What Is Observability? Notes From ContainerCamp

conference Feb 20, 2020

Last July 2019, I was able to attend the ContainerCamp conference in Sydney courtesy of DevOpsGirls. Here are some of my notes from the talk Keeping an Eye on Serverless Containers.

What is Observability?

  • an attribute of the system/server
  • allows you to pinpoint problems of the system/server without remoting into it directly

Key Concepts


  • a timestamped record of discrete events
  • forensics information read to analyse a failure mode


  • actionable metrics, closely related to user experience
  • manage known failure modes of the system

Distributed Tracing

  • profile and monitor microservices via request tracing
  • pinpoint where failures occur and what causes poor performance

How to be Observable?


  1. Instrumentation - writing the code to generate telemetry
  2. Ingestion & aggregation - consume/collect the telemetry
  3. Visualisation & interrogation - looking at the telemetry (and understanding it!)

Observability Suites

Common Problems

  • Custom instrumentation for each app
  • Transporting telemetry data
  • Dependency on third-party libraries
unsplash-logoAlex Franzelin

Kristina Alberto

Software engineer from Sydney. I work at Domain Group.