The Why, How, and What of Metrics And Observability

March 4, 2021

If you are baffled by the concept of observability in cloud computing, here is a complete guide on Observability and Metrics. The Observability of IT infrastructure and cloud computing environments helps developers understand the complex multi-layered architecture. In simpler words, it provides the capability to monitor and analyze the events to know what's broken and what needs to be improved to yield actionable insights. When you make the systems observable, anyone on the team can navigate through it, giving the opportunities to recognize and fix the problem. 

Objectives of Observability 

The observability of a cloud computing system is an integral step in achieving critical business goals. It helps the developers and security analysts to address the problems in the system for positive business growth. The key objectives associated with development observability include-

  • Reliability: Reliability is hands down the most important feature of observability. It aids in building an infrastructure that functions according to the needs of the customers. Through observability software tools, you can monitor the capacity, network speed, and user behaviour. This is to ensure that the system is performing the way it should.
  • Easy Control: Observable systems are easier to understand and control, allowing the developers to fix the problems conveniently. Modern observability tools can recognize several issues and their probable causes, such as failures due to routine changes and other downstream errors. 
  • Security: The observability of cloud computing environments is essential for organizations to secure sensitive data against indecent exposure. Since there is full visibility into the cloud environment, organizations can spot potential security threats and attacks to save the data. 
  • Revenue Growth: The observability of systems can give valuable insights into user behaviours. These systems also tell how they react to other variables, such as availability, speed, and application format. Organizations can utilize this data to generate more revenue from customers while attracting new users. 

After delving into the what and why of observability, let us now focus on the ‘how’: 

Any cloud computing network generates data in three formats that can be aggregated and analyzed to enhance network observability. These primary types of telemetry data include event logs, metrics, and traces. Often termed as the 'Pillars of Observability,' these are powerful tools that can build better systems. But in this article, we will take a deep dive into the world of Metrics.

What is Metric?

Metrics are the numerical representation of data that determine the component's behaviour over some time. Unlike event logs wherein specific events are recorded, a metric is a measured value of the system performance. Since numbers are optimized for storage, processing, and retrieval, metrics facilitate longer data retention and easy querying. 

They give us valuable information about the historical and current state of a system. These metrics can also be used for statistical analysis to get a holistic view of the system's behaviour and performance. Additionally, they carry information about SLIs ( Service Level Indicators), such as memory power usage. 

Metrics are also used as trigger alerts that notify the organization whenever the system value goes above a specified threshold. 

Advantages of Metrics

  • Numeric Format: Unlike logs, metrics are represented as numbers. Thus, they include a count of parameters like the number of errors and measures of resources, such as power usage, CPU usage, and other numeric values in nature. In other words, they provide the organization a count of some occurrence in the system at a particular time. 
  • Low Cost: While the storage overhead of logs increases over time, metrics have a constant storage overhead. The storage and retrieval costs of metrics are not directly proportional to the traffic, which means it does not increase with the traffic. However, it is dependent on the number of variables emitted with every metric. 
  • Time-series Database: Metrics are stored in a time-series database, making it more reliable and efficient for computing the system's health. 

Cardinality Value of Metrics 

Cardinality is a measure of the 'number of elements' of the set. Two critical segments of information associate the metrics-

  1. A metric name
  2. A set of tags or labels (key-value pairs)

A permutation of these values produces the cardinality metric. 

Types of Metrics 

The three primary metric types are - 

  • Golden Signals: These metrics enable identifying problems while monitoring the overall health and state of the system. 
  • Resource Metrics: Resource metrics are the ones that are made available by default from the infrastructure provider. They let you track and evaluate your tasks' performance so that you can take steps in the right direction. These also aid in monitoring the infrastructure's health and behaviour. 
  • Business Metrics: To monitor granular interaction with core APIs, Business metrics are the ideal choice. A business metric is a quantifiable measure used for tracking and accessing the status of a particular business process. 

Thus, Metrics are low overhead to collect, inexpensive to store, facilitates quick analysis, and ensures exceptional overall health. They can also be used to create alerts and dashboards as the representation of the historical state. In recent years, many tools have surfaced in the market for metric collection, such as DropWizard, Prometheus, Telegraf, and Micrometer. With observability, you can build better systems that have the potential to drive revenue. 

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A Complete Guide To Customer Acquisition For Startups

Any business is enlivened by its customers. Therefore, a strategy to constantly bring in new clients is an ongoing requirement. In this regard, having a proper customer acquisition strategy can be of great importance.

