Observability vs. Monitoring: Differences, Significance, and Solution

The modern age of mobile experiences needs high-performance applications and systems with minimal downtimes. Having more uptime is key, and that’s why you need appropriate monitoring and observability tools.

The terms may sound similar but are hardly the same. While observability is seeing the big picture, monitoring is the quantitative approach of aggregating metrics. Both are essential for your system’s performance.

However, both monitoring and observability need aggregation, analysis and processing of key data related to metrics or events. According to an IDG survey, data volumes are growing at an alarming rate of 63% per month. So, you need a reliable solution for enhanced controllability and observability of systems.

Another aspect of understanding the difference between observability and monitoring is to customize your solution accordingly. For example, monitoring focuses on events while observability tracks data on a macroscopic level through the system’s output.

What is Observability?

Observability has recently become popular in IT and cloud computing. This concept is driven by control systems engineering. It is defined as the measurement of the system’s internal states determining the outputs in control system engineering.

Any system is observable only if the system’s present state can be defined through outputs in a specific period. So, the result of the function matters here. Every activity and behavior of the system is evaluated based on the output it produces. Similarly, if the output cannot convey the system’s behavior, it is deemed unobservable.

IT infrastructure and cloud-based applications record each activity and keep logs. Such records have information on applications, systems, servers, security, and other components. Therefore, the observability of an IT infrastructure depends on monitoring and analysis of key events recorded through these logs.

Apart from the events, monitoring key metrics and data from different components can offer actionable insights into the system’s behavior. In addition, organizations can leverage tools that offer controllability and observability of event logs for enhanced performance of their systems.

What is Monitoring?

Monitoring is a vigilant activity of tracking, analyzing, and recording significant events related to different components of an application. Modern app development processes have seamlessly integrated the service-based architecture to reduce repair time in case of incidents. They deploy concurrent services for higher availability.

While this is a great approach to overcome any shortcomings in terms of uptime, it becomes difficult to sustain the same efficiency as the application scales. Furthermore, due to higher scaling and integrations of several functions, application architecture becomes complex. So, several components need monitoring to ensure uniform performance.

As Google states, you need answers to simple questions like what is broken and why from your monitoring systems. Every monitoring system allows higher visibility to the system’s states through predefined metrics comparable to standards. Apart from the metrics, it also allows you to understand the root cause of system failure.

Monitoring Vs. Observability – Key Differences

When it comes to discussing observability vs. monitoring, it is the difference between seeing something and acting to achieve it. Any component is observable when the system offers data from within, while monitoring deals with the extraction of information from different resources across systems. However, you need to follow up on observability and monitoring activities without which both the processes are pointless.

If you consider the pyramid of robust application performance analysis, observability and monitoring are the pillars that together provide actionable intelligence. However, it is essential to understand that you can leverage one pillar for another to complete the process of controllability and observability.

For example, you can use a synthetic monitoring approach to extract data for an unobservable system or component. So, when you think of the entire observability vs. monitoring aspect of cloud assessments, it can be interoperable in specific use cases.

The data is offered within the system through outputInformation is extracted from event logs and records
Needs more experienced and skilled professionals for the execution of observabilityNeeds reliable monitoring tool for extraction, analysis, and processing of data
If output data fails to determine the behavior of the system, it is unobservableAny system can be monitored that has event records of logs
It relies on the output data rather than eventsIt relies on events rather than event logs or output data

Observability in DevOps

Imagine finding a needle in the haystack! That’s where the real difference between observability vs. monitoring comes into the picture. Monitoring is your go-to approach when looking closely at a microscopic level, like finding a needle in the haystack.

But, for a macroscopic overview, observability is the key in DevOps. Observability in DevOps offers the ability to formulate an overview of the system performance and health through the key metrics sourced by monitoring activities.

There are three significant components of observability in DevOps,

1. Logging– It records all the incidents that teams can leverage to 

  • learn important information on previous events, and 
  • accelerate the search for the leading cause of an error.

