ServiceNow adds Lightstep Notebooks to Visualize Observation Data

ServiceNow has now added a visualization tool to its Lightstep observability platform that will make it simpler for DevOps teams to associate metrics, logs and traces.

Ben Sigelman, general manager for Lightstep at ServiceNow, said Lightstep Notebooks will make it easier for DevOps teams to understand the massive amount of data the observability platform collects.

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Lightstep Notebooks is an extension of the Change Intelligence analysis engine that ServiceNow makes available within an observability platform it acquired in 2021.

Lightstep Notebook includes a set of ad hoc charts that include access to heat maps and time-series data with trace exemplars using the database at the core of the Lightstep observability platform.

An instant generated investigative path makes it simple to pinpoint the root of any issue, and each instance of Lightstep Notebook can be shared with other members of the IT organization via an embedded link. Finally, 100% of trace data can be retained for up to three days.

Sigelman said the ability to share notebooks via embedded links will also help bridge the divide between DevOps and IT service management (ITSM) teams that often need to work together to resolve an IT issue.

Naturally, the level of collaboration between those groups tends to vary widely by organization. However, as DevOps best practices are more widely accepted, the number of organizations trying to achieve that goal continues to rise. Earlier this year, ServiceNow added an incident response offer to fix on-call escalation, group alerts and provide analytics to further pursue that goal.

Observability platforms aggregate the collection of logs, metrics and traces in a way that makes it possible for DevOps teams to query that data. The goal is to make it easier for DevOps teams to both identify the root of an IT issue and identify any anomalies that could interfere with an application environment. The goal is to eliminate the need to hold a “war room” meeting that requires IT teams to suffer through a careful removal process to determine the root of an issue.

Of course, before an IT environment can be observed, it needs to be instrumental. Thanks to developments in the form of open source agent software being advanced through the OpenTelemetry project managed under the auspice of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), it is becoming cheaper to use IT environments. That’s especially critical at a time when more DevOps teams are deploying microservice-based applications that are more complex to manage than legacy monolithic applications. Although generally more resilient, the dependencies that exist between the microservices that make up an application can be difficult to define without the help of an observability platform.

As a core principle of DevOps, the need for observation and instrumentation is always evident. The challenge is finding the best way to achieve that at an acceptable cost, Fortunately, there is now no shortage of observation platforms. The only remaining issue is to determine which is most appropriate within the construct of the organization’s defined DevOps workflow.

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