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Latest Top 11 Observability Tools in Spotlight - 2024's Guide

· 12 min read
Ankit Anand

In microservices architecture, observability tools enable you to create central dashboards to gauge the health of your distributed systems. New age observability tools have shifted to providing quick workflows to debug application issues. In this post we will explore top 11 observability tools that you can consider to use for your software systems.

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In today's digital economy, distributed architectures have become the norm. Organizations are also opting for polyglot microservices to boost developer productivity. But how do you manage the operational challenges of such systems?

Customer experience is the key to the success of tech companies of any size, be it startups, mid or large-level enterprises. You need to proactively solve for things like availability and performance of your applications in production. And that's where observability comes into the picture. A robust observability framework is now critical for maintaining your systems in fine health. Observability is powered by telemetry data - a combination of logs, metrics, and traces.

What is an Observability Tool?

The aim of observability is to solve customer issues quickly. Creating monitoring dashboards is useless if it can’t help engineering teams quickly identify the root causes of performance issues.

A modern distributed software system has a lot of moving components. So while setting up monitoring, you might not know what answers you would need to solve an issue. And that’s where observability comes into the picture.

An observability tool enables application owners to get answers to any question that might arise while debugging application issues. Usually, an observability tool helps you to monitor three signals - metrics, traces, and logs.

List of Latest Top 11 observability tools in 2024:

Top 11 Observability Tools in 2024

Now let's explore the top observability tools in 2024.

SigNoz (Open-Source)

SigNoz dashboard showing popular RED metrics
SigNoz UI showing application overview metrics like RPS, 50th/90th/99th Percentile latencies, and Error Rate

SigNoz is a great observability tool that is open-source and provides three signals in a single pane of glass. You can monitor logs, metrics, and traces and correlate signals for better insights into application performance.

With SigNoz, you can do the following:

  • Visualise Traces, Metrics, and Logs in a single pane of glass
  • Monitor application metrics like p99 latency, error rates for your services, external API calls, and individual endpoints.
  • Find the root cause of the problem by going to the exact traces which are causing the problem and see detailed flamegraphs of individual request traces.
  • Run aggregates on trace data to get business-relevant metrics
  • Filter and query logs, build dashboards and alerts based on attributes in logs
  • Monitor infrastructure metrics such as CPU utilization or memory usage
  • Record exceptions automatically in Python, Java, Ruby, and Javascript
  • Easy to set alerts with DIY query builder

Detailed flamegraph & Gantt charts to find the exact cause of the issue and which underlying requests are causing the problem.

Detailed Flamegraphs & Gantt charts
Spans of a trace visualized with the help of flamegraphs and gantt charts in SigNoz dashboard

SigNoz provides Logs management with advanced log query builder. You can also monitor your logs in real-time using live tailing.

Logs tab in SigNoz
Logs tab in SigNoz comes equipped with advanced logs query builder and live tailing

SigNoz is also very cost-efficient and provides a great value for your money. SigNoz cloud is the easiest way to run SigNoz. Sign up for a free account and get 30 days of unlimited access to all features.


Observability tool - Dynatrace
Dynatrace application observability dashboard (Source: Dynatrace website)

Dynatrace is an extensive SaaS enterprise tool targeting a broad spectrum of monitoring needs of large-scale enterprises. It provides an AI engine called Davis to automate things like root cause analysis and anomaly detection.

Dynatrace also provides a different solution for infrastructure monitoring, application security, and cloud automation. The pricing depends on the product you want to opt for.

Full-stack monitoring, the product aimed to provide observability for apps, is priced at $69 per month for 8 GB per host if billed annually.

Grafana Labs

Observability tool - Grafana

Grafana is popular open-source analytics and interactive visualization web layer. It supports many different storage backends for time-series data. It can be connected to data sources like Graphite, InfluxDB, ElasticSearch, Prometheus, and many more. For traces, it supports Jaeger, Tempo, X-Ray, and Zipkin data sources.

Grafana offers plugins, dashboards, alerts, and different user-level access for governance as an observability tool. In addition, it provides two versions of services:

  • Grafana cloud - You can send your data to Grafana cloud dashboards. It provides solutions such as Grafana Cloud Logs, Grafana Cloud Metrics, and Grafana Cloud Traces.

  • Grafana Enterprise stack - It provides support for metrics and logs with Grafana installed within your infrastructure. It also comes with expert support.


Honeycomb dashboard
Snapshot of Honeycomb dashboard (Source: Honeycomb documentation)

Honeycomb is an observability tool that aims to provide the visibility needed by engineering teams to troubleshoot problems in distributed systems. It is a full-stack cloud-based observability tool with support for events, logs, and traces.

If your code is not already instrumented, Honeycomb provides an automatic instrumentation agent called Honeycomb beelines, which can instrument your code. It also supports OpenTelemetry for generating instrumentation data.

Honeycomb offers a free tier of service, and its pro tier starts at $100. The pricing is based on data retention and event volume captured.

New Relic

Observability tool - New Relic dashboard
New Relic dashboard (Source: New Relic website)

New Relic is one of the oldest companies in the observability domain. Its observability tool enables you to visualize, analyze and troubleshoot your software stack in one platform. It also supports auto-instrumentation for eight popular programming languages.

New Relic can connect your application performance with your infrastructure health to provide you better insights for quick troubleshooting.

