Survey Results Highlight Tool Sprawl, Serverless, and More Hinder Engineers’ Abilities to Gain Visibility and Optimize Performance

Boston and Tel Aviv, January 14, 2020, an open source observability platform for modern engineering teams, announced the results of the DevOps Pulse 2019, the company’s annual analysis of the DevOps industry highlighting key trends, points of interest, and challenges that engineers experience on a daily basis. This year’s survey focuses on observability, bringing DevOps engineers’ unique insights into what it means to make systems observable, how to achieve that outcome, and how observability contributes to maximizing product performance. The results highlight the growing popularity of observability, the strategic role it plays in DevOps processes, and challenges that are preventing teams from achieving full observability into their systems. 

The DevOps Pulse was launched in 2016 to help the DevOps community understand various trends in DevOps methodology, tooling, and more. Each year, the survey focuses on a specific issue relevant to the field. The DevOps Pulse 2019, features answers from nearly 1000 DevOps engineers, SREs, developers, and other IT professionals from across the globe.

“As production environments become more distributed and ephemeral, it’s increasingly difficult for engineering teams to understand systems’ availability and performance. As we see in this report, despite the proliferation of monitoring tools, obtaining real-time visibility into production systems has never been more challenging” says VP of Product, Asaf Yigal. 

Primary insights from the DevOps Pulse include:

  • Tracing has yet to be fully adopted. 66% of DevOps Pulse respondents do not use distributed tracing tools, but Jaeger is the most popular tool among those who have adopted this technology. 
  • Logging is critical for observability. Over 73% reported using log management and analysis tools to gain observability. Infrastructure monitoring and alerting took second place, both at about 40%.
  • Tool sprawl is a significant and widespread issue for software engineers. 63% of DevOps Pulse respondents report using more than one observability tool, while close to 14% use five or more.
  • Open source observability stacks are largely preferred over their proprietary counterparts. ELK is the most popular logging tool, Grafana is the most popular metrics tool, and Jaeger is the most popular tracing tool. 
  • Serverless is the biggest technical obstacle to observability. Despite more than 40% of respondents adopting serverless, 47% claim serverless technology presents the most challenges for obtaining observability. 
  • Machine Learning is gaining momentum as an observability solution. Almost 40% of DevOps Pulse participants use or are considering machine learning solutions to improve observability. 
  • As DevOps has become mainstream, R&D teams are sharing the responsibility for observability across multiple roles. DevOps teams are still largely responsible for ensuring observability, but Developers and Operations are not far behind. 

The results of the DevOps Pulse 2019 showed that although DevOps teams are report moderate levels of observability, modern technologies such as serverless as well as an abundance of monitoring tools have made gaining observability a challenge. Surprisingly, while logging remains the number one source of signals, tracing tools have yet to be fully adopted, making it difficult for teams to get the full picture of events taking place in their systems.

With 38 questions pertaining to both DevOps trends and observability, the DevOps Pulse 2019 provides a detailed report of the state of DevOps and how the industry is prioritizing observability in 2020 and beyond. Access the report here or contact for more information on the study.