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Hiren Dhaduk
Hiren Dhaduk

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How are developers leveraging observability-driven development?

Have you heard of ODD yet? Observability-driven development (ODD) seems to be the latest IT buzzword. However, observability has been around in the engineering field for decades. And today, 79% of organizations involved with development activities are adding observability tools and capabilities due to its multiple benefits.

For instance, observability significantly reduces the time and effort required to identify and fix an issue, resulting in an improved user experience. So how are developers leveraging it to build successful applications today?

In this article, we will discuss how ODD has redefined the roles of developers and made them more efficient. Let’s start with a brief overview of it.

What is observability-driven development?

Modern software architectures such as microservices, containers, and multi-cloud environments make systems more distributed, complex, and unpredictable. Thus, it is crucial to have 24/7 monitoring and on-call rotations for most companies. Moreover, monitoring or analyzing an issue only after releases can adversely affect a business in today's competitive market. It is where observability steps in!

Observability-driven development (ODD) leverages tooling, data, and hands-on developers to observe a system before, during, and after development. It uses the gathered data to analyze the state and behavior of a system and learn more about its weaknesses. It helps teams detect predictable or unpredictable permutations of failures that can occur in the future.

Before we delve into how ODD can help developers tackle several challenges with development, check out this detailed guide on what is observability.

How can developers benefit from ODD?

Gain a better understanding of systems

ODD shifts observability left into the software development life cycle (SDLC) and helps educate developers about their systems. Much like DevOps, it leaves crumbs for the next developer to explain why you did what to your product.

For instance, developers can quickly and reliably track down the root cause of any new problem without prior knowledge if they have an observable system.

Deep insight into production

Extensive logging in production is unrealistic for most use cases. For example, imagine adding a log for every method entry and exit. Your logs will blow up, become unreadable, add to storage costs or even slow down server performance. But observability tools have the ability to add new logs into production without changing the code.

These tools also have a capability referred to as snapshots (or capture or non-breaking breakpoints.) So the next time you have hidden bugs or need to debug nasty bugs, your observability tools can help developers easily resolve them.

Determine the root cause of issues

Observability tools also have features and capabilities that analyze metrics and traces to determine the possible root cause of an ongoing problem incident. As a result, observability provides a complete picture of your systems and data consolidation.

So when something does not look right on your metrics dashboard, developers can reasonably assume that the irregular activity indicates a potential problem worth investigating. You can further analyze all metrics and traces to determine a guess of what caused the irregularity on the dashboard.

Pinpoint performance issues

Developers can also use observability tools and data to track performance over time and proactively fix problems. You can use metrics to measure performance of a block of code over time. Typically, an observability tool will pinpoint to general problems. But you can narrow the scope by playing with metrics.

For instance, developers can configure a conditional metric on their ID if a specific user faces a performance issue. Then, developers can see the particular lines of code that are faulty.

Wrap up!

To sum up, observability helps developers make sense of complexities, proactively detect hard-to-catch problems, and speed up troubleshooting. As a result, their software delivers improved user experience and cost-efficiency and has a faster time-to-market.

Developer observability tools are designed to let them peer into production without associated risks, further deconstructing the Developer/DevOps silos. I have barely scratched the surface of how these tools can boost developers' productivity, efficiency, and creativity. But you can always consult tech experts to review various observability tools and harness their power.

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