Standard offering includes plans for teams up to 5 full users. Their pricing depends on the amount of data ingested with 100 GB free data ingest and $0.25 per extra GB.


DataDog dashboard
DataDog dashboard (Source: DataDog website)

With the DataDog observability tool, you can do a range of things like infrastructure monitoring, log management, application performance monitoring, and security monitoring. For providing full visibility into distributed applications, DataDog allows you to:

  • Trace requests from end to end across distributed systems
  • Charts of latency percentiles(p95, p99, etc.)
  • Instrumentation with open-source libraries
  • seamless navigation between logs, metrics, and traces

The pricing depends on the product you opt for. For example, the APM solution provides end-to-end distributed tracing, starts at $31 per host per month if billed annually.


Splunk dashboard
Splunk dashboard (Source: Splunk website)

Splunk is a comprehensive observability tool that offers multiple products, including:
  • infrastructure monitoring
  • Application performance monitoring
  • Log Observer
  • Real User monitoring
  • Synthetic monitoring, and
  • Incident response management

Splunk allows you to collect all traces instead of a sample set. It also provides service maps to offer DevOps teams visibility into interactions between different services, dependencies, and performance.

Splunk's observability Cloud for Enterprise editions starts at $95 per host per month if billed annually.

IBM Instana

Instana dashboard
Instana Dashboard. (Source: Instana Docs)

Instana is enterprise observability and automated application monitoring tool. It uses an agent to discover and monitor components. This agent needs to be installed on every host that is to be monitored.

The agents deploy sensors crafted to capture data from different technologies. Sensors automatically collect configuration, changes, metrics, and events.

Instana charges $75 per host/per month if billed annually. It also supports open standards like Prometheus, StatsD, OpenTracing, and Opencensus.


Observability tool - AppDynamics
Appdynamics observability platform for full visibility of application performance

AppDynamics is an observability tool for performance monitoring and analytics. It provides a comprehensive view of performance and applications health, cloud services, and IT infrastructure. AppDynamics provides features such as:
  • Application Performance Management
  • Business Transaction monitoring,
  • Infrastructure monitoring
  • Real-time alerting
  • Root cause analysis

It uses customizable dashboards with a deeper understanding of user and application behavior.

It also provides multi-cloud support. AppDynamics Cloud provides visibility with context via AIOps-driven alerts that assist organizations in identifying, prioritizing, and resolving the most business-critical matters first.

Elastic APM

Observability tool - Elastic APM
Elastic APM dashboard (Source: Elastic Website)

Elastic APM is part of the Elastic Observability solution, which also includes infrastructure and log monitoring, enhancing overall application and system observability. The easiest way to use Elastic APM is by subscribing to the hosted Elasticsearch service on Elastic Cloud. You can also opt to self-manage the Elastic stack, where you need to decide how to run and configure the APM server.

Some of the key features of Elastic APM include:

  • End-to-End Distributed Tracing: Provides comprehensive tracing of transactions across various services.
  • Real User Monitoring: Captures and analyzes user interactions with front-end applications.
  • Error Tracking: Identifies and helps in analyzing application errors effectively.
  • Anomaly Detection with Machine Learning: Uses advanced machine learning algorithms for detecting anomalies in application performance.
  • CI/CD Pipeline Visibility: Offers insights into the impact of code changes on application performance.


Zipkin dashboard showing traces
Zipkin dashboard

Zipkin is an open source APM tool used for distributed tracing. Zipkin captures timing data need to troubleshoot latency problems in service architectures. In distributed systems, it's a challenge to trace user requests across different services. If a request fails or takes too long, distributed tracing helps to identify the events that caused it.

Zipikin was initially developed at Twitter and drew inspiration from Google's Dapper. Unique identifiers called Trace ID are attached to each request which then identifies that request across services.

Zipkin's architecture includes:

  • Reporters to send data to Zipkin
  • Collectors which persist trace data to storage
  • API to query data
  • UI

Zipkin's in-built UI is limited, and you can use Grafana or Kibana from the ELK stack for better analytics and visualizations.

How to choose the right observability tool?

For applications with microservices architecture, observability tools have become critical to meet operational challenges at scale. Without observability, it is almost impossible for your engineering teams to troubleshoot bugs and assess the performance of your applications. Hence choosing the right observability tool for your application is important. A few questions to ask yourself before selecting an observability tool are as follows:

  • Are there any privacy laws that you need to take care of while sharing user's data with a third-party tool?
  • Does the pricing suit your budget?
  • How easy is it to get started with things like instrumentation?
  • How much data do you want to retain?
  • Does the tool provide seamless integration between metrics, logs, and traces?

An open-source tool like SigNoz, can be your best option in today's privacy-driven digital economy. Moreover, SigNoz uses open-source standards for instrumentation, and its code can be assessed for quality from its GitHub repo. Finally, as the tool is open-sourced, you get the support of the community while having access to out-of-box features like a SaaS vendor.

Getting started with SigNoz

SigNoz cloud is the easiest way to run SigNoz. Sign up for a free account and get 30 days of unlimited access to all features.

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You can also install and self-host SigNoz yourself since it is open-source. With 16,000+ GitHub stars, open-source SigNoz is loved by developers. Find the instructions to self-host SigNoz.


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