Preface

Scaling Spatial Separation

Before dwelling on the concepts within the model, it would be helpful to frame the problem space that drives and underlies much of the thinking that has gone into the design of OpenSignals. The computing world is being modularized at an unprecedented level to allow components of systems to evolve and change at different rates. This modularity is seen in the growing adoption of microservices and enterprise computing resource managers in various forms and flavors. Communication between all these components is now decoupled in terms of space and, in some cases, time, bringing enormous complexity to the task of monitoring and managing systems.

Tackling Complexity with Signification

Unfortunately, the observability open-source community has fought complexity with even more complexity in distributed tracing and various attempts at standardizing instrumentation toolkits over the last few years. Data and detail have up to now won over significance and sensibility. OpenSignals is an ambitious attempt to bring back much-needed sanity and simplicity to engineering and service operations, in not seeing the answer lies with even more noisy data collection.

Signaling Status Classification

At the core of OpenSignals are the concepts of communication and control – software services interacting with each other and responding to outcomes and environment changes. Like the animal and human world, each service (or agent) emits behavioral signals and receives (observes) signals from other services. From the signals communicated by services, inferring a state (status) of operation over a configurable period is possible. A signal or state is not just a unit of information; instead, it is a means to stimulate adaptative changes. In the computing world, signals take various forms, including execution, error codes, or exceptions.

Subjectivity of Service Quality

In this new Observability world, each service judges the other and inferring status depending on the service’s local context, which contains a map of stimulus to status and sensitivity and recollection settings used for inference purposes. There is no centralized or single source of truth in this world, but there can be collective intelligence via the groupings of multiple contexts.