The RED method: A new strategy for monitoring microservices

Monitoring an application is crucial for providing a quality product and experience for users. But simply collecting a ton of application metrics doesn’t solve the true problem. What software companies need is a way to get actionable insights from their metrics so they can quickly fix any issues their users are experiencing.

Enter the RED method.

RED method origins

The RED method is a monitoring methodology coined by Tom Wilkie based on what he learned while working at Google. RED is derived from some best practices established at Google known as the “Four Golden Signals,” developed by Google’s SRE team.

The primary rationale behind RED is that previous monitoring philosophies and methodologies such as the USE method didn’t fully align with the objectives of software companies and modern software architectures. USE applies more to hardware and infrastructure, while the RED method intends to focus on what users of an application are actually experiencing.

The goal of the RED method is to ensure that the software application functions properly for the end-users above all else. In the modern era of microservice architectures, containers, and cloud infrastructure, metrics related to hardware aren’t nearly as important as long as your service level objectives (SLOs) are being met.

RED method explained

RED stands for rate, errors, and duration. These represent the three key metrics you want to monitor for each service in your architecture:

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