10 Best Observability Tools in 2022

Better Stack Team
Updated on October 13, 2022

Observability is vital when it comes to producing and maintaining modern applications. Ironically, there are still a lot of obscurities when it comes to reaching it.

Monitoring and observability are often mixed up, which is not quite right. This could be due to the level of abstraction surrounding the concept. Many search results providing an answer to "what is observability?" are tailored to fit marketing purposes. DevOps.com identified this trend Observability washing.

📖 Google's learning center offers this research backed definition of these two terms in their learning resources:

Monitoring is tooling or a technical solution that allows teams to watch and understand the state of their systems. Monitoring is based on gathering predefined sets of metrics or logs.

Observability is tooling or a technical solution that allows teams to debug their system actively. Observability is based on exploring properties and patterns not defined in advance.

The main difference lies in the fact that monitoring requires prediction - engineers must configure a monitor to check if a specific thing goes out or not. Observability allows you to spot performance trends and issues and unexpected service behavior, so it helps you to find places where monitoring is needed.

Observability platform vs. observability tool

Logs, Metrics, and Traces, also known as the three pillars of observability, enable developers to reach observability in complex distributed services. Thus, log management, monitoring, or tracing applications are observability tools that offer only a partial insight due to how platforms handle ingested data.

Another issue is that it's still a relatively new concept. Most vendors offering such platforms have been on the market for years, but the term observability surfaced only recently. This can be illustrated with market giants like Datadog and New Relic since they do not offer the same "observability" while both being observability platforms.

10 Best Observability Tools in 2022:

1. Logtail

Logtail is a log management solution based on ClickHouse, which allows it to be fast without compromising security or reliability. Logtail collects data from the majority of the most popular languages, frameworks, and hosts.

It also offers advanced collaboration features, one-click filtering by context, and presence & absence monitoring, all together in a developer-centric Dark UI.

Logtail offers one-click integration with Better Uptime, an uptime monitoring and incident management tool from Better Stack. With this integration, developers can join metrics and logs, collaborate on incidents, manage on-call schedules and create status pages from one place.

A feature that stands out: One-click Integration with Better Uptime's Incident Management

Both Logtail and Better Uptime were built in Better Stack. Thanks to this, both tools seamlessly integrate with the other. Better Uptime allows you to set up synthetic monitors, collaborate on incidents, manage on-call schedules and create status pages.

2. Datadog

Datadog is mainly praised for infrastructure and security monitoring features, but it offers an entire suite of observability tools integrated into one end-to-end platform. With Datadog, you can monitor Application Performance, Gather data from real users, manage logs or declare and solve incidents.

A feature that stands out: Cloud Security Monitoring

Datadog offers an extended toolkit of security tools for cloud environments, often reaching beyond the scope of other observability platforms. These include Cloud SIEM, Cloud Security Posture Management (configuration rules for monitoring compliance with standards like HIPAA or GDPR)

3. Dynatrace

Dynatrace is an end-to-end observability platform offering an entire observability toolkit from Infrastructure monitoring, Log management, and APM. Dynatrace's Application monitoring is one of the best available. It allows you to monitor the performance and security of cloud applications. It's also fairly easy to work with, thanks to the One-Agent data collection and agent configuration directly from the Web UI. You can find more information about Dynatrace in our [comparison article][apm-dd-vs-dynatrace] with Datadog, where we deployed, tried, and tested both.

A feature that stands out: Davis, the AI-engine

Davis, the AI engine from Dynatrace, handles most of the data processing and provides insights extracted from data across the stack. This can make the pricing a bit confusing, mainly due to the Davis-unit pricing.

4. New Relic

New Relic is an observability platform with a toolkit divided into 16 main tools covering everything from Infrastructure monitoring, Logging, APM, and RUM to Security monitoring. It's been on the market since 2008 and is one of the most renowned platforms out there. New Relic is mainly praised for top-notch APM features, well integrated into the observability stack, and fairly easy maintenance. Needless to say, really mastering the platform is not an easy or cheap task. If you want to learn more about New Relic, make sure to check out our Datadog vs. New Relic Comparison.