So, if you are just starting your business, or planning to expand it, read on to learn more about this concept.

The problem with customer acquisition

As an organization, when working in a diverse and competitive market like India, you need to have a well-defined customer acquisition strategy to attain success. However, this is where most startups struggle. Now, you may have a great product or service, but if you are not in the right place targeting the right demographic, you are not likely to get the results you want.

To resolve this, typically, companies invest, but if that is not channelized properly, it will be futile.

So, the best way out of this dilemma is to have a clear customer acquisition strategy in place.

How can you create the ideal customer acquisition strategy for your business?

  • Define what your goals are

You need to define your goals so that you can meet the revenue expectations you have for the current fiscal year. You need to find a value for the metrics –

  • MRR – Monthly recurring revenue, which tells you all the income that can be generated from all your income channels.
  • CLV – Customer lifetime value tells you how much a customer is willing to spend on your business during your mutual relationship duration.  
  • CAC – Customer acquisition costs, which tells how much your organization needs to spend to acquire customers constantly.
  • Churn rate – It tells you the rate at which customers stop doing business.

All these metrics tell you how well you will be able to grow your business and revenue.

  • Identify your ideal customers

You need to understand who your current customers are and who your target customers are. Once you are aware of your customer base, you can focus your energies in that direction and get the maximum sale of your products or services. You can also understand what your customers require through various analytics and markers and address them to leverage your products/services towards them.

  • Choose your channels for customer acquisition

How will you acquire customers who will eventually tell at what scale and at what rate you need to expand your business? You could market and sell your products on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, or invest in paid marketing like Google Ads. You need to develop a unique strategy for each of these channels. 

  • Communicate with your customers

If you know exactly what your customers have in mind, then you will be able to develop your customer strategy with a clear perspective in mind. You can do it through surveys or customer opinion forms, email contact forms, blog posts and social media posts. After that, you just need to measure the analytics, clearly understand the insights, and improve your strategy accordingly.

Combining these strategies with your long-term business plan will bring results. However, there will be challenges on the way, where you need to adapt as per the requirements to make the most of it. At the same time, introducing new technologies like AI and ML can also solve such issues easily. To learn more about the use of AI and ML and how they are transforming businesses, keep referring to the blog section of E2E Networks.

Reference Links

https://www.helpscout.com/customer-acquisition/

https://www.cloudways.com/blog/customer-acquisition-strategy-for-startups/

https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-acquisition

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Image-based 3D Object Reconstruction State-of-the-Art and trends in the Deep Learning Era

3D reconstruction is one of the most complex issues of deep learning systems. There have been multiple types of research in this field, and almost everything has been tried on it — computer vision, computer graphics and machine learning, but to no avail. However, that has resulted in CNN or convolutional neural networks foraying into this field, which has yielded some success.

The Main Objective of the 3D Object Reconstruction

Developing this deep learning technology aims to infer the shape of 3D objects from 2D images. So, to conduct the experiment, you need the following:

  • Highly calibrated cameras that take a photograph of the image from various angles.
  • Large training datasets can predict the geometry of the object whose 3D image reconstruction needs to be done. These datasets can be collected from a database of images, or they can be collected and sampled from a video.

By using the apparatus and datasets, you will be able to proceed with the 3D reconstruction from 2D datasets.

State-of-the-art Technology Used by the Datasets for the Reconstruction of 3D Objects

The technology used for this purpose needs to stick to the following parameters:

  • Input

Training with the help of one or multiple RGB images, where the segmentation of the 3D ground truth needs to be done. It could be one image, multiple images or even a video stream.

The testing will also be done on the same parameters, which will also help to create a uniform, cluttered background, or both.

  • Output

The volumetric output will be done in both high and low resolution, and the surface output will be generated through parameterisation, template deformation and point cloud. Moreover, the direct and intermediate outputs will be calculated this way.

  • Network architecture used

The architecture used in training is 3D-VAE-GAN, which has an encoder and a decoder, with TL-Net and conditional GAN. At the same time, the testing architecture is 3D-VAE, which has an encoder and a decoder.

  • Training used

The degree of supervision used in 2D vs 3D supervision, weak supervision along with loss functions have to be included in this system. The training procedure is adversarial training with joint 2D and 3D embeddings. Also, the network architecture is extremely important for the speed and processing quality of the output images.

