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Understanding SLOs for monitoring applications

To properly manage and monitor an application, you need a goal for defining where you are and how you are doing so you can adjust and improve over time. This reference point is known as a service level objective (SLO). Taking the time to define clear SLOs will make life easier for service owners as well as for the internal or external users who depend on your services. 

However, before you can define an SLO you need an objective, quantitative metric you can look at to determine performance or reliability for your application. These metrics are known as service level indicators (SLIs).

[ Also on InfoWorld: Why you should use a microservice architecture ]

Service level indicator—SLI

A good way to determine what metrics you should use for your SLIs is to think about what directly impacts your user’s happiness in terms of your application’s performance. This could include things such as latency, availability, and accuracy of the application. On the other hand, CPU utilization would be a bad SLI because your users don’t really care about how your server’s CPU is doing, as long as it isn’t impacting their experience with your app.

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