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VMblog Expert Interview: Nobl9 - Integrating with Microsoft Azure Monitor to Simplify the Creation and Management of SLOs

interview with nobl9

Reliability is critical to business success and customer happiness, moving organizations to implement more observability and monitoring tools than ever before to help them maximize efficiency. Creating the right Service Level Objectives (SLOs) is key to maintaining reliable software, tracking error budgets and doing more with less. To find out the latest on SLOs, I caught up with Kit Merker, Chief Growth Officer of Nobl9, one of the first companies to provide a mainstream SLO management platform called Reliability Center. Nobl9 recently introduced a new integration with Microsoft Azure Monitor in order to simplify the creation and management of SLOs. 

VMblog: We haven't caught up with you in a while. How is the business of SLOs, and improving cloud reliability?

Kit Merker:  The business of SLOs is all about giving customers a way to define, measure and report on the performance of their applications and systems - including in the cloud. Organizations are finding out the value of SLOs and how they can help them make informed decisions to scale their services according to customer demand, ensuring that they have the necessary resources to deliver high-quality services even during peak times. Implementing SLOs with Nobl9 Reliability Center provides customers with a framework for measuring their cloud services' performance against user expectations. SLOs also help companies establish a culture of service reliability by stressing the importance of setting objectives and measuring performance, and by encouraging collaboration and accountability among teams. Several of Nobl9's new features, including dashboards and reports designed to let executives and engineers understand a Reliability Score calculated from all the SLOs they want to manage, help teams improve overall business functions while enabling efficient cloud resource allocation to reduce costs. This granular level of observability is key for improving cloud reliability given the scale and complexity of modern cloud ecosystems.

VMblog: Nobl9 announced an integration with Microsoft Azure Monitor at Microsoft Ignite. How does the integration between Azure and Nobl9 help customers with SLOs?

Merker:  The main goal of Nobl9's integration with Azure Monitor is to simplify SLO creation and management - it drastically reduces the time and effort needed to implement SLOs. Azure Monitor collects and analyzes telemetry data from cloud and hybrid environments, helping customers proactively identify problems based on insight into the performance and availability of cloud resources. With our new integration, Azure Monitor users can use Nobl9's service level indicator analyzer (SLI Analyzer) to create SLOs immediately from existing Azure monitoring data. They can also quickly find and use historical data to select the optimal SLO targets, and really unlock the full potential of Azure Monitoring metrics. That removes all of the guesswork in where to set the goal or threshold of the SLO.

Setting reliability goals is only getting more difficult at the scale and intricacy of our enterprise customers, so integrating Nobl9 into Azure Monitor offers a game-changing framework for monitoring applications, services, and infrastructure across cloud environments and on-premise resources. This new integration is one of our most robust data source integrations yet and creates an entirely new way for Azure Monitor users to leverage their data.

VMblog: What are some reasons that organizations might want to leverage SLOs as they interact with cloud providers? 

Merker:  Creating useful SLOs is one of the most effective approaches being adopted by organizations to maximize cloud resources, because SLOs offer a measurable and objective approach to reliability and ensure that the service provided to users is consistent and stable. In fact, Nobl9's recent "2023 State-of-SLOs" report found that 82% of respondents plan to increase the use of SLOs, and 95% indicated that SLO adoption is driving better business decisions.

The beauty of SLOs is that they allow management and development teams to treat reliability as a feature, rather than an afterthought. Customers can proactively address bugs and vulnerabilities, thus reducing software downtime and increasing service quality. Integrating SLOs into your workflow may be an initial investment, but when working with cloud providers like Azure Monitor, that investment is a game-changer for optimizing reliability practically and efficiently. Leveraging useful SLOs saves you tremendous time and money across your cloud deployments, because you can easily manage the complete reliability lifecycle. Ultimately, that elevates customer experience and ensures you're fulfilling customer expectations and delivering on service-level agreements.

VMblog: What are some key features of the Azure integration?

Merker:  Nobl9 Reliability Center covers the entire observability ecosystem, and helps customers understand their software reliability. With the integration with Azure Monitor, Nobl9 provides customers with an end-to-end experience allowing them to discover, create, calibrate and deploy SLOs efficiently and easily. One key feature is metrics discovery, which streamlines the creation of Azure Monitor SLOs based on existing Azure resources in just a few clicks. 

Another great feature is pre-fabricated reliability goals. These are prewritten SLOs with smart defaults common to infrastructure use cases on Azure, which provide out-of-the-box reliability objectives so there is zero guesswork for customers. Additionally, the integration gives customers easy customization and deployment with Nobl9 SLI Analyzer. The Analyzer retrieves historical reliability data from Azure Monitor which lets you calibrate reliability targets to specific customer needs.

VMblog: What benefits can customers expect from using Nobl9 with Azure Monitor?

Merker:  Speed and ease. Using Nobl9 Reliability Center's integration, customers can create useful SLOs in minutes. They simply establish a connection and Nobl9 pulls in Azure Metrics data immediately after they become available in Azure Monitor. We also support importing up to 30 days of historical data and performing data analytics using Nobl9's SLI Analyzer. Azure Monitor users can leverage existing data to automatically create SLOs without the guesswork of predicting a meaningful threshold or goal for their SLO. The Nobl9 integration with Azure Monitor is also the first in our inventory that supports the discovery of clients' resources and metrics. Once you set up an Azure Monitor data source, you don't need to remember or copy-paste any specific resource identifier or metric name. Customers can easily explore all resources and their metrics within the Nobl9 web application. Because of these capabilities, users can quickly set goals without guessing and better manage and respond to reliability concerns.

VMblog: Nobl9 also recently launched an integration with the Cisco Observability Platform. How does that integration work with Nobl9 Reliability Center?

Merker:  We're thrilled to partner with Cisco and contribute to their Full-Stack Observability solution suite. We already have several integrations with Cisco products, but this latest module extends our reach into the Cisco Observability Platform, giving customers visibility into reliability issues across their entire technology stack. This ensures that enterprises leveraging Cisco's observability ecosystem can access Nobl9's robust, end-to-end reliability solution.

VMblog: What can VMblog readers expect from Nobl9 in the future? Is there anything else we should know?

Merker:  First of all, come see us at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas this month! We'll be in booth 1090, "Smooth Operations" is our theme this year. We'd love to see you and talk about all things reliability. 

In terms of 2024, we intend to keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible in software reliability. That means you can expect more partnerships with powerful observability leaders, like Microsoft Azure Monitor and Cisco Observability Platform, but also new developments within Nobl9's platform. We're always working on new features that make reliability easier, more cost-efficient, and more applicable to every organization. And we're committed to increasing collaboration between management and technical teams in terms of reliability; in the end, we all share the same goals of maintaining smooth operations and delivering for our end-users. If you'd like to try Nobl9 Reliability Center yourself, there is a free version with lots of introductory documentation. For those looking to dive deeper, we offer the SLO Academy and offer support to help you get started.


Published Thursday, November 16, 2023 11:30 AM by David Marshall
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