Shift Left: The Business Value of Observability in Pre-Production Testing

Symbolizing shift left testing by a DevOps professional

The most complex tests and the most challenging methodologies are often most closely aligned with actual production environments. Given this, how can organizations achieve the best results from testing in pre-production? The answer is Shift-Left Enterprise Observability.

The term observability is nothing new, as it suggests observing something. Simply put if I observe you, I understand you. Observability with Instana helps you to observe your KPIs and ensure that they’re what you need them to be.  It tracks relationships and dependencies between applications, microservices and infrastructure.

We live in an ever-evolving and dynamic world while it might sound like a common cliche term, the fast-changing nature of application environments is extremely important and a 10 seconds delay in application performance and availability will have an impact on business transaction MTTP and MTTR. The faster an IT organization can deliver custom business applications, the more strategic and business value it delivers.

Robot demonstrating why shift left is important in devops testingWhy does DevOps recommend Shift-Left Testing?

The shift-testing principle can be described as a better way of integrating QA and the development of parts of a software development lifecycle. This is when the DevOps take testing that would traditionally be done at a later stage of the process and implements them at an earlier stage.   It is about continuous testing.

The traditional waterfall approach where tests are carried out at a later stage just before the product is released can lead to sometimes uncovering serious problems and redesigning or longer delays. The shift-testing is a preventative method rather than a reactive approach.

The problem with traditional approaches is that the practice can’t handle the changes uncovered at a later stage.

Shift left testing identifies potential roadblocks and bottlenecks early on when there is still time to incorporate change and improve the design. There is cost-saving associated with shift-left practice as it is cheaper to fix at an earlier stage.

What are the Strategic Benefits of Shift-Left Observability in Pre-Production?

Let’s take a look at Instana, an IBM Company, which provides an Enterprise Observability Platform with automated application performance monitoring capabilities to businesses operating complex, modern, cloud-native applications and see some of the strategic benefits Instana can provide to your team.

  • Optimize application performance: Instana has entirely rewritten its agents to deliver completely automated instrumentation. This means that the agent senses what is running in the container or the JVM and automatically injects the correct instrumentation.

The benefit of this approach is that once the agent is installed in the OS instrumentation of the application is fully automatic, and there is no configuration required for variations in languages, JVM and application frameworks. This allows Instana the capability to rapidly diagnose any system issues at the pre-production stage.

  • Mitigate risk: A study done by WIRED stated that 30% of application deployments fail.

Enterprise observability with Instana will discover and addresses unknown and known vulnerabilities with the coding of new functionality prior to deployment. The application can remediate complex issues at the earlier stage of the software development lifecycle which is associated with high cost-saving.

  • DevOps increases efficiency: Real-time service would map, identify, and show every dependency. End-to-end distributed traces are captured for every request, while every code-driven process is profiled automatically. All of this is tied up with a user experience designed to give every potential user – Dev, ITOps, DevOps, SRE, IT Decision Makers and Business Executives – the observability data they need to understand how applications impact them in a way that makes sense to them.
  • Increases Business-level objectives: The new application functionality provides visibility in real-time, and organizations can now adjust to the rapid changes and bring new initiatives deployment.

Automation and full context are what make all the difference, you can check out IBM Observability by Instana by taking the guided tour or request a trial account to try Instana for free with your workloads.

What type of Shift-Left testing can you do with Instana Observability?

Setting up a series of automated tests that repeatedly calls microservices is easy and can be done in between different stages in the pre-production environment.

                    • Version control build
                    • Unit test-deploy
                    • Auto test
                    • Deploy to production
                    • Measure & validate

Stages of shift left testing

Let’s explore a few testing methods that can be done using Instana:

  • Test different components of the application: Run new test scripts each time a microservice refreshes and compare the outputs of the new code with previous outputs.
  • Test in cloud-based environments: Cloud platforms free up resources by only allocating resources as tests need them. For many organizations, cloud-based in various environments also create more realistic results since they are using the software as a service (SaaS) on a platform on a service (PaaS).
  • Vary your tests: Apply different scripts and environments, as well as web browsers for web applications, to test code. Apply different usage patterns and test in various geographies. You can use Kubernetes to orchestrate new test environments, with the caveat that diagnosis of new issues becomes more challenging.

Automation and full context are what make all the difference, you can check out IBM Observability by Instana by taking the guided tour or request a trial account to try Instana for free.

Observability Resources

To continue your journey on the path to understanding Observability in pre-production  here are a few great resources:

Play with Instana’s APM Observability Sandbox

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Instana, an IBM company, provides an Enterprise Observability Platform with automated application monitoring capabilities to businesses operating complex, modern, cloud-native applications no matter where they reside – on-premises or in public and private clouds, including mobile devices or IBM Z.

Control hybrid modern applications with Instana’s AI-powered discovery of deep contextual dependencies inside hybrid applications. Instana also gives visibility into development pipelines to help enable closed-loop DevOps automation.

This provides actionable feedback needed for clients as they to optimize application performance, enable innovation and mitigate risk, helping Dev+Ops add value and efficiency to software delivery pipelines while meeting their service and business level objectives.

For further information, please visit