eG Innovations gets Observability

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I’m on a mission to understand and describe how and where Observability fits into the broad subject of Hybrid Infrastructure Management. Observability is a child of the cloud native DevOps environment, so it is strange to see the term popping up in the marketing messages of vendors better known for more traditional IT monitoring and management solutions. So, is observability just being used as another term for visibility, or do the vendors understand its meaning and, more importantly, are they integrating genuine observability capabilities into their existing solutions?

With that in mind I spoke recently with Srinivas Ramanathan, CEO of eG Innovations. The company has been in existence since 2001 and has, over time, developed an extensive and broad set of hybrid IT performance monitoring and management tools. These have come together in its eG Enterprise V7 platform which I reviewed in some detail a year ago. Despite its obvious strengths (and there are many) it maybe isn’t one you might expect to see mentioned by Observability purists.

While observability tools were first developed to help SREs (Site Reliability Engineers) and security operations teams monitor and understand the behaviour of applications in very volatile and complex microservices and containerised cloud environments, it soon became apparent that observability was an important element in delivering an excellent digital experience to end users and orienting performance around business events and outcomes, rather than IT systems.

I should say, up front that Srinivas in particular, and eG Innovations in general absolutely understand the initial concept of observability and the tools and processes involved in delivering on that concept, as evidenced by this very clear and concise blog describing Observability. Also, eG Innovations has been involved in end-user, workspace management from the inception of its business and has a specific DEM (Digital Experience Management) module integrated into eG Enterprise V7. So, it has a deep understanding of an end-user’s digital journey and its impact on business outcomes.

As I mentioned earlier, observability was a digital native, born in the cloud development. eG Innovations, by contrast, has come from a more traditional legacy, on-premises environment. Over time it has evolved into monitoring and managing customers’ public, private and hybrid-cloud deployments. It has a very strong product management ethic and has eschewed growth through equity funded acquisitions and concentrated instead on developing capabilities in-house, based upon the feedback from their loyal customer base.

The challenges of capturing, ingesting and analysing new observability metrics (particularly traces) from a wide variety of new development environments has seen the rapid adoption of OpenTelemetry standards. It has also forced vendors to re-engineer their data pipelines and database back-ends to handle the huge volume of time-series data and analytics based on data lakes rather than more structured data warehouses.

While Srinivas recognised the importance of providing an Open Telemetry capability within eG Enterprise and the need to move away from an SQL based database, these are on his to-do list. The most common new development environments do have connectors to enable ingestion into eG Enterprise V7 and the current database is still sufficient for current workloads. But, in a cloud-native, cloud only type of organisation, DevOps teams may overlook eG Innovations in favour of more open-source tools. Having said that, more established organisations with a mix of legacy on-premises and cloud applications looking to incorporate Observability capabilities and cultures into their existing architecture should consider eG Innovations.