In control theory, observability is a measure of how well internal states of a system can be inferred from knowledge of its external outputs. 

Today, in software engineering, observability is a set of practices to understand what your systems are doing. There are three ways that are often referred too in observability. These are:

  • logging
  • metrics
  • tracing

At QCon, several talks will discuss the practices of observability and running complex distributed systems. Below are a few to watch for.

QCon - TAC


Profiles, the Missing Pillar: Continuous Profiling in Practice

With Continuous Profiling (CP) you capture resource usage (such as CPU, memory, I/O, etc.) over time, enabling you to pinpoint the (source) code that is slow or causes an issue. In recent times, CP has become mainstream and a number of open source projects such as Parca, Pyroscope, or CNCF...

Michael Hausenblas Solution Engineering Lead @AWS
An Observable Service with No Logs

After working with Honeycomb for a little while and starting to instrument our existing code with events, I’d become enamoured with the level of observability possible with that sort of telemetry. In particular, how easy it became to interactively and visually explore how my systems were...

Glen Mailer Senior Software Engineer @Geckoboard
Chaos Engineering Observability with Visual Metaphors

Observability is key in operating a system in production; it’s required during an incident, when an operator has to interrogate, inspect, and piece together what happened to avoid a similar event. In those scenarios, Chaos engineering and Observability are closely connected - providing...

Yury Niño Roa Cloud Infrastructure Engineer @Google
Slack’s DNSSEC Rollout: Third Time’s the Outage

We all have to manage DNS. DNS changes are inherently high-blast-radius and high-visibility. We present a case study of what happened when a large SaaS company enabled DNSSEC. We did significant planning and testing beforehand. The rollout went smoothly for most of our domains, but one...

Rafael de Elvira Tellez Senior Software Engineer @Slack
Could Observability-Driven Development Be the Next Leap?

Twenty years ago Kent Beck coined the term “test-driven development”: write tests first, develop the code later. Today, even if not practising true TDD, the idea of writing code without tests is an immediate warning sign to any developer. Yet, most teams still continue shipping code...

Yury Niño Roa Cloud Infrastructure Engineer @Google
Michael Hausenblas Solution Engineering Lead @AWS
Glen Mailer Senior Software Engineer @Geckoboard
Jessica Kerr Principal Developer Evangelist @honeycombio
Observability for Speed & Flow

When we want to go fast, it helps to see what we are doing.When we design team and departmental processes, we want to know what’s happening in the software teams. We want to see danger points and obstacles we could smooth. It’s tempting to ask people to fill more fields in JIRA, but...

Jessica Kerr Principal Developer Evangelist @honeycombio


Yury Niño Roa Cloud Infrastructure Engineer @Google

Chaos Engineering Observability with Visual Metaphors

What is the focus of your work these days?

I am a Cloud Infrastructure Engineer at Google. Although I interact with partners, clients and sales teams, my work is very technical, my daily activities include implementing Infrastructure and AppDev solutions in GCP. Every day I am practicing and getting experience with DevOps, SRE, Application Development, Developer Operations,...

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