Observability Backlog and Notes

SRE generally owns Observability, but I, @Robert Raposa, have been championing this effort. This page provides a home for me to document a backlog until and if the time comes to roll this work into SRE, or eSREs, or other groups.


These tickets should be reviewed to see what should be closed as won’t do, even if just for now.

key summary created assignee reporter status

Backlog Ideas

Tasks marked with “SRE Support” come from SRE Support (Data Analysis). This list needs prioritization!

  • Make better use of New Relic’s new expected error functionality.

  • New Relic policy that sends notifications to warroom for rare events that many might care about:

    • memcached lost all its data?

    • ignored errors warning

  • Add user_id to error message in frontend-platform for login_refresh:

  • Fix/Rethink RequestCustomAttributesMiddleware

    • Note: currently this observability data goes missing for certain exceptions.

    • Most of it applies to any request, and the middleware (or some of it) probably better belongs in edx-django-utils monitoring.

    • Splitting out user and authentication monitoring into separate middleware would enable the existing middleware to move higher in the list, so we don’t lose good info during exceptions in other middleware.

      • Note: would auth exception monitoring middleware need to be higher than auth middleware? Needs thought.

  • Deployment metadata in New Relic ideas:

    • Custom attribute(s) for Python version and Django version.

      • Allows for New Relic querying with historical information.

      • See

    • Admin API with Python version and all libraries and versions. Maybe call pip freeze from Python.

      • Only provides current information, but provides more details.

      • See https://courses.edx.org/api/toggles/v0/state/ as an example of an admin API with runtime metadata.

      • Note: if we had the Deployment ID (from GoCD), that should also be included.

    • Custom attribute with Deployment ID (from GoCD).

  • Pull edx-platform healthcheck from apdex

  • Proposal: OpsGenie team template with example configurations

  • Improve and track GoCD failures

  • Simplify New Relic onboarding and OneLogin SSO (SRE Support)

  • Simplify alert creation for new services. (SRE Support)

  • Simplify how someone can determine what version of a service is deployed where. (SRE Support)

  • Docs answering common questions in New Relic. (SRE Support)

    • How do I find x in New Relic?

      • Note: github repo frontend-app-admin-portal, but it's just prod-edx-portal in NR. Can this be fixed?

    • Why is this red in New Relic?

    • How do I do x in New Relic?

  • Ensure applications all follow best practices and have New Relic configured from the get go, rather than waiting till there is a fire. (SRE Support)

  • See

Organize Hnycon (Honeycomb) Notes

  • Discuss with New Relic

    • Demo of trace of deployment

    • Demo of SLO burn and error budgets

    • Discussed overall on-call vs on-call for change (i.e. different notification channels).

    • HAVING clause (new feature)

  • Book recommendations

    • Multipliers

    • Team Topologies (Nimisha may have page)

  • Other notes

    • Observability vs APM

      • Honeycomb is clear on this. Are we?

    • Recommendation to fix missing spans. Traces should be complete.

      • How and when are we using spans?

    • End-to-end user SLOs

Additional Resources