The importance of using observability tools for maintaining developed applications

Leandro Padula

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In today’s fast-paced world of technology, it is imperative for developers to have visibility into their application performance and infrastructure. This is where observability comes in. Observability refers to the ability to gain insights into the behavior of a system by collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data from various sources.

Observability tools provide developers with the necessary information to diagnose and troubleshoot issues in real-time. They can help detect anomalies and provide insights into the root cause of issues.

On Gaucho Code, we use some popular observability tools: Netdata and the Grafana-Loki-Promtail stack.

All-in-one monitoring solution

Netdata is a free and open-source monitoring and troubleshooting tool that provides real-time insights into system performance. It consists of two main components: the Netdata agent and Netdata Cloud.

The Netdata agent is a small, highly efficient daemon that runs on each system or application being monitored. It collects a wide range of metrics on system and application performance, including CPU usage, disk I/O, network activity, and more. The agent can also detect and alert on anomalies and issues in real-time, allowing users to quickly respond to and resolve problems.

The Netdata agent has a small footprint and low resource usage, making it ideal for monitoring resource-constrained systems such as embedded devices, edge computing, and IoT devices. It can also be configured to monitor Docker containers and Kubernetes clusters.

Netdata Cloud is a cloud-based platform that provides a centralized location for storing and analyzing data collected by the Netdata agent. It allows users to create custom dashboards and visualizations for monitoring system and application performance across multiple hosts and applications.

Netdata Cloud also includes features such as real-time notifications, alerting, and anomaly detection, making it easier for users to identify and respond to critical events and issues.

One of the key benefits of Netdata Cloud is its ability to provide a unified view of system and application performance across multiple hosts and environments. This can help users quickly identify trends and patterns in system behavior, allowing them to proactively address potential issues before they become critical.

A more comprehensive alternative

On the other hand, the Grafana-Loki-Promtail stack is a collection of tools that work together to provide a more comprehensive monitoring solution.

  • Grafana is a popular visualization tool that can be used in conjunction with various data sources, including time-series databases such as Prometheus. It provides a user-friendly interface for creating dashboards and visualizing data, making it easy to monitor application performance in real-time.
  • Loki is a log aggregation tool that provides a centralized location for storing and querying logs. It is designed to be highly scalable and can handle large volumes of data. Loki can also integrate with other tools, such as Grafana, to provide real-time insights into application behavior.
  • Promtail is a log collector that is designed to work with Loki. It can be used to collect and forward logs from various sources, including containers and Kubernetes pods. Promtail can also enrich logs with metadata, making it easier to search and analyze log data.

One of the key advantages of the Grafana-Loki-Promtail stack is its ability to correlate metrics and logs, providing a more complete picture of system behavior. This can help developers identify the root cause of issues and improve their application performance.

In summary

Netdata is a lightweight monitoring tool that provides real-time metrics, while the Grafana-Loki-Promtail stack is a more comprehensive solution that includes visualization, log aggregation, and correlation capabilities. The choice between the two depends on the specific monitoring needs of the application and infrastructure being monitored.

Leandro Padula

Software development expert with a proven track record of delivering successful solutions for companies of all sizes.

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