2. Tracing- It is an essential part of observability. Tracing establishes the relationship between the reason for errors and its impact. These traces are visualized through waterfall graphs to better understand different aspects like the time needed to trace the system.

3. Metrics- These are the quantitative data points that determine the pattern of errors and other such systems’ behavior over a period.

Observability offers a complete overview of the system along with actionable insights that help in data-driven decision-making. However, you need a reliable solution for efficient observability, and that is where Cloudlytics can help.

How Cloudlytics acts as a tool for observability?

Cloudlytics is the one-stop solution for all your observability needs without the hassle of relying on output data to determine the system’s behavior. It employs two intelligent tools to offer excellent observability.

The first is event analytics that enables monitoring and analysis of several system events. The second is an AI-based cloud intelligence engine that enables a complete overview of the system through more innovative and actionable insights.

Together they form an intelligent observability tool that enables,

  • System monitoring
  • Event tracing
  • Logging
  • Graphical overview
  • Data-driven insights


With the rapid adoption of cloud computing across business domains, the need for better controllability and observability will increase. First, however, you need to understand the difference between observability vs. monitoring to design an effective and efficient system for your business. The best way is to choose an intelligent observability tool from a monitoring solution provider like Cloudlytics and achieve optimal results.

SaaS Monitoring 101: Importance, Best Practices & Top Solution

Digital transformation is more than a necessity for organizations. Especially during the recent pandemic, many businesses needed reliable SaaS-based solutions to ensure remote capabilities. SaaS enables software delivery on-demand, through the internet for all businesses irrespective of scale. This approach enables organizations to

  • operate over the internet,
  • on multiple devices including mobile,
  • and leverage cloud services with minimal overheads and complexity.

With this innovative approach in mobile technology, you need to monitor the performance of applications for better results. The mobile SaaS market is booming and will reach $7.4 billion by the end of 2021. However, delivering a high-quality SaaS-based mobile experience is not easy and needs effective application performance monitoring.

So, here we will discuss SaaS monitoring, its importance, best practices to follow for optimal results, and the best solutions. Let’s start by understanding the fundamentals of SaaS monitoring platforms.

What is SaaS Monitoring?

SaaS monitoring is a practice to monitor the performance of SaaS-based applications, which allows organizations a complete overview of their system. Such a system can include cloud-based software, off-the-shelf software solutions, and even custom SaaS applications. Many organizations outsource their operational tasks leveraging third-party services from market giants like Salesforce or Microsoft 365.

Monitoring the performance of these operations can be challenging along with tracking of core services. A SaaS monitoring solution goes beyond your organization’s core services and offers a broader overview of software metrics related to your business.

What is the importance of Monitoring your SaaS Application?

SaaS application monitoring can help you optimize user experiences and offer real-time updates on the performance. While monitoring all your business services is crucial, SaaS monitoring needs to be thorough and data-driven for better performance enhancements.

Take an example of a SaaS-based CRM solution integrated into your organizational structure. Such a solution powers your sales and marketing, enhances customer support, and improves user engagement. Imagine the SaaS-based CRM application having downtime. Customers finding customer support systems down will lead to higher churn rates.

Several organizations that leverage DevOps to improve the efficiency and productivity of their systems rely on Saas-based solutions. However, outsourcing development tasks enable businesses to reduce the mean time to repair and improve deployment times of software; lack of monitoring can make a massive dent in their budget with higher costs.

You have a service level agreement to ensure that the solution delivers performance as per pre-defined standards. This is why you need a SaaS monitoring tool that can provide results and analytics with information that is compared with standards for understanding efficiency.

A SaaS monitoring tool goes beyond monitoring your application’s in-built tool, which is restricted to the SLA service provider’s network. The best part about SaaS monitoring is that it provides real-time information on software components, features, user’s browsers and even suggests recommendations for troubleshooting.

