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Data Observability, Essential for your Modern Data Stack

The ever-increasing influx of data from diverse sources has become a significant challenge for organizations and their data engineers to continuously manage using incumbent, outdated tool stack that lack flexibility. Due to the lack of control over the data structures provided by external sources, organizations struggle to identify and respond to changes in data, which can be catastrophic for downstream analysis and decision-making by business users. All these issues point to a reality that without effective data observability, companies will struggle to treat data as an asset.

Data Observability: Key Pillars Explained
Data observability ensures that data is reliable, accurate, and available through real-time monitoring, analysis, and alerting. Its core pillars maintain the health of modern data stacks and provides visibility for swift issue detection and diagnosis. All stakeholders, including data engineers and scientists, can gain visibility, ensuring data quality throughout its lifecycle thanks to these five key pillars of data observability:
  • 1. Data monitoring and alerting: detect patterns and anomalies, and alerts are generated when issues arise. The process also involves validating the quality, consistency, and completeness of data while ensuring that it is readily accessible to those who require it. This is done by embedding data quality checks in data pipelines. These embedded data quality checks search for patterns and anomalies, and generate alerts when problems occur. They also involve tracking and detection of schema drift, data change, pipeline run-time, frequency, and identifying bottlenecks or other issues that can impact the flow of data.
  • 2. Observing data infrastructure: monitors metrics such as compute, storage, memory utilization, and network traffic. This is accomplished by monitoring databases, storage systems spread across on-prem and in private and public clouds, and identifying issues that can impact the performance and availability of data.
  • 3. Data usage: observes metrics like query performance, user behaviour, and data access patterns. It also identifies any problems that can affect the efficiency and effectiveness of data-driven decision-making based on the utilization of stakeholders such as data analysts, data scientists, and business users.
  • 4.Utilization and cost monitoring: tracks expenses related to the management of data pipelines, such as infrastructure and storage costs, as well as resource consumption. The approach also involves identifying opportunities to save costs and optimizing the utilization of resources to maintain high performance and reliability of data pipelines and systems.
Implementing Data Observability Practices
Organizations can follow a basic structure to implement data observability. The first step involves defining the strategy by scoping the efforts, involving stakeholders, and setting goals, metrics, and a roadmap. Next, choose the right tools by selecting monitoring, alerting, log management, and visualization tools that fit your requirements and budget. Then, design the control center by setting up monitoring and tracking for data pipelines, ETL processes, databases, storage systems, and cloud platforms. Utilize log aggregators and dashboards to track metrics like latency, throughput, error rates, resource usage, and network traffic.

It is also important to establish processes for incident management – including reporting, triage, and resolution – and to define roles and responsibilities, establish escalation paths, and develop playbooks for common scenarios. Finally, continuously improve data observability practices by analyzing metrics and alerts, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing changes to your monitoring and alerting processes.
Successful implementation of data observability practices enables enterprises to mitigate risks, improve data quality, expedite decision-making, ensure compliance, reduce downtime, proactively address data pipeline issues, and optimize modern data environments.

Investing in data observability is essential to unlock the full potential of data and gain a competitive edge in the digital age. It is crucial for enterprises managing modern data stacks, and ensures dependable, accurate, and available data. Ultimately, this paves the way for informed decisions and driving business outcomes. Real-time monitoring and analysis of data pipelines improve operational efficiency and minimize downtime. By implementing data observability practices organizations can meet critical compliance requirements while optimizing data infrastructure.
About Modak

Modak is a solutions company dedicated to empowering enterprises in effectively managing and harnessing their data landscape. They offer a technology, cloud, and vendor-agnostic approach to customer datafication initiatives. Leveraging machine learning (ML) techniques, Modak revolutionizes the way both structured and unstructured data are processed, utilized, and shared. 

Modak has led multiple customers in reducing their time to value by 5x through Modak’s unique combination of data accelerators, deep data engineering expertise, and delivery methodology to enable multi-year digital transformation. To learn more visit or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter

Mayank Mehra
Head of Product Management, Modak

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