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How the Increasing Use of Service Level Objectives Enables Observability

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No software engineer can deny that their work is only considered complete once the code is successfully deployed. However, this does not imply that the code must be without errors and in its ultimate form. Coding is a progressive task, and while engineers are responsible for their systems' reliability, no one can always demand 100% uptime and reliability.

Enterprises need to understand why, how, and when their systems fail. Observability and Service Level Objectives (SLOs) have become important factors to ensure quality, dependability, and performance – all essential for stable software that's released faster. 

System Reliability Engineering and observability

Website reliability engineering is still in its infancy. A survey by Nobl9 shows that although just 31% of companies have implemented System Reliability Engineering (SRE), it is expected to grow significantly, with an additional 46% saying they plan to do so soon.

Many cloud-native observability tools are now available to these operators, resulting in enormous data garnered from metrics, logs, and traces. Most companies utilize between six and ten observation and monitoring devices, while 35% use 11 or more.

In 74% of companies, observability data is specifically used to support operational needs. Operations groups commonly use Service Level Objectives to monitor uptime, efficiency, and overall effectiveness. Safety groups also use observational data, which is good because SLOs can help with incident response. Customer service, compliance, and capacity planning are all topics that are closely monitored.

What is a SLO (Service Level Objective)?

In a service-level agreement (SLA), a service-level objective (SLO) is a predetermined goal that must be met for each operation, function, and process to give the client the best possible chance of being satisfied with the service. SLOs, in simple terms, reflect a service's performance or health. 

These metrics may include conversion rates, availability, and uptime, depending on the type of data you're looking for. They may be more technical and include the cost of running the service, CPU usage, and the number of third-party services it relies on. 

For instance, if the service level agreement (SLA) for a website specifies an uptime of 99.95%, the related service level objective (SLO) could be the availability of 99.95% of the login services. 

SLOs are frequently used in production environments to guarantee that code is released within budgets for errors. 

Hybrid environments make visibility difficult

Aside from public clouds, private clouds and legacy computing setups are two hot topics that must be addressed to ensure the efficiency of your software. 

Most companies use SLOs to get insight into their networks, databases, and software applications. But it can be challenging to get total visibility across the entire stack, despite increased observability in recent years.

Many respondents (46%) of the Nobl9 survey stated that current monitoring and observability solutions do not give them complete visibility into their company's IT infrastructure. 58% stated that some of their company's SLOs were linked to business processes.

A lack of full-stack visibility may be exacerbated by the rise of hybrid and multi-cloud environments since monitoring infrastructure in a hybrid cloud environment is more complicated. 

This hybrid environment also leaves a gap in communication among employees within the same company. A secure and effective messaging system is necessary to close this communication gap. Send reminder texts for appointments, business closures, follow-ups, invites for customers to submit reviews, payment requests, etc. Unless your teams are well informed and updated about each other's progress on a project, they won't be able to complete it efficiently and timely.

Other Benefits of Integrating SLO 

Seventy percent of enterprises are now implementing service level objectives in some capacity. Tracking SLOs has several advantages, the most important being that achieving service-level goals ensures dependability. 

As a general rule, SLOs are critical since they offer the following benefits.

Enhanced software quality

Using SLOs, teams can establish an acceptable standard of service interruption for a given service or issue. SLOs can shed light on challenges that do not rise to a significant incident level but fall short of expectations in other respects. 

It is not always possible to achieve 100% reliability, so SLOs can help you find a balance between innovation (which may result in downtime) and delivery of services or products.

Most respondents (87%) of the Nobl9 survey believe that utilizing SLOs for microservices architecture increases service performance. When the version gets better, the software quality enhances automatically. 

Besides this, there are other ways to retain your software quality. While in the development phase, you need to protect it from a software breach. Developers should be using a VPN when testing their software over a public network to secure their code. 

Decision-making assistance

Data and performance expectations can help DevOps and infrastructure teams use SLOs to make data-driven decisions, such as whether or not to release a new version and where to allocate engineers' time. 91% of those surveyed in the Nobl9 questionnaire said that employing SLOs can help businesses make smart decisions.

Encouraging automation

Throughout the software delivery life cycle, stable and accurately calibrated SLOs allow teams to automate more procedures and tests (SDLC). This consistency in development allows teams to gauge their progress and identify problems before they become serious. If your SLOs are accurate, you may use automation to monitor and measure SLIs and set up alarms if specific signs are going toward a breach.

Avoid Downtime

SLOs allow DevOps to anticipate issues before they arise and, more importantly, before those issues impact end-users. 

There is no denying the fact that software glitches are unavoidable. But reducing downtime by relocating SLOs from the production level to the development stage allows you to create more resilient and reliable applications before any actual downtime occurs. 

This can help train your staff to be more proactively involved in the operation, reducing the overall downtime and saving you money. 90% of respondents in the Nobl9 survey said that SLOs saved their business money. 

Conclusion

SLOs help modern businesses create and implement applicable risk assessments to ensure that nothing keeps them from accomplishing their goals. 

A benefit of this observability is that it allows for faster identification and resolution of problems, resulting in fewer customers being affected by outages. Investing in these strategies can help firms increase the reliability of their systems and minimize the effect of future outages.