The Special Interest Group for observability was formed recently under the umbrella of CNCF, with the goal of fostering the ecosystem around observation of cloud native workloads. Chairs Matt Young and Richard Hartmann are spearheading the SIG’s activities, which include producing supporting material and best practices for end users as well as providing guidance for CNCF observability-related projects.

Among its stated scope:

  • Identify and report gaps in the CNCF’s project portfolio on topics of observability to the TOC and the wider CNCF community.
  • Collect, curate, champion, and disseminate patterns and current best practices related to the observation of cloud-native systems that are effective and actionable. Educate and inform users with unbiased, accurate, and pertinent information. Educate and help other CNCF projects regarding observability techniques and best current practices available within the CNCF.
  • Provide and maintain a vendor-neutral venue for relevant thought validation, discussion, and project feedback.
  • Provide a ladder for community members to become involved with the technical oversight of projects within the SIG’s scope in an open, transparent, and inclusive way.

Hartmann says that while “it’s always the right time” for an observability SIG, the organizers got together now because of the recent growth in the area of observability within CNCF. “Up to now, you mainly had Prometheus, but there are more and more efforts around [observability],” he says. “Cortex and Thanos are up for review to move from the sandbox to incubating. OpenMetrics is finally moving. OpenTelemetry is progressing. We needed a space to talk about the cooperation that will come from all of this.”

The short-term goals include “working through both the review and project progression backlog first, and we are making great strides here,” Hartmann says. “We also want to talk about BCPs, best current practices, so we’re able to actually make suggestions for how to operate observability in a cloud native manner.”

Looking ahead, Hartmann says the SIG is starting to talk about data analysis, “which will most likely lay some groundwork for machine learning and AI, i.e., doing data science on your monitoring data.”

As to why he and Young decided to take on this work, he says, “Personally, as silly as this might sound, I want to make the world a better place. Make things cleaner. You know the phrase from The Dark Knight, ‘Some people just want to see the world burn’? My tagline is ‘People just want to see the world turn.’”

To that end, he says he’s focused on “leading calls and conversations, sniffing out and making explicit the agreements between people which they don’t see, and bringing this to consensus.”

If you’re interested in getting involved with SIG-Observability, you are invited to attend the SIG call on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month at 1600 UTC. (See details on the CNCF Community Calendar.) Or join the conversation in the #sig-observability channel on the CNCF Slack.