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Cloud Security Observability: A Guide to Reducing Your Cloud Native Infrastructure Risk

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Observability: Just Another Word for Monitoring? Observability is a concept that has cropped up in the past few years — emerging as a result of companies building so ware with a cloud-na ve mindset, embracing distributed, immutable, and ephemeral systems. As infrastructure shi ed away from tradi onal deployment methods, older systems of monitoring were no longer effec ve. As a result, a new set of monitoring prac ces emerged, which came to be called "observability." The term is infiltra ng DevOps circles, from conference talks to team mee ngs — and it appears it's here to stay. Copyright © 2019, Threat Stack, Inc. All rights reserved. 01 CLOUD SECURITY OBSERVABILITY Cindy Sridharan, the author of Distributed Systems Observability, defines Observability as the following: In its most complete sense, observability is a property of a system that has been designed, built, tested, deployed, operated, monitored, maintained, and evolved in acknowledgment of the following facts: • No complex system is ever fully healthy. • Distributed systems are pathologically unpredictable. • It's impossible to predict the myriad states of par al failure various parts of the system might end up in. • Failure needs to be embraced at every phase, from system design to implementa on, tes ng, deployment, and, finally, opera on. • Ease of debugging is a cornerstone for the maintenance and evolu on of robust systems. Jus n Domingus and John Arundel put it more simply in their book Cloud Na ve DevOps with Kubernetes: "The observability of your system is a measure of how well-instrumented it is, and how easily you can find out what's going on inside it. Some people say that observability is a superset of monitoring, others that observability reflects a completely different mindset from tradi onal monitoring." Sridharan, Domingus, Arundel, and other industry thought leaders offer content on how teams can achieve observability — from how to design systems to which logs, traces, and metrics to focus on. All share the common thread that teams should design and build observable systems in order to help their companies meet their business goals, whatever those might be.

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