Leveraging Observability for Greater IT Agility

The power of observability begins with its ability to deliver an indisputable single source of truth, empowering IT professionals to deliver better user experiences and achieve near-zero downtime. Over the years, the Orion® Platform has provided a simple, scalable, and centralized architecture to manage your infrastructure in a consolidated view. Now, it’s time to go deeper with automated tasks and advanced closed-loop operational management, reporting, and capacity planning to create even greater efficiencies across your entire IT environment.

Let’s explore the journey to get from where we are today to a state of optimal operational efficiency and agility.

When it comes to gaining near omnipotent oversight of fragmented hybrid cloud environments, few solutions have ever emerged with the fanfare of observability. Your traditional monitoring tools are no longer enough, say the tech analysts and solutions vendors.

Of course, it’s hard to argue away the limitations inherent in traditional monitoring. Better understanding the underlying cause of anomalies can’t help but ensure faster troubleshooting and remediation by eliminating guesswork. Similarly, when data siloes are aggregated, logs, metrics, and traces are transformed into actionable intelligence.

And this is the whole point of enhancing what you’re doing now with observability—to foster a higher level of collaboration, productivity, and readiness simply not possible with various disparate monitoring tools. But OK, enough with the high-level benefit statements. How about a deep dive into the specific ways observability puts IT agility within reach while quantifying how much of your valuable time you’ll regain through end-to-end visibility?

We get it—don’t tell me, show me.

Break Down the Silos

Siloed data and tools lead to complex workflows, partial truths, and increased risk.

With siloed monitoring tools, each team can only benefit from a partial version of the truth. The result? Finger-pointing and blamestorming. War rooms become focused on proving innocence instead of solving problems. Silo-based legacy monitoring and agile IT are in direct conflict with one another.

Once in place, SolarWinds® Hybrid Cloud Observability can break down silos and allow the correlation and analysis of data from across IT pillars. This can be achieved through a single solution capable of delivering a comprehensive and integrated view of the full stack of even the largest and most complex hybrid cloud infrastructures.

 End-to-end visibility of the full stack provides oversight of service delivery and component dependencies

You can gain further situational context with the use of SolarWinds PerfStack , which is designed to help you stay on top of changes occurring in the environment and correlate them to performance metrics. This allows you to compare metrics and trends across a common timeline, even among disparate systems.

Consolidate Your Monitoring

Though alerts can indicate normal behavior is off-kilter or a condition is suddenly outside expected parameters, how helpful are they against the backdrop of an endless stream of isolated telemetry data and alerts of mysterious origin? At the same time, without meaningful visibility into core operational processes, it remains frustratingly elusive to know which actions to take.

True full-stack observability has always been the goal. The difference is gaining visibility is more complicated now due to the nature of hybrid cloud environments. The ante has been upped, resulting in the need to track resource usage, uptime, and network port metrics with a single version of truth—all in one place.

 SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability leverages the existing monitoring capabilities of the Orion Platform and our visualization tools—Network Performance Monitor (NPM) and Server & Application Monitor (SAM)—to provide automated mapping for an integrated, end-to-end view of your environment.

Focus on Database and Application Performance

A good starting point is using SolarWinds NetPath Network Path Analysis to perform a hop-by-hop analysis of what’s going on in the network. It also provides visibility for detailed network configuration and bandwidth analysis. Consolidating NetPath scans under a common service allows for quick comparisons between sources and along routes. Just because you can access the data from one location doesn’t mean people in other branches are having the same experience.

 Having the ability to “time travel” to earlier activities of any component of your environment makes various metrics and behaviors available for analysis. In this view, we’re focusing on a detailed view of a Microsoft SQL server to investigate performance issues.

Though the Orion Platform provides you with the detailed network maps you’re used to for a comprehensive view of applications, servers, hypervisors, networking gears, and other on-premises and cloud-based assets, observability makes available additional visibility and opportunities for analysis. You can click on problematic conditions highlighted in yellow or red for detailed examination and trace the origins of issues back in time by moving along the timeline at the bottom of the display.


Isolating specific slices of time showing the minute-by-minute performance of databases and applications quickly cuts through the visibility fog caused by virtualization, containerization, Kubernetes, Docker, Docker Swarm, Apache Mesos, microservices, and other complexities.

In the example above, we’ve drilled down into the SQL Server instance to dig deep into the time when the issue began. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) and Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) provide further detail when integrated with SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability. Likewise, AppStackTm delivers additional system-level correlation (SAM/VMAN/SRM/WPM).

Reap the Rewards of Better Operational Efficiencies

Orion Platform users should keep in mind Hybrid Cloud Observability optimizes the Orion Platform code, bringing the modules together seamlessly while removing patching and licensing complexity.

 Observability gives you the ability to identify the source of problems such as service-level and customer experience issues, which in this case were discovered to originate in insufficient memory allocation in a public cloud instance

Wrap-Up

As a former customer who annually added Orion products to my monitoring ecosystem, I can truly see the benefit of moving towards a more cohesive and agile framework.  I'll be sad to big adieu to the name Orion, but I'm comforted by the fact that  - at the core - the SolarWinds Platform will continue on that legacy proudly.

Achieving IT agility is more attainable than ever, despite the increasingly fragmented hybrid cloud environments in play. By integrating SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability with existing network management and monitoring solutions across your IT pillars, endless opportunities become available to you. Through this integration, you can cull and unify data sourced from PerfStack, NPM, SAM, NetPath, DPA, AppStack, and other performance analysis dashboards.

Think of what you could have done in the past if you had full visibility to all parts of your IT stack.  In fact, I'll go one further: what issues could you have resolved faster if you had this ability in the past?

Thwack - Symbolize TM, R, and C