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Hiren Dhaduk
Hiren Dhaduk

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Observability vs Software Testing: friend or foe?

Testing is a crucial process in software development, as it helps validate the system’s correctness. However, testing alone cannot predict the various failure cases that may occur in a production environment. This is where observability comes in, as it provides a full-stack visibility of the infrastructure and production environments, allowing for faster issue detection and resolution.

Symptoms of Lack of Observability

A lack of proper observability can lead to challenges in finding the root cause of problems in a production environment. When engineers face production issues, they may struggle to gather enough information and details to pinpoint the root cause. This can result in tickets staying stuck in the development tool, causing frustration for developers and potentially harming the company's reputation with customers.

What is Observability?

For testers, observability means the ability to know what is happening within a system. This information is crucial for testers to understand and investigate complex systems, leading to enhanced system quality, security, reliability, and performance. Traditional software testing focuses on validating system correctness, but observability in production environments allows for a deeper understanding of system failure cases, delivering robust products to customers.

There are two ways through which observability can help software testers:

  • It help testers uncover granular details about system issues: During exploratory testing, observability can help testers find the root cause of any issues through telemetry data such as logs, traces, and metrics, helping in better collaboration among various teams and providing faster incident resolution.
  • It help testers ask questions and explore the system: Testers are curious and like to explore new things. With the observability tool, they can explore the system deeply and discover the issues. It helps them uncover valuable information that assists them in making informed decisions while testing.

Observability vs Testing

Observability is crucial for testers as it offers a detailed insight into the system's behavior. It is composed of three key components: logs, metrics, and traces. However, it's not just limited to these three elements. Effective observability requires a data-driven approach to debugging and product improvement, which involves having an inquisitive mindset and processes that turn data into meaningful and impactful results. This makes testers and observability a perfect fit.

What I personally feel is that Observability is not replacing testing, but rather complementing it. While testing focuses on determining if a specific functionality performs as intended, observability concentrates on the system's overall health. Observability provides granular details about system issues through telemetry data such as logs, metrics, and traces, helping testers uncover the root cause of issues and better collaborate with other teams for faster incident resolution. Additionally, observability allows testers to ask questions and explore the system deeply, uncovering valuable information for the development process.


Observability and testing are natural allies in the software development process. Observability provides essential information for testers to understand and investigate complex systems, leading to enhanced system quality and customer satisfaction. By adopting observability, engineering teams can improve the effectiveness of their testing process and deliver robust products to customers. Do you believe in the theory that observability and testing goes hand-in-hand? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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