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Understanding Code Observability, SLOs, SLIs, and the Observability Stack for Cloud computing

Without code observability, Service Level Objectives (SLOs), or Service Level Indicators (SLIs), modern software can no longer meet the high-performance, reliability, and scalability standards in today’s new world of software development. This guide will elaborate on these topics and highlight the various parts of observability stack for realistic work.

What is Code Observability?

Code observability is a mechanism that is used to measure the inner states of a system by the means of the data creation like logs, metrics, and traces. It is a revolutionary concept compared to conventional monitoring as it offers deeper insights about the behavior of applications such that the developers or fixers are able to easily understand and solve the problems associated with the applications.

Key Components of Code Observability:

  • Logs: Activities chronologically recorded in form of logs in an application. Unlike errors, logs add perspective to help pinpoint mistakes and set the course of a program

  • Metrics: Metric data that help measure the quality of a system or organization. Typical measurements might be based on CPU usage, memory footprint, requests per unit of time, the status of those requests and so forth.

  • Traces: a way of keeping track on the flow of requests as they move through a distributed system. Traceability enables one to understand whether components are properly sequenced and how delays at one component affect modules downstream.

Benefits of Code Observability:

  • Improved Debugging: It is a key to understanding the background to figure out the causes of the problems in a timely manner.
    Proactive Monitoring: Teams need to understand the metrics and how to interpret them so they are not caught with a problem that is already affecting users.

  • Performance Optimization: Engineers adopt Observability in order to locate points of bottleneck and determine the efficiency of system resource use.

  • Enhanced Reliability: Better understanding of system behavior means more high availability than average systems can achieve.

Understanding SLOs and SLIs

What are Service Level Objectives (SLOs)?

Service Level Indicators (SLIs) are metrics that measure the performance and reliability of a service. SLIs provide the data needed to evaluate whether SLOs are being met.

How SLOs and SLIs Work Together:

Defining SLOs: SLOs are determined by the initiatives that the company operates as well as the expectations of the user. For example an SLO might read that 99% of the instructional time that a teacher is providing will be productive. The number of requests should be such that 90% of the requests should have response time of 200 milliseconds or less.

Monitoring SLIs: SLOs are measured through service-level indicators (SLI) set to monitor the service. The SLI in this case would be the number of requests that achieved a response time under the 200 milliseconds.

Evaluating Performance: SLIs measure the performance of a service and can be used to compare with SLOs to assess the performance of a service and a plane for action if required.

Examples of Common SLIs:

Availability: The percentage of time a service is available and operational.

Latency: The time taken to process a request.

Error Rate: The percentage of requests that result in errors.

Throughput: The number of requests processed in a given time period.

Building an Effective Observability Stack

An observability stack is a combination of tools and practices used to achieve comprehensive observability in an application. A well-constructed observability stack enables teams to collect, analyze, and act on telemetry data effectively.

Key Components of an Observability Stack:

  • Data Collection: Library and collection of software for retrieval of application and infrastructure logs, metrics, and traces.

  • Data Storage: Storage of telemetry data data storage at scale. This can be everything from line-based metrics databases to time-series databases and log aggregation services for logs.

  • Data Analysis: Software for the processing of telemetry stream, pattern discovery, and perceived results. This includes visual analytics, querying languages and machine learning algorithms.

  • Alerting and Notification: Scheduling systems for agendas/orders under specified criteria and sending out notifications to concerned parties. This means that they are able to let teams know when things are not going well when they happen.

  • Visualization and Dashboards: Dagadboards for analyzing telemetry and monitoring KPIs. These dashboards enable operators to monitor system health and performance in real-time.

Popular Tools in the Observability Stack:

  • Prometheus: A popular enterprise-level open source application for collecting and charting metrics.

  • Grafana: A free and open source platform for monitoring and analysing data with graphs, often used together with Prometheus.

  • Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana (ELK Stack): A combination of methods for logging, storing, and analyzing log messages.

  • Jaeger: Dapper: A Large-Scale User Monitoring Framework for Real-World Services.

  • OpenTelemetry: A set of software development kits (SDKs) containing libraries or agents to produce telemetry of the applications and systems.

Implementing Code Observability in Practice

Step 1: Instrument Your Code
Instrumenting your code involves adding the necessary hooks to collect telemetry data. This can include adding logging statements, capturing metrics, and setting up tracing.

Step 2: Centralize Data Collection
Centralize the collection of telemetry data using tools like Prometheus for metrics, ELK Stack for logs, and Jaeger for traces. This ensures that all data is available in a single place for analysis.

Step 3: Set Up Dashboards and Alerts
Create dashboards to visualize key metrics and set up alerts to notify teams of potential issues. Use tools like Grafana to build custom dashboards tailored to your application's needs.

Step 4: Analyze and Optimize
Regularly analyze telemetry data to identify patterns and trends. Use these insights to optimize application performance, improve reliability, and enhance the user experience.

Best Practices for Code Observability

  • Adopt a Culture of Observability: Ensure that the current stakeholders adopt an observability philosophy. This means the developers, operations and business segments.

  • Start Small and Iterate: use minimal instrumentation and progressively move from there to more complex instruments as the programming bar progresses. Organize continuous feedback and active improvement of observability.

  • Focus on Key Metrics: Focus on a small list of the most valuable and most usable metrics for your application. This makes sure you have the right set of KPIs that will drive user-generated value and business performance.

  • Automate Alerts: Add trigger rules for issues and notify the system to automatically flag certain events for remediation. Hence there is need to have a service such as Prometheus Alertmanager to monitor and manage alerts.

  • Regularly Review slo and sli: It is also essential to check periodically and measure the effectiveness of SLOs and SLIs. Flexibles: It is pertinent to change the targets according to trends in performance along with shifting expectations.


Making software observable in this context means having a means to support rich visibility from all the relevant perspectives and at a scale. Through telemetry vs observability, setting, and monitoring SLOs/SLIs set by engineers, and creating an efficient observability stack, teams can guarantee that applications are reliable, effective, and user-optimized. While the need for observability solutions in software development and operations will only continue to rise, any benefits organizations gain in efficiency through the usage of these solutions will require careful management.

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