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How eBPF has changed the way I feel about observability

By Paul Trebe, Vice President of Sales, groundcover

The dynamic observability landscape of 2024 has set off to challenge the norms established by legacy vendors and open-source solutions. In the last twenty years, I have worked for various companies in the observability field, including New Relic, Dynatrace and Coralogix. I recently decided to join a rather new player in the field, founded in 2021, groundcover. I am convinced they are on the fast track to revolutionizing the observability field by using eBPF in combination with novel approaches to process and store collected data.

eBPF, or extended Berkeley Packet Filter, is emerging as a catalyst for change, providing a balanced alternative between premium pricing and partial monitoring attempts. eBPF-enabled observability technologies are liberating the observability field from the constraints of prohibitive costs and resource-intensive solutions, positioning itself as an 'easy button' that effortlessly delivers insights within 60 seconds of installation. Organizations, grappling with visibility challenges amid budget constraints, deserve unparalleled solutions in observability, without compromise. The single-command install and commercial models that groundcover facilitated by using eBPF, and some additional "magic", are set to disrupt the industry, providing the sought-after 'easy button.'

An engineer I know set up a legacy vendor on his Kubernetes environment, only to face a staggering $33,000 bill for observability costs due to unchecked logs collection. Legacy vendors' pricing models, influenced by factors like data volume and retention period lead to unpredictable costs. Overage bills exceeding 10 times the example abound, making it challenging for organizations to stay within budget.

If used wisely, the rise of eBPF in the world of observability sets the stage for a significant shift in pricing models. Companies are no longer willing to be bound by rigid structures tied to telemetry data volume. By combining eBPF and novel approaches to process and store observability data, like groundcover offers, pricing models can become flexible and user-friendly, empowering organizations to predict and control monthly expenditures effectively. groundcover collects intimate and actionable data all across your stack using the superpower of eBPF instrumentation, but also stores the collected data in a unique inCloud observability backend, so that data never leaves the customer's cloud environment. This eBPF-enabled liberation from box sizes, per-user charges, or data volume constraints paves the way for disruptive innovation, enabling companies to allocate resources based on actual needs rather than predefined tiers.

Predictability and transparency in monthly expenditures has historically been a challenge in observability. Legacy vendors impose exorbitant fees, making it difficult for companies to manage costs effectively. On the other hand, open-source solutions, while cost-effective, require significant resources for implementation and maintenance. The incorporation of eBPF in observability platforms, along with out-of-the-box solutions, enables cost-effective problem solving without compromising performance, allowing organizations to enjoy robust monitoring benefits without the fear of unpredictable costs.

As eBPF gains prominence in this space, addressing the onboarding challenge becomes crucial. Traditional observability solutions often struggle with complex and time-consuming onboarding processes, hindering quick technology adoption. eBPF can uniquely help observability vendors overcome this hurdle, promising a seamless onboarding experience within 60 seconds, fostering efficiency and innovation in the industry's approach.

Traditional approaches tie costs to volumes of metrics, logs, and traces, often inhibiting scalability. Modern approaches built on top of eBPF for collecting the data, and cost-effective ways to store it, disrupts this paradigm by liberating pricing from box sizes, telemetry data volume, or per-user charges. Modern in-cloud architectures that allow the entire observability backend to remain inside its own environment,  removes the cost redundancy of vendor storage. These types of solutions are no longer priced at a premium, enabling multi-cluster visibility and opening up a whole new world of options for what was once not viable.  This newfound flexibility enables organizations to scale observability efforts seamlessly, adapting to changes without financial penalties. This encourages experimentation, allowing organizations to tailor observability solutions to their specific needs.

eBPF, widely used for security and cloud networking, is unveiling its potential as an observability gem. With the right adaptation and usage, Its trusted technology, combined with agility and speed, makes it attractive for real-time observability without compromising efficiency. In the evolving observability landscape, eBPF emerges as a game-changer, bridging the gap between expensive legacy vendors and insufficient open-source solutions. As eBPF matures and it is embraced by users valuing its transformative capabilities, the journey towards a more accessible, adaptable, and cost-effective observability landscape is well underway, with eBPF leading the way into a new era of modern-day monitoring and insights.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Trebe 

Paul Trebe, Vice President of Sales at groundcover that is reinventing the cloud-native application performance monitoring domain with eBPF. A seasoned professional with over two decades of experience, brings a wealth of expertise to his role. Prior to joining the groundcover team, Paul served as the Vice President of Sales at Coralogix, Senior Sales Director at New Relic and Sales and Partnership Director at Dynatrace, where he played pivotal roles in expanding the companies market presence and driving revenue growth. His strategic vision and leadership were instrumental in navigating the complexities of the competitive landscape. A true expert in SaaS, Paul combines technical acumen with a strategic mindset, enabling him to understand and address the unique needs of clients in the rapidly evolving industry of observability. His passion for innovation, coupled with a customer-centric approach, positions him as a valuable asset to the groundcover team.

Published Tuesday, February 20, 2024 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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