the service, even what to expect if the SLOs are not met.
To ensure complete observability, it is essential to present the SLOs properly. The SLOs cannot be in averages and should instead be as percentages, making them far more concise and intuitive for clients. In the case of averages, the final results may be confusing as determined by the SLIs. However, if the SLOs are presented as percentages, they will implicitly show the aggregate business impact. Businesses can also get statistical outlines that will help determine the observability of the functions.
Observability of software systems ensures they are completely visible, right down to the internal operations. Now, to determine observability through SLIs, after setting SLOs, it is vital to measure the following aspects.
- Latency, if any, and the response time.
- The rate of errors and their quality, especially if they are frequent.
- Availability of the service.
- Uptime involved in the service.
It is crucial to understand where SLIs can be used and what SLOs one can set to achieve the necessary observability. Some SLIs are not in correlation with any business impacts or processes. These include CPU, disk, or memory consumption, garbage collection time, as well as the cache hit rate. If businesses avoid using SLIs for such services, getting accurate insights will be easier and more effective.
Improving Observability with SLIs and SLOs
Businesses often invest in IT operations management software to streamline processes and ensure that customer experience does not suffer at any point, leading to revenue loss. Therefore, it is essential to introduce an observability suite at the business level. The observability suite will help ensure that the highest levels of business performance are being maintained, particularly by the IT and DevOps team. In ensuring proper observability, businesses will be able to reduce downtime significantly and provide the best customer experience possible.
Using SLIs and SLOs to determine the SLAs, businesses can set specific standards for IT service performance. The standard for performance set, companies can seek to enable complete observability, which will ensure that teams have a holistic idea of all services and their functions and focus on specific issues that need to be optimized. As each metric is according to the company’s needs, they can assist the observability suite. Operations teams will be aware of how services are faring and if any standards do not adhere to the SLAs. Ensuring proper observability will make it easier for businesses to overcome challenges related to customer experience and trust, service reliability, and individual branding.
After determining the SLIs and setting the appropriate and attainable SLOs, companies will benefit from an observability suite that is reliable and functional. Such an observability suite will be able to:
- Monitor all relevant data and applications.
- Ensure the availability of resources from third-party service providers.
- Identify and resolve potential challenges involved in the functioning of a system.
- Provide accurate insights related to the condition of the system.
- Enable businesses to achieve their goals and continue to provide better services for rapid development.
With increased observability with the help of SLIs, it will be easier for relevant teams to have better control over the multiple complex systems and functions that are essential for the efficient workings of a business. Businesses will need to invest in IT automation with AI to get the best out of the software systems and the existing observability suite.