Lightstep Notebooks helps speed troubleshooting for SREs and developers

  • IT Management
  • About ServiceNow
  • Ben Sigelman
  • 2022
June 27, 2022

IT troubleshooting: 2 workers sit in a server room in front of a laptop

Digital business is an imperative for 21st-century companies. Increasingly, organizations are directing investments toward technologies that deliver outcomes fast and enable more resilient digital business models.

In this landscape, incidents such as software bugs, power outages, or downed networks have major consequences that affect both revenue and customer loyalty. That’s why I’m excited to announce the general availability of Lightstep Notebooks, an added feature in Lightstep Observability. Available today, Lightstep Notebooks allows for faster, more collaborative, and more accurate troubleshooting.

Connecting disparate data sources

Now more than ever, site reliability engineering (SRE) teams are critical to business resilience. According to IDC’s 2022 SRE Survey, more than one-third (36.3%) of SRE organizations cite improved revenues and profits as a key measure of their teams’ success.1 The same percentage of SRE organizations cite improved customer experience as an SRE success metric.

Too often, the same SREs and developers are bogged down with troubleshooting production incidents to understand root causes. SREs and developers must work across different tools, data sources, and even time zones, increasing complexity on their path to resolution.

By connecting disparate sources of data, Lightstep Notebooks delivers unified, comprehensive analysis across applications and infrastructure. It allows developers to analyze data through powerful visualizations while creating a structured view of the investigation steps and path to resolution. Additionally, Lightstep Notebooks enables SREs and developers to mitigate incidents quickly and prevent recurrence proactively, maintaining a reliable experience for end users.

Presenting a unified view

Leveraging Change Intelligence (Lightstep’s analysis engine), Lightstep Notebooks allows any developer, operator, or SRE to instantly understand changes in their service’s health and underlying infrastructure. This is critical when investigating an incident, collaborating across teams, or quickly documenting learnings to share across the organization. Key capabilities include:

  • Data visualizations – Ad hoc charts about systems and their underlying data, including heat maps and time series with trace exemplars, help SREs gain insight into why incidents occurred.

  • High data retention – 100% of trace data can be retained for up to three days, giving SREs ample time to identify the root cause of an incident without any data loss.

  • Improved collaboration – SREs can easily share Notebooks analyses with colleagues via a sharable link so they can immediately begin collaborating.

  • Reduced complexity – An instantly generated investigative path within Lightstep surfaces intelligent correlations to quickly and confidently narrow down where a problem lies.

  • Easy postmortems – SREs can take the insights generated throughout an investigation into a postmortem so teams can discuss root cause issues and take long-term steps to prevent them from happening again.

Lightstep Notebooks screenshot


“Lightstep Notebooks addresses the needs that arise throughout the course of our team’s troubleshooting journey by providing granular, context-specific data and facilitating the ability to collaborate to resolve issues in real time,” explains Damien Mathieu, a staff developer at Okta and a Lightstep Notebooks user.

“Notebooks has enabled our team to reduce our reliance on logs, saving us time and resources, and allowing us to deliver a better customer experience through a single, unified view of telemetry data,” he adds.

Converting real-time insights into action

ServiceNow acquired Lightstep in 2021 to solidify and accelerate our position as the world’s leading enterprise platform for digital businesses. With Lightstep, an emerging pioneer in next-generation application monitoring and observability, ServiceNow helps developers and SREs build, deploy, run, and monitor state‑of‑the‑art, cloud‑native applications.

Together, ServiceNow and Lightstep will continue to extend the benefits of observability across the enterprise through digital workflows that convert real‑time insights into action for the technologies, people, and processes that enable digital business.

Lightstep Notebooks comes on the heels of our recent introduction of Lightstep Incident Response. The combination of Lightstep Notebooks and Lightstep Incident Response provides an end-to-end tool set to enable better, more responsive troubleshooting.

By removing costly and confusing context switches, Lightstep’s products decrease mean time to recovery and increase customer satisfaction.

Find out more about Lightstep Notebooks and how it helps SREs and developers maintain seamless customer experiences.

1 IDC, SRE Adoption Success Factors, Doc # US48859422, February 2022

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