A feature that stands out: Free, full-platform subscription tier

New Relic offers full platform access for one user with the only restriction of 100 GBs of ingested data/month. However, from there, it only gets quite expensive.

5. Sentry

Sentry is an error-tracking and application performance-monitoring platform. It's a purpose-built tool capable of tracking key metrics, capturing distributed traces, and revealing the cause and impact of errors and performance bottlenecks in your service. It offers an unparalleled scope of support for languages and platforms.

A feature that stands out: Breadcrumbs, a trail of events leading to error

Sentry collects a lot of data and allows you to access it from multiple UIs. Sentry's UI enables you to drill down from a project bird-view to a specific trace. Breadcrumbs enable users to see a detailed trail of events leading to the error. We've actually tried and tested this feature in our comparison article.

6. Signoz.io

Signoz.io is an open-source application performance monitoring tool backed by Y Combinator. While it's still a relatively new project, it gains traction by the day. As of now, Signoz supports ingesting metrics, logs, and traces, creating dashboards and panels, and even exporting alerts to third-party solutions.

A feature that stands out: ClickHouse + Open Telemetry

Like Logtail, Signoz.io uses ClickHouse for DBMS. It also leverages standards set by Open Telemetry for data collection, which makes it really easy to start with but also to customize and cherrypick tools for your observability stack. Open telemetry support is also advantageous in migrating to other services supporting the same instrumentation.

7. Sumo Logic

Sumo Logic is an analytical platform delivering playing a key role in making complex cloud architectures observable and secure. It offers few but feature-saturated products for modern cloud infrastructures and applications observability and monitoring. Sumo Logic also offers an entire security monitoring and management suite.

A feature that stands out: Application Observability (APM, RUM + Security)

Performance monitoring or Application security monitoring are not unusual features. However, Sumo Logic offers all of the above and additional features like RUM, incident response, or even CrowdStrike 's threat intelligence.

8. Splunk

Splunk is a unified security and observability platform offering real-time visibility and data fidelity. It offers everything from infrastructure monitoring, log management, RUM, and Synthetic monitoring, or APM. Splunk also belongs among the founding members and active contributors to OpenTelemetry. Splunk APM supports open, vendor-neutral instrumentation, allowing for even more flexibility.

A feature that stands out: Observability, Security, and On-call under one roof

Splunk acquired Victor Ops and turned it into Splunk On-call, thus becoming one of the few platforms offering a complete set of tools within one platform.

9. Jaeger

Jaeger was originally built by developers in Uber and then donated to CNCF. Jaeger is now a popular, open-source end-to-end distributed tracing tool. It allows you to perform root cause analyses, analyze server dependencies, optimize performance and latency and monitor transactions. Additional features like pipelines for post-collection data processing in other services are coming soon.

A feature that stands out: Jaeger supports multiple storage backends

Jaeger is flexible by default, thanks to its open-source nature. However, the option of choosing different storage engines according to your operation's needs is surely worth mentioning.

10. Prometheus

Prometheus is a monitoring and alerting platform originally developed by the developers of SoundCloud and is the second hosted CNCF project after Kubernetes. Prometheus is one of the most popular tools in many observability stacks. Thanks to that, it has a wide range of active developers, client libraries, and integrations needed to import third-party performance data.

A feature that stands out: Prometheus' own query language - PromQL

PromQL not only leverages the efficient and complex dimensional data mode but also enables users to create really specific queries to generate graphs and tables and handle the entire alert.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we've brought you a list of the best observability tools covering the needs of any modern stack. If you want to learn more about individual tools, or find a tool to cater to a very specific use-case? Here are a few lists with monitoring tools to check out:

And if you got all the way here, thank you for reading our articles, and see you at the next one.

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