ServiceNow Inc. said today it’s boosting the capabilities of its Lightstep observability platform with the launch of Lightstep Notebooks, a new feature that enables faster, more collaborative and accurate troubleshooting.

Used by thousands of enterprises across the world, ServiceNow is a workflow automation platform that optimizes productivity for information technology and operations. ServiceNow acquired Lightstep to bolster this automation platform in May 2021, providing DevOps engineers with deeper and more systematic observability to detect problems across their IT stacks before they affect end users.

Lightstep Observability works by gathering information from raw data that’s generated by various clients and servers. Aggregated, this information can produce a ton of actionable insights. That makes it useful for companies with huge application environments that span large cloud regions, as such firms rely on high reliability.

With Lightstep, DevOps teams and site reliability engineers gain an early warning system that allows them to monitor critical signals and indicators of software health, integrated directly within ServiceNow. So the moment a problem is discovered, teams can take action to head it off before it becomes a bottleneck or an avalanche.

That’s the idea, at least, but ServiceNow seems to have recognized that things don’t always go according to plan. It cites findings from International Data Corp.’s 2022 Site Reliability Engineering survey that show how engineers and developers these days are bogged down with troubleshooting incidents their observability platforms discover. Apparently it takes a fair amount of investigation to discover the root cause of many incidents. It means using a variety of tools and data sources, so it can be slow to resolve things.

That’s what Lightstep Notebooks is designed to address. It works by connecting disparate sources of data to provide unified and comprehensive analysis of flagged incidents across both applications and infrastructure. It’s said to create both data visualizations and a structured view of the investigation steps required to resolve any issues that are discovered. In addition, ServiceNow said, Lightstep Notebooks can aid in incident mitigation.

The secret sauce is Lightstep’s Change Intelligence analysis engine, which the company said is capable of instantly understanding any changes in the health and underlying infrastructure of applications.

Additionally, Lightstep Notebooks enables teams to retain 100% of the trace data used to resolve incidents for up to three days, providing “ample time” to fix things. It also comes with collaboration tools, enabling engineers to share Notebooks analysis with colleagues through a secure, shareable link. Finally, ServiceNow promises “reduced complexity” and easier postmortems to learn lessons and ensure incidents do not repeat.

Damien Mathieu, a staff developer at Okta Inc., said the platform has proved to be a big hit with his colleagues. “Notebooks has enabled our team to reduce our reliance on logs, saving us time and resources, and allowing us to deliver a better customer experience through a single, unified view of telemetry data,” he said.

Photo: ServiceNow

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