IT Observability – More than Monitoring
March 24, 2021 NetGain Systems
In NetGain Systems, News

IT Observability – More than Monitoring

When it comes to IT Observability vs IT Monitoring, sometimes the lines can be a little blurry. Many might not be aware of the differences between the two, but it’s important for you to differentiate between them clearly so that you know which to adopt for your IT infrastructure.

Below is a brief comparison of the 2 for quick reference.

IT Monitoring

IT Observability

Alerts you when something is wrong

Allows you to understand why something is wrong

Asks questions based on dashboards

Asks questions based on hypothesis

Built to manage static environments with little variations

Built to manage dynamic environments with changing complexity


Monitoring uses a predefined set of metrics and logs to allow you to watch and understand your system’s state. Monitoring applications let you detect a known set of failure modes. Observability, which originated from control theory, measures how well you can understand a system’s internal state from its external outputs.  

The symbiotic relationship between IT Observability and IT Monitoring allows the both of them to fill a different role while complementing each other. IT Monitoring tracks the overall health of your IT environment. It collects data on how the system is performing in terms of access speeds, bottlenecks, connectivity and downtime. IT Observability zooms in on the “what” and “why” of your IT operations, by providing contextual insight into specific failure modes. IT Monitoring is a subset of and core pillar for IT Observability. You can only monitor a system that is observable.

A good example would be how we worked with healthcare providers to help them to not only monitor the growing number of electronic devices used by the doctors, specialists and admin staff, but also employ predictive analysis that forecasts systems issues. As you might imagine, an institution such as a private hospital, has a lot of moving parts, and when something breaks down it can be difficult to understand why or what caused the problem. You can imagine the kind of effort it would take to figure out why a certain device is not working, or why the medical data captured has discrepancies. So it was imperative for them to move towards IT Observability rather than just Monitoring, where alerts, visualization and log analytics all seen on a single healthcare IT monitoring dashboard would allow them to accurately and quickly pinpoint issues and identify the underlying causes.. 

The end goal for both IT Observability and IT Monitoring is such that when something goes wrong, you know the “what” and the “why” so that you can apply the “how” to resolve issues quickly. They can also help you identify areas to improve the efficacy of your IT environment. To do this, you would need the right tools to achieve your IT Observability goals and here at NetGain, we strive to assist you with our suite of solutions.



To up your IT Observability posture, check out our solutions:
IT Monitoring – NetGain EM (Enterprise Manager)
Application Performance Management – NetGain APM

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