This year in observability: 2022 brings industry growth and interest

Jess Lulka
on December 28th 2022

It’s been a big year for cloud native and observability technology and tools as the sector moves further into the spotlight. In 2022, organizations gained a better understanding of observability’s values and spent time to build out resources, teams, and tools for the technology.

What is the state of observability?

Currently, 48% of organizations use cloud native technology – and more expect to adopt – according to 451 Research’s report Cloud Native Hits the Mainstream

Still, it’s hard to effectively go cloud native without the right management tools. Eighty percent of engineers at companies with more than half of their environments running in  cloud native state that observability is key to boosting company efficiency and profitability, according to Chronosphere’s 2023 Cloud Native Observability Report: Overcoming Cloud Native Complexity.   

This means more organizations are investing in essential observability platforms. Observability has clear benefits: It allows teams to understand what is happening in a system through questioning and querying collected data without preemptively determining what questions will be asked, writes 451 Research. 

Additionally, there is finally more consensus about what observability means and how it differs from monitoring, log management, and tracing. This positions the market to have 2023 be a year where more organizations learn about observability and get more serious about software adoption.  

Currently, organizations are using a mix of in-house and vendor-based observability software to oversee their cloud infrastructure. Chronosphere’s research found 57% of survey respondents stated they use a combination of vendors and in-house solutions, while 24% run an in-house solution that’s based on open source tools. 

When it comes to how companies decide what to use, research noted: 

  • Organizations with more than half of their environments running cloud native are more likely to use vendor offerings for observability.  
  • 33% of companies with a quarter or less of their environment running cloud native don’t have a cohesive observability approach.  

In addition to Chronosphere, companies are also using New Relic, Dynatrace, Splunk, AppDynamics, Datadog and self-managed Prometheus instances to oversee their cloud native infrastructure.  

Observability investment goes beyond software 

Cloud native environments and observability platforms can’t run without the right people with the right skills. In terms of specialized staff, organizations are still working with limited full-time observability engineers. 

Two main factors that influence organizations in how many full-time employees dedicated to observability have are: percentage of their environment that is cloud native and how cohesive their observability strategy is.

It makes sense that companies with higher levels of cloud native adoption (more than 50% of their environment) have more full-time employees tasked with observability; teams average at around five people, but some companies dedicate 16 or more employees, according to Chronosphere research.  

Organizations that primarily use a vendor solution – but don’t have a cohesive observability approach – have fewer than five full time employees working on observability. 

Central observability teams are still a newer concept for organizations. Teams have grown within the past two years, and according to this recent survey, 23% of companies are planning to allocate dedicated staff for observability over the next year.  

Legacy monitoring expands features through acquisitions

Datadog and ServiceNow capitalized acquisition news in the observability space. As the observability sector grows, legacy companies within the space want to build out their capabilities to help end users get the most out of observability data. 

Datadog aimed to expand its capabilities through acquisitions of Seekret, CloudCraft, and CoScreen. With these tools, the company can integrate features that discover API assets, visualize cloud infrastructure, and support real-time collaboration across teams.   

Datadog also entered an agreement to acquire Hdiv Security. The agreement, which went public in May, is designed to help Datadog add features for known and unknown vulnerability detection. 

In October, ServiceNow acquired Era Software, a unified log management platform. Era Software’s log management capabilities will purportedly complement their 2021 acquisition of tracing company LightStep.

OpenTelemetry, Prometheus updates

Open source standards are an essential part of the observability toolkit. This year brought more capabilities to two of the cornerstones of OSS observability: OpenTelemetry and Prometheus. 

OpenTelemetry made significant strides this year with expanded support for metrics. The data collection standard provides a vendor-neutral API for DevOps teams to connect telemetry data and observability software. 

Organizations that adopt and implement OpenTelemetry will see how the vendor-neutral data collection can reduce vendor lock-in, make observability more accessible, and address concerns around legacy pricing models. 

2022 OTel updates include more documentation, establish a formal roadmap, increased instrumentation for all languages, tracing stability for C++ and Erlang, building out logs, and Jager support. There’s also a new demo application for users to explore.  

The project has also defined metrics within specification and delivered Java, JS, .NET and Python software development kits and instrumentation – within Collector and protocol. While these are great early signs, adoption for metrics and logging looks like it will take a little more time given the different problems and motivations for those data types

Since last year’s PromCon, Prometheus increased its support for service discovery and expanded features launched in 2021. Users can now run service discovery for Azure, Docker and Docker Swarm, PuppetDB, Consul, and OVHCloud. 

With PromQL, users can now use trigonometric and last over time functions, convert from radian to degrees, use “@” modifiers, and negative offsets. Furthermore, the altermanager has time-based muting for receivers and negative matchers.  

Prometheus also launched long term support with version 2.37 LTS. Now users will have support for 6+ months instead of 6 weeks. 

In October, Chronosphere donated PromLens to the Prometheus organization. This donation aims to help users spend less time troubleshooting and crafting PromQL queries, have an easier time learning Prometheus queries, and let organizations fully leverage queries for positive business outcomes.  

KubeCon stirs up interest in observability 

Observability is gaining traction in the conference circuit and CloudNativeCon + KubeCon North America 2022 was no exception. The show gave Chronosphere the chance to educate attendees about observability’s benefits and share the stage with partners and customers alike – including Google, DoorDash, and Robinhood

This year’s show saw 16,000 attendees, with 7,400 in person, and it’s clear that more engineers are interested in how they can effectively oversee their cloud native environments using Prometheus and observability tools. 

2023 gives the industry time to investigate observability and figure out how solutions can increase site reliability, developer burnout, platform engineering, and support cloud native architecture.    

Chronosphere plans for growth

Since January, Chronosphere has invested in people and its own platform to support an ever-growing industry and provide a best-in-class observability offering. 

From a technical standpoint, users can now access trace metrics, a query accelerator, quotas, and tools to get the right data to the right people. We’ve also celebrated our third anniversary and continued to grow our staff from 128 to more than 250 to expand leadership, sales, technical, customer success, and marketing teams. 

With this growth, we know we can support our ever-growing platform capabilities and provide white-glove service to each and every customer over the course of 2023. 

Stay tuned for more industry, company, and observability news on our blog.    

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