  • Practical applications and use cases

Volumetric representations and surface representations can do the reconstruction. Powerful computer systems need to be used for reconstruction.

Given below are some of the places where 3D Object Reconstruction Deep Learning Systems are used:

  • 3D reconstruction technology can be used in the Police Department for drawing the faces of criminals whose images have been procured from a crime site where their faces are not completely revealed.
  • It can be used for re-modelling ruins at ancient architectural sites. The rubble or the debris stubs of structures can be used to recreate the entire building structure and get an idea of how it looked in the past.
  • They can be used in plastic surgery where the organs, face, limbs or any other portion of the body has been damaged and needs to be rebuilt.
  • It can be used in airport security, where concealed shapes can be used for guessing whether a person is armed or is carrying explosives or not.
  • It can also help in completing DNA sequences.

So, if you are planning to implement this technology, then you can rent the required infrastructure from E2E Networks and avoid investing in it. And if you plan to learn more about such topics, then keep a tab on the blog section of the website

Reference Links

https://tongtianta.site/paper/68922

https://github.com/natowi/3D-Reconstruction-with-Deep-Learning-Methods

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A Comprehensive Guide To Deep Q-Learning For Data Science Enthusiasts

For all data science enthusiasts who would love to dig deep, we have composed a write-up about Q-Learning specifically for you all. Deep Q-Learning and Reinforcement learning (RL) are extremely popular these days. These two data science methodologies use Python libraries like TensorFlow 2 and openAI’s Gym environment.

So, read on to know more.

What is Deep Q-Learning?

Deep Q-Learning utilizes the principles of Q-learning, but instead of using the Q-table, it uses the neural network. The algorithm of deep Q-Learning uses the states as input and the optimal Q-value of every action possible as the output. The agent gathers and stores all the previous experiences in the memory of the trained tuple in the following order:

State> Next state> Action> Reward

The neural network training stability increases using a random batch of previous data by using the experience replay. Experience replay also means the previous experiences stocking, and the target network uses it for training and calculation of the Q-network and the predicted Q-Value. This neural network uses openAI Gym, which is provided by taxi-v3 environments.

Now, any understanding of Deep Q-Learning   is incomplete without talking about Reinforcement Learning.

What is Reinforcement Learning?

Reinforcement is a subsection of ML. This part of ML is related to the action in which an environmental agent participates in a reward-based system and uses Reinforcement Learning to maximize the rewards. Reinforcement Learning is a different technique from unsupervised learning or supervised learning because it does not require a supervised input/output pair. The number of corrections is also less, so it is a highly efficient technique.

Now, the understanding of reinforcement learning is incomplete without knowing about Markov Decision Process (MDP). MDP is involved with each state that has been presented in the results of the environment, derived from the state previously there. The information which composes both states is gathered and transferred to the decision process. The task of the chosen agent is to maximize the awards. The MDP optimizes the actions and helps construct the optimal policy.

For developing the MDP, you need to follow the Q-Learning Algorithm, which is an extremely important part of data science and machine learning.

What is Q-Learning Algorithm?

The process of Q-Learning is important for understanding the data from scratch. It involves defining the parameters, choosing the actions from the current state and also choosing the actions from the previous state and then developing a Q-table for maximizing the results or output rewards.

The 4 steps that are involved in Q-Learning:

  1. Initializing parameters – The RL (reinforcement learning) model learns the set of actions that the agent requires in the state, environment and time.
  2. Identifying current state – The model stores the prior records for optimal action definition for maximizing the results. For acting in the present state, the state needs to be identified and perform an action combination for it.
  3. Choosing the optimal action set and gaining the relevant experience – A Q-table is generated from the data with a set of specific states and actions, and the weight of this data is calculated for updating the Q-Table to the following step.
  4. Updating Q-table rewards and next state determination – After the relevant experience is gained and agents start getting environmental records. The reward amplitude helps to present the subsequent step.  

In case the Q-table size is huge, then the generation of the model is a time-consuming process. This situation requires Deep Q-learning.

Hopefully, this write-up has provided an outline of Deep Q-Learning and its related concepts. If you wish to learn more about such topics, then keep a tab on the blog section of the E2E Networks website.

Reference Links

https://analyticsindiamag.com/comprehensive-guide-to-deep-q-learning-for-data-science-enthusiasts/

https://medium.com/@jereminuerofficial/a-comprehensive-guide-to-deep-q-learning-8aeed632f52f

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