SaaS Monitoring Best Practices

When it comes to SaaS application monitoring, having a proper strategy can ensure higher accuracy. You need to define metrics and have standards in place to compare monitoring results for better performance analysis.

Going Past Need

When you are building a SaaS application monitoring plan, you need to think past the fundamental requirements. The first thing to keep in mind is the exact impact of performance on business activities. Your SaaS monitoring plan needs to have measures to reduce downtime, latency, and errors that can disrupt operations.

How can factors like latency or downtime impact the business, and what are critical components affecting them? These are the questions you need to have answers ready to formulate a SaaS monitoring plan.

Another essential aspect of the SaaS monitoring plan is to understand the impact of such a process on different project stages, the scalability of the application, and even capacity testing.

Early Strategy

Strategizing early for SaaS monitoring is essential for the adoption of cloud-based services and environments.  Furthermore, tracking compatibility issues is difficult without a proper strategy for monitoring, leading to refactoring problems and higher costs.

One of the most important strategies is to leverage service level indicators (SLI). Based on the SLIs and adoption plans, you can establish objectives specific to higher availability and performance. With a SaaS monitoring strategy targeted towards these objectives, it becomes easy to track SLIs related to uptime and performance of applications.

Tier Level Management

SaaS solutions are often provided in a tiered model where tenants have access to different tier experiences. So, you need to build an architecture that will help monitor and control experiences at each tier level.

However, this practice is not just about maximizing the performance but also adjusting the consumption of computing resources. Thus, even if you have a robust system that can handle multiple loads of these tenants, you may choose to control resource allocation for some of these tiers based on specific business needs.

Here, you can integrate the SaaS monitoring tool with a throttling function that can control the computational power allocation as per need to different tiers. You can also configure functions for concurrency invocations for better performance triggered through SaaS monitoring platforms.

Data flow & Metrics Integrations

When your network exists across environments from multiple vendors, it becomes essential for  SaaS network monitoring tools to treat data from different resources equally. Configuring your SaaS monitoring platforms to integrate data flows can help you generate a uniform metric presentation that enables a complete overview of the system.

Let’s take an example of the deployment of a document repository application on a hybrid cloud. What components will you need to monitor if your employees need to access the application from offices physically and remotely while at home?

Here are some of the major components to monitor through the SaaS log monitoring platform.

Local datacenters- Your applications are hosted on a cloud environment with several core services with a localized version of the app store on the on-premise datacenter. So, you need to monitor local datacenters to measure the performance of core services, compliance, and security.

Network-  Leverage SaaS network monitoring to ensure seamless connection, latency, errors, and encryptions for safe data access

Trigger Functions- You need to measure the response of trigger functions to ensure that there is no delay in the execution of user requests.

Apart from all these best practices, you will also need advanced Monitoring as a Service(MaaS) for your projects. It is a solution that will help you with several tools for monitoring applications, servers, systems, or any other IT asset. For example, Cloudlytics’ Monitoring as a Service solution provides SaaS monitoring capabilities. Let’s understand how it helps with SaaS monitoring.

How Cloudlytics helps monitor your SaaS?

Cloudlytics is a SaaS monitoring platform that offers excellent tools to track all the essential metrics related to your application. The best part about Cloudlytics is its cloud intelligence engine which enables intelligent analytics and monitoring. The engine employs Artificial Intelligence algorithms to allow features like,

  • Asset inventory automation
  • Structural resource mapping
  • Vulnerability and security assessment
  • Compliance mapping
  • Virtual network diagram
  • Graphical analytics and comprehensive dashboard

Another aspect that Cloudlytics excels in is offering a complete overview of SaaS applications and systems deployed across multiple vendor environments.


Performance, security and uptime are essential to successful business growth, especially in cloud adoption. So, SaaS monitoring becomes necessary for your systems to analyze the metrics and make changes quickly. Solutions like MaaS from Cloudlytics can provide you with advanced SaaS monitoring tools that enable higher business agility.

Also Read: What is SaaS Security?

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