Unexpected Parallels Between Yoga and Observability

Deepa Ramachandra
Deepa Ramachandra

Parallels between Yoga and Observability

Yoga is to ideal human health what observability is to an application’s ideal functioning. It is well established that observability is a critical factor for the successful implementation and maintenance of cloud-native, serverless, cloud-agnostic, and microservices-based applications. Well-established observability helps DevOps and development teams cross the boundaries of complex systems and get complete visibility into their functioning. The definition of observability is derived from control theory, which states “A system is said to be observable if, for any possible evolution of state and control vectors, the current state can be estimated using only the information from outputs (physically, this generally corresponds to information obtained by sensors). In other words, one can determine the behavior of the entire system from the system’s outputs. On the other hand, if the system is not observable, there are state trajectories that are not distinguishable by only measuring the outputs.” (Wikipedia)

There are many parallels between a yogic practice and observability. We think it’s a fun and interesting way to define the basic concepts of observability.

1. Observability is preventive

The most basic rule of thumb in yoga is to articulate the mind to circumvent the pressures of disruption in any of the three doshas, Vata, pitta, and Kapha, via regulated yogic practices. This translates in observability to aligning the three pillars of observability, logs, metrics, and traces, to smoothen out the application’s functions. As in yoga, the process of regulating observability is prophylactic.

2. Observability is reactive

Yogic stances are reactive to the body’s transitions, flows, and capabilities. With each pose, the mind reacts to the flow of the body and the body adapts to the cues from the surrounding. This reactive capability in yoga is called vinyasa. In observability, there needs to be a synchronized flow between the development, DevOps, and the observability platform to be reactive to events in the application. Most organizations that operate in a service-based implementation model have preset SLAs for their mean time to resolution( MTTR). Adhering to the SLA without a logging solution could in most cases be impossible.

3. Observability is scalable

An individual can practice yoga at any level, starting at the most primary level called Karma yoga, and work their way up to Kriya yoga which is more of endurance training for the mind and body. So is observability. An observability implementation does not have a limit to its scalability. Organizations can start from a simple log management solution, which is the core of observability, and build their way to a more sophisticated observability strategy.

4. Observability is not restrictive

Yoga does not require expensive equipment or gear to practice. The simplicity of yoga makes it adaptable across the globe. People from all walks of life are able to embrace yoga in their own way. Similar to yoga, observability solutions such as observIQ factor that users of all levels access their tool and offer free plans. There are also a lot of open-source observability solutions such as OpenTelemetry, that businesses can implement with little to no monetary investment.

5. Observability is derivative

As a yogi continues to practice, they learn more about the strengths and weaknesses in their body and mind. A stronger yogic practice called Gnana yoga allows the individual to build the intellect to overcome their weaknesses. This derivative nature is in parallel to observability, rendering users the capability to study, analyze and formulate solutions to problems based on the data.

6. Observability’s approach is holistic

According to yoga, every body has five transitional phases called Kosha, they are annamay, manomaya, pranamaya, vijnanamaya and anandamaya. To observe each of these phases closely and to practice the relevant yogic stances for each of these phases is the best approach to embracing yoga. Similarly, in observability, it is necessary to manage the events from the five phases of an SDLC namely, planning, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance.

7. Observability is collaborative

Modern yogic stances have evolved to be collaborative between two or more individuals, who elevate each other’s strengths to gain health and mental benefits. So is observability. Most observability platforms today are highly collaborative allowing users to collaborate in data analysis, error handling, and debugging.

8. Observability is transitional

The yoga that is practiced today has changed drastically from the initial practice 5000 years ago. The modern versions of yoga factor the current day need to be quicker, result driven and less strenuous. So are all observability platforms in the cloud era. Observability has been around since we started using computing systems. With the advent of cloud-native, serverless, and microservices-driven application development, observability has taken center stage. The tools catering to modern-day needs have new-age solutions such as quick implementations, pre-configured plugins, and more. The implementation-to-use timeline is a matter of minutes.

9. Observability is integrative

New age yogis are experimenting with yogic postures with other physical training disciplines such as acrobatics, Pilates, etc. This approach to yoga brings in people mastering in those disciplines to make yogic postures more efficient. This is similar to observability because in the observability space, there’s an agreement that there is never a one size fits all solution. OpenTelemetry was the result of this thought process. With an integrative approach like OpenTelemetry, organizations can pick and choose the most appropriate solution for themselves, without compromising on quality.

10. Observability is simple with the right solution

Yoga, as we discussed earlier, is practiced in many forms. There’s a growing consensus that there is no perfect way to do a specific yogic pose. The poses dictated by the rhythmic movements of the body and breathing techniques are long gone. Now yoga is simplified for everyone to do. So is observability. Companies like ours offer a solution for small to medium size businesses, individuals, contractors, or even a user who simply wants a smart home logging solution. Such solutions do not have endless querying on terminals or exhaustive installation steps, they offer a quick start to get up and running for everyone.

If this post makes you curious about observability or our product, reach out to our awesome customer support team. Until we get back with our next installment of interesting new features and product insights, stay observant with observIQ.

Deepa Ramachandra
Deepa Ramachandra

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