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Observability Means Being Able To Get Insights Into A Black Box System: Andreas Grabner, Dynatrace

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Guest: Andreas Grabner (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Company: Dynatrace (Twitter) | Project: Keptn (Twitter, LinkedIn)
Show: Let’s Talk

Dynatrace is all about helping customers build and operate software that runs perfectly for their customers to support business needs. The company predates many of the cloud-native technologies that we rely on today. But as the IT landscape changed, so did Dynatrace. It continues to help customers in their journey by providing software intelligence to simplify cloud complexity and accelerate digital transformation.

We have been covering Dynatrace on TFiR for a while now and I finally got the opportunity to host Andreas Grabner, DevOps Activist at Dynatrace and Developer Advocate for CNCF Keptn.

“We are in the observability space,” says Grabner, “That means Dynatrace itself is a software intelligence platform that is pulling in data through different ways of observability, and then really giving this data to the different stakeholders whether it’s developers early on to make sure that they understand the impact of their code changes, or also the business side to show them how is the software actually used.”

Grabner has been with Dynatrace for more than 14 years and has seen the evolution of the IT stack and cloud infrastructure. He says that meeting the modern needs “means additional challenges for observability vendors on how we can actually get the data.” Grabner continues, “A lot of things have changed. But the ultimate premise is still the same: How can we help the software engineers, the performance engineers, the site reliability engineers, the DevOps engineers, and the business with better data so that they can make better decisions on what the next step should be with the software services.”

Grabner also comments on how observability has changed over the years when he says, “If I look back 14 years ago, it was easier for me to analyze a monolithic Java application because there was a very small scope of data that I had available.” As to observability in the current landscape, Grabner points out that companies are deploying to different clouds, running in the JVM or serverless frameworks, or even in systems within clouds they don’t have access to. In the end, Grabner says, “We need to make sense of the data and give not just more data, but actually actionable answers to people.”

Perform 2022 is on the horizon and of this event, Grabner says, “It is the event where Dynatrace and the larger observability community come together.” The theme for this year’s event is “Game Changers” and Grabner finishes up by saying, “We bring people on stage, whether in the keynotes or in the breakdowns, that talk about how they have changed their lives over the last couple of months and years to become a game changer in their organization so that they can deliver better digital services to their end users.” The format of Perform 2022 will be fully virtual and attendees can sign up on the Dynatrace site.

There was so much to learn from him in this discussion. Here are some of the topics we covered in this show:

  • What does Dynatrace do?
  • How has Dynatrace evolved over time? How has observability itself evolved? How has software intelligence evolved as we are moving from the old stack to a cloud-centric world?
  • I was also curious to know how Grabner defines observability.
  • We then talked about the significance of observability for businesses and why they should care about it and why it should be a core part of their strategy.
  • We talked a lot about the Shift Left and DevOps movement. But how much is happening in reality?
  • I then asked him if he could share a playbook for DevOps to get started with when it comes to observability.
  • As expected we also talked about Keptn, a project that was created by Dynatrace and donated to CNCF.
  • Last but not least, we talked about the upcoming Perform 2022 event that will be hosted virtually.

It was an incredible experience talking to Grabner. I hope you will enjoy the discussion as well.

The summary of the show is written by Jack Wallen

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