Full-stack observability: Bringing the business aboard

IT organizations understand their vital role in designing and delivering best-in-class applications and services to create always-on, secure and exceptional user experiences.

In an era where every technology decision is also a strategic business decision, full-stack observability enables IT teams to gain a deeper understanding of an entire environment based on telemetry. Full-stack observability delivers on-demand visibility into the status of every application and infrastructure endpoint. Users can easily access, search and sift through large amounts of data and correlate application performance with business outcomes. 

Beyond troubleshooting, monitoring and preventing incidents within the IT stack, observability also helps environments run cleaner through resource provisioning and hybrid cost optimization. Full-stack observability enables automation and product integration, and with this increased visibility comes faster threat response times. However, it’s considering the needs of the business and then bringing in observability, that can effectively prioritize what matters and help IT teams consistently deliver. 

Before joining AppDynamics™ as Chief Technology Officer, Joe Byrne served as Vice President of Engineering at a fintech company that developed a software solution critical to a specific user’s business. “We had an outage where we were monitoring the backend of the servers, the CPU, the memory, the network — all of these things, but we weren't monitoring the application itself,” Byrne said. “As it turned out, [the problem] was a line of code that had been written seven years prior by one of the developers and just never triggered.” 

The lesson that Byrne took away: It’s critical to monitor the application itself, to “provide an application with an optimized experience.” He became a customer of AppDynamics, continuing the relationship at another career stop, Albertsons, the second largest grocery chain in the U.S. 

During the build of its first DevOps team, Byrne again brought in AppDynamics to help move the organization’s on-premises customer-facing applications to the cloud. “AppDynamics could measure and understand what performance looked like before and after, and compare on-prem to the cloud,” he said. When the opportunity later arose, Byrne joined AppDynamics. 

Full-stack observability gives customers the opportunity to continuously improve environments so that their audiences have the best possible experiences, which translates to consumer trust and confidence. 

“In these typically hybrid environments any one of [the] connections can go wrong,” said Byrne. “You need to be able to understand that… and so to have a system that can look at all of that data and help you understand causality, the faster you can get in there in terms of the optimization of the application, happiness of the customers and…the employees who are working on fixing it.” 

When an airline customer needs to re-architect applications, build cloud native applications, and manage different workloads across a hybrid environment, AppDynamics monitors hybrid environment to quickly detect and repair issues before they impact travelers. 

With this large transportation carrier, there was an overwhelming number of data points along the customer experience journey. IT focused on what was most crucial to successful completion of the user journey, but the business side likely had different concerns regarding processes, revenue and timeliness. 

By providing real-time monitoring of numerous applications across the customer’s entire infrastructure and technology stack, full-stack observability enabled vision into how integrated systems perform, and provided the ability to quickly detect and repair issues that reduce mean time to resolution. 

The end result goes beyond the fact that this particular customer’s mean time to detection went from hours to less than 10 minutes. Having observability also aligned company objectives more closely, increasing collaboration between IT and the business, to better achieve desired traveler and business outcomes. 

To be able to join observability technology into a technology team is invaluable, Byrne adds. “You can visually [demonstrate] to the business in real time the impact you're having on their bottom line with the technology that you built,” he said. “To have a seat at the table when there are larger conversations about strategy and about growth — especially after [the pandemic] we've just gone through the last two years — you’re connecting the activity to real business outcomes.” 




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Rackspace Technology Staff - Solve

The Solve team is made up of a curator team, an editorial team and various technology experts as contributors. The curator team: Srini Koushik, CTO, Rackspace Technology Jeff DeVerter, Chief Technology Evangelist, Rackspace Technology The editorial team:  Gracie LePere, Program Manager Royce Stewart, Chief Designer  Simon Andolina, Design Tim Mann, Design Abi Watson, Design Debbie Talley, Production Manager  Chris Barlow, Editor  Tim Hennessey Jr., Writer Stuart Wade, Writer Karen Taylor, Writer Meagan Fleming, Social Media Specialist Daniel Gibson, Project Manager

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