January 11, 2024
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Episode #4 - The magic of API observability with Jean Yang

How API observability can elevate understanding and monitoring of production systems through a higher level of abstraction.
Daniela Miao
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Podcast

Summary 

On episode 4 of the Observe It podcast, host Daniela Miao welcomes Jean Yang, Head of Product on the observability team at Postman. The conversation kicks off with Jean explaining that Postman started as a tool for storing API requests and has evolved to include features like collections for sharing API requests with teams, mocking, testing, and more. 

Jean discusses the company she founded, Akita, which was acquired by Postman. This acquisition further emphasized their focus on API observability. Jean describes API observability as a category that is still being defined, and their goal is to help Postman users understand and monitor their production systems at a higher level of abstraction than traditional DevOps observability. 

The conversation dives into the magic of API observability, where Jean explains that their aim is to provide insights to production systems by making APIs more understandable and manageable. She shares her journey of realizing the power of APIs in enabling faster software development but noticing a gap in understanding and maintaining these complex systems. 

The discussion shifts to success stories from users, highlighting cases where Akita helped identify API errors not caught by other monitoring tools, assisted in monitoring endpoints not manually documented, and facilitated a smoother launch of contractor code. 

The episode concludes with discussing the role of AI in API observability. Jean explains the potential use of AI in improving path parameter inference and discusses the idea of AI ops for making sense of complex production data. Jean envisions AI contributing to providing insights and helping users with anomaly detection and root cause analysis. 

About Jean Yang

Jean Yang is Head of Product–Observability at Postman. Previously she was founder and CEO of Akita Software, acquired by Postman in June 2023. In Jean’s past life, she was a tenure-track professor in Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, working on programming languages research. 

Daniela Miao
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Author
Daniela Miao

Daniela Miao is the Co-Founder of Momento, where she's humbled everyday by her awesome teammates! Previously, she led Platform Engineering at Lightstep, where she launched their new Metrics Product. She was also tech lead at AWS DynamoDB, and released cross-region replication. Daniela has spoken at many events including re:Invent, QCon, and Kubecon. At Momento, she works on distributed system performance, observability, security, and the intersection of engineering with business.

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