A New Scorecard for Observability

Ben Sigelman, LightStep Co-Founder and CEO

Observing software used to be straightforward. So much so, that we didn’t even need a word for it.

Of course today, where distributed systems are commonplace, we have observability: a long mouthful of a word to describe how we understand a system’s inner workings by its outputs.

In the previous post in this series (Three Pillars with Zero Answers), we presented a critique of the conventional wisdom about “the three pillars of observability.” We argued that “metrics, logs, and traces” are really just three pipes that carry three partially overlapping streams of telemetry data. None of the three is an actual value proposition or solution to any particular problem, and as such, taken on their own, they do not constitute a coherent approach to observability.

We now present part two: an alternative, value-driven approach to independently measuring and grading an observability practice – a new scorecard for observability.