Observability is the extent to which you can understand the internal state of a complex system based on telemetry derived from endpoints, services, and environments. The more observable a system is, the quicker you can determine the root cause of problems without additional testing or coding.

What Is the Difference Between Observability and Monitoring?

With monitoring, you typically configure dashboards and alerts to tell you when something is going wrong. You’ll need to predict the types of problems you’ll see before you see them to be sure you’re capturing the correct information.

Observability gives you the ability to explore the data and find out what is going wrong. It is more about gathering telemetry and logs so issues can be identified. Machine learning can also be used to help identify problems before they arise.

How Do You Make Your MuleSoft Environment Observable?

There are several actions you can take to make your MuleSoft environment and applications observable.

First, it is important to log events as they happen in your applications. This includes when a flow starts and ends, before and after calls to external systems, when an important path executes, error details, and important business values. All of these events will help you track down the root cause of a problem when you run into one.

Second, collecting performance metrics from your application and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) will help you identify performance issues. Using a tool like Elastic Application Performance Monitoring (APM) will help collect performance data and enable sampling of performance data for your application.

Third, enabling tracing on your application will help you pinpoint what went wrong with a specific request. Log the correlation ID in every log message your request goes through and be sure to pass that correlation ID through on all calls to external systems, so those systems can log the ID as well.

Lastly, be sure to map your applications’ dependencies. Enabling Anypoint Visualizer will enable you to see what other MuleSoft applications and systems your applications are dependent on. This helps you identify what is impacted by changes or failure events in one system.

Why Take These Actions?

Enabling these observability measures will help you identify issues early in your development lifecycle when they are cheaper and easier to resolve. This leads to operational and end-user experience improvements. These simple actions can have a positive impact on your organization.

As an example, let’s say you have a customer having a timeout issue when submitting an order in your application. Using your tracing data, you can identify the transaction, then follow through to the application that is having the performance issue and identify the root cause for the issue using the logs. This is even more seamless if all of the observability data is in one location, where everything can be tied together easily.

I encourage you to enable these observability improvements in your applications today