SolarWinds, the maker of a well-known and widely used suite of IT management software products, announced this week that it’s expanding to the cloud, with the release of Observability, a cloud-native, SaaS-based IT management service that is also available for hybrid cloud environments.
The basic idea of Observability is to provide a more holistic, integrated overview of an end-user company’s IT systems, using a single-pane-of-glass interface to track data from network, infrastructure, application and database sources. The system's machine learningtechniques are designed to bolster security via anomaly detection.
SolarWinds said that the system will work with both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure — a Google Cloud version is in the works and planned for next year—and a hybrid cloud version is also available for deployment in users’ data centres.
As deployment of cloud and hybrid cloud applications gained momentum over the past few years, leading to increasing infrastructure complexity, the term "observability" gained currency, denoting the ability of a system to provide a high-level overview of IT infrastructure as well as granular metrics, to allow for efficient network and security management.
“[W]e’re laying the foundation for autonomous operations through both monitoring and observability solutions,” said SolarWinds chief product officer Rohini Kasturi in a statement. “With our Hybrid Cloud Observability and SolarWinds Observability offerings, customers have ultimate flexibility to deploy on a private cloud, public cloud, or as-a-service.”
It’s an important step forward for SolarWinds, according to Gartner VP analyst Gregg Siegfried, for multiple reasons. For one thing, he said, the company’s traditional products work in a siloed way — so server monitoring and network monitoring are completely different products, with different management consoles and so on.
Integrating them into a more integrated overview, then, is crucial, despite the presence of SolarWinds’ Orion integration platform.
“When you think about the visibility platforms of today, the idea is that you’re able to look at these things more holistically, so the most important thing is being able to do that,” he said.
Another reason that Observability is likely to prove critically important to SolarWinds’ position in the market is that it marks a shift away from the company’s traditional focus on on-premises solutions. Siegfried said that SolarWinds has been losing market share to several companies as businesses increasingly move core IT operations out of the data centre and into cloud environments.
“Bottom line is that they’ve been bleeding share as people move into the cloud because the Orion [IT monitoring] product doesn’t support cloud-based workloads,” he said. “[Observability], in theory, provides a migration path to those who are still on Orion as they migrate to the cloud.”
SolarWinds’ reputation in the marketplace is still recovering from the highly publicised cyber attack in 2020, in which hackers backed by the Russian government compromised US government systems at least partially via security flaws in SolarWinds’ products.
“They still have a sizeable customer base, and certainly the damage to their reputation continues,” noted Siegfried. “But they’ve taken the right communications steps and made tangible changes to the way they do things, they’re certainly trying to right the ship, and these types of solutions are all important ways to broaden their appeal.”
Observability has elastic pricing, based on the type of service purchased and the size of the environment to be managed — application observability is priced per app instance, log observability is priced per GB per month, and so on. The product is available now.