The No-BS Guide to Logging - Part 1
A vendor-neutral checklist to help you get your log strategy straight
December 07, 2015

Sven Dummer
Loggly

Share this


We all know log files. We all use log data. At a minimum, every admin and developer knows how to fire up tail –f and use an arsenal of command line tools to dig into a system's log files. But the days where those practices would suffice for operational troubleshooting are long gone. Today, you need a solid log strategy.

Log data has become big data and is more relevant to your success than ever before. Not being able to manage it and make meaningful use of it can, in the worst case, kill your business.

You might have implemented good application monitoring, but that only tells you that something is happening, not why. The information needed to understand the why, and the ability to predict and prevent it, is in your log data. And log data has exploded in volume and complexity.

Why this explosion? The commoditization of cloud technology: one of the greatest paradigm shifts the tech industry has seen over the recent years. Cloud services like Amazon's AWS, Microsoft's Azure, or Rackspace have made it affordable even for small- and medium-sized businesses to run complex applications on elastic virtual server farms. Containers running microservices are the next step in this move toward distributed and modularized systems.

The downside is that complexity is multiplied in those environments. Running tens or hundreds of machines with many different application components increases the risk that one of them will start malfunctioning.

To allow for troubleshooting, each of these many components typically (and hopefully) writes log data. Not only do you have to deal with a staggering number of large log files, but they're also scattered all over your network(s).

To make things a bit more interesting, some components, like VMs or containers, are ephemeral. They're launched on demand, and take their log data with them once they're terminated. Maybe the root cause slowing down or crashing your web store was visible in exactly one of those lost log files.

If that's still not complex enough, add in that people mix different technologies – for example, hybrid clouds that keep some systems on-premise or in a colo. You might run containers inside of VMs or use a container to deploy a hypervisor. Or you also could need to collect data from mobile applications and IoT devices.

Your log management solution needs to be able to receive and aggregate the logs from all your systems and components and store them in one central, accessible place. Leave no log behind – including the ones from ephemeral systems.

Some log management solutions require installing agents to accomplish this, while others are agentless and use de-facto standards like syslog, which are part of copious systems that allow sending logs over the network. Using agents means it's vital to make sure they are available for all operating systems, devices, and other components. You'll also need strategy to keep the agents updated and patched.

Fortunately, there is a checklist of the must-haves when it comes to log management to help you choose and sustain the best practices for your data, which I'll be sharing in my next post.

Read The No-BS Guide to Logging - Part 2

Sven Dummer is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Loggly.

Share this

The Latest

February 16, 2018

The enterprise WAN is unable to keep up with digital transformation demands, according to Foundation for Digital Transformation, a new research report, authored by Ensemble IQ and supported by InfoVista. This challenge was universal across all three vertical industries surveyed — retail, manufacturing, and banking/financial services ...

February 15, 2018

Achieving optimum Java Virtual Machine (JVM) performance is key to ensuring proper memory management and fast application processing. According to a Cornell University study, a 1-millisecond improvement in the performance of a trading application can be worth $100 million a year to a major brokerage firm. Because of this potential for loss, IT teams owning banking, financial, trading and other Java-based applications place a high value on having a proper JVM monitoring strategy in place ...

February 13, 2018

APM had to evolve to keep pace with development velocity and maintain the service quality for the modern applications born out of digital transformation. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are critical to the next step in APM evolution, helping to address speed, scalability and intelligence demands ...

February 12, 2018

A worldwide survey by Gartner, Inc. showed that 91 percent of organizations have not yet reached a "transformational" level of maturity in data and analytics, despite this area being a number one investment priority for CIOs in recent years ...

February 09, 2018

Mobile app performance is still a significant issue. In a new report from PacketZoom, The Effect of Mobile Network Performance on Mobile App Users, 66% of consumers said reliable mobile app performance is "very important" — second only to mobile app security ...

February 07, 2018

IT departments that shift from reactionary fire fighters to becoming proactive business partners find their ticket counts reduced from 20 to 50 percent or more. The strategies outlined in Part 1 of this blog may all sound like a great way to turn IT into a strategic, proactive business-enabler, but how can companies turn strategy into reality? The following are three best practices ...

February 06, 2018

"We can't fix it if they don't call." I can't count how many times I've said those words in my IT career. We need users to call in their issues, while conversely we need our ticket volumes to decrease. How can IT lower the amount of call center tickets, quickly resolve those incidents that can't be avoided, and reduce their own costs in the process? Here are three key strategies ...

February 05, 2018

Today's network engineers have their work cut out for them. Bigger, more complex networks have created an environment where network engineers are forced to adapt and develop more effective ways to manage and troubleshoot their networks. This begins with better visibility, which has presented an issue traditionally as engineers struggle to create an accurate picture due to challenges with static maps ...

February 02, 2018

My last blog covered technology-oriented best practices that application management and IT help desks can use to optimize the performance of their applications and the IT teams that oversee them. Now I'll explore what IT professionals can do to optimize their team's time and resources — the people and processes — in pursuit of that same goal ...