HomeOperationsMonitoring7 best practices for ensuring observability in microservices applications 

7 best practices for ensuring observability in microservices applications 

Introducing observability practices in microservices applications isn’t just recommended—it’s vital for navigating the complexities of modern software architectures. By gaining deep insights into the intricate dependencies and interactions among microservices, observability lays the foundation for effectively managing these dynamic systems. Early detection of bottlenecks is a key advantage, allowing developers to address issues and optimize performance swiftly. 

Furthermore, observability empowers organizations to fine-tune system and service performance, driving continuous improvement and resilience. Through a holistic approach encompassing centralized logging, real-time alerts, distributed tracing, and seamless collaboration between development and operations teams, organizations can unleash the full potential of observability, significantly enhancing the reliability and efficiency of their microservices applications. So, whether it’s ensuring seamless user experiences or maximizing operational efficiency, embracing observability isn’t just beneficial—it’s imperative in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape.


Before making any decisions regarding observability tools, conducting a comprehensive audit of your platform is highly recommended. This audit will provide valuable insights into your platform’s requirements and help identify the essential data sources that need monitoring. Defining your needs upfront ensures that you select the most suitable observability tools that align with your organization’s objectives and goals.

With this understanding, we’re ready to move on to discussing the key best practices for observing microservice applications. 

1) Exception Tracking

Microservice developers must quickly identify exceptions logged by any service, as they often signal programming errors requiring resolution. While logs are traditionally used for this purpose, they have limitations such as single-line entries and duplicate exceptions, making them inadequate. Exceptions, distinct from errors, typically originate from application code issues. Administrators investigate exceptions by running traces to pinpoint the microservice at fault. Collaboration with developers is necessary to debug the code, implement fixes, and redeploy updated microservice versions. The exception tracking pattern, reporting service-level exceptions to a centralized server, offers a superior approach for efficient resolution.

2) Enable Critical Alerts

Set up alerts for essential errors or issues requiring manual attention while avoiding unnecessary alerts for routine system updates. This ensures that your team focuses on critical issues promptly, maintaining system reliability and minimizing distractions. Additionally, customize alert thresholds based on the severity of the problem and its potential impact on system performance. Take Github for example, where 2 teams – Security and Platform both automate security measures such as running multiple authentication and authorization mechanisms, and running timely scans of running container images and packages to rectify any vulnerability.

3) Monitor End-User Experience 

Integrate data streams from the front-end application to acquire insights into the end-user experience, guaranteeing a thorough comprehension of system performance. Employees in your organization could leverage enhanced access to relevant data to gain client-specific insights into how issues affect particular customer segments. While most clients may benefit from a recent upgrade, exceptions may arise for those experiencing heavy loads or specific time constraints. On-call engineers could potentially deliver more comprehensive issue reports and respond promptly to incidents by leveraging this data.

4) Harness Open-Source Solutions

Utilize open-source solutions to simplify data collection and enhance observability across cloud environments, tapping into community-driven resources for flexibility and customization.  An example of an open-source tool is Grafana which generates visually appealing dashboards. Grafana allows for deeper investigation of microservice metrics by connecting smoothly with popular databases like as InfluxDB and Prometheus. They both are adept at handling time-series data.

5) Promote a DevOps Mindset

Cultivate a collaborative DevOps culture to break down silos, streamline processes, and promote shared responsibility for observability, driving innovation and efficiency. DevOps emphasizes automation, continuous integration, and continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices to streamline the software development lifecycle. Automating repetitive tasks and reducing manual intervention make processes more efficient, allowing teams to deliver software faster and with higher quality. 

6) Logging is a Must

In the fast-paced world of microservices, where many small services work together, keeping track of everything is tough. Logging acts like a watchful eye for each service, keeping a detailed record of what they’re up to. These logs help developers spot errors, understand how users use the system, and ensure everything runs smoothly. Fixing problems becomes a guessing game without logging, and the whole system’s stability is at risk. So, with microservices, logging is essential for ensuring everything runs smoothly and developers stay informed.

7) Ensure Proper Access Rights Allocation:

Embedding observability within help desk and trouble ticket systems enables timely issue identification and resolution by the appropriate IT staff. Utilizing an IAM solution, the help desk team gains access to view user information and basic service health metrics, while restricted from modifying login functionalities, thus minimizing security risks. Integration of logs, traces, and alerts ensures prompt notification of the right personnel, leading to faster and more accurate issue identification and resolution. This cohesive approach ensures both security and efficiency in managing a complex microservices environment.

Navigating the Microservices Landscape, key takeaways:

By embracing these 8 practices for observability, applications can seamlessly fragment into smaller, autonomous services, fostering scalability and resilience while effectively managing fault isolation and redundancy. Moreover, adopting agile development methodologies advocated by microservices practices accelerates development timelines, allowing teams to deliver features and updates swiftly. 

Applying such practices will simplify the movement and engagement of various services in a distributed application while also cutting big systems down into manageable components. Simplifying modular code, guaranteeing maintenance, and establishing a rigorous debugging procedure help minimize the risk of oversights or unexpected consequences during program changes. 


Receive our top stories directly in your inbox!

Sign up for our Newsletters