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

September 21, 2018

The performance gap between customer experience leaders and runners-up is widening, with those on top being disproportionately rewarded. Gartner said organizations must ignore three myths in order to achieve a superior customer experience ...

September 19, 2018

This summer marked three years since Microsoft announced Windows 10, its first "Windows as a service" Operating System (OS). Windows 10 brought with it a new Software-as-a-Service-like approach to updates, moving Microsoft and the millions of environments that depend on it, more frequent, bundled updates. Whether you believe the shift was for better or worse, one thing is certain, this "as a service" model is a natural progression for today's operating systems. That is why Windows 10 is changing not only how frequently updates are pushed out, but inherently how technology is purchased, how people consume it, and perhaps most importantly, how IT is run. Let's take a look at how Windows 10 has impacted these three key areas over the past three years ...

September 18, 2018

To celebrate IT Professionals Day 2018 (this year on September 18), the SolarWinds IT Pro Day 2018: A World Powered by Tech Pros survey explores a "Tech PROactive" world where technology professionals have the time, resources, and ability to use their technology prowess to do absolutely anything ...

September 17, 2018

Are digital war rooms obsolete because they're just a place for managers of siloed business units to find someone else to blame for a critical IT event such as a security breach? Far from it. Enterprises find these emergency response teams just as important, if not more important, than ever ...

September 14, 2018

The goal of EMA's latest research was to look at how advanced IT analytics (AIA) — EMA's term for primarily what today is best known as "AIOps" — is being deployed. Here are the remaining four of my seven personal takeaways ...

September 13, 2018

OK, the data is in! The goal of EMA's latest research was to look at how advanced IT analytics (AIA) — or EMA's term for primarily what today is best known as "AIOps" — is being deployed. Here are seven of my own personal takeaways ...

September 12, 2018

By maximizing the knowledge of end-to-end quality of service (QoS) using virtualized network functions (VNFs), the SD-WAN (edge) gateway establishes a suitable connection with minimal latency and maximum performance so that entire organizations can make the most of the Office 365 application suite ...

September 11, 2018

Market exuberance for Office 365 has inspired business mandates to adopt the cloud-hosted collaboration and productivity suite without regards to the underlying chaos. While multi-location organizations are virtualizing, operating models haven’t necessarily changed. This partial transformation that excludes automation and simplification of the network puts Office 365 deployments (and other software-as-a-service offerings) in danger of failing ...

September 10, 2018

Most organizations are undergoing a digital transformation that directly impacts how they do business, yet 70 percent of employees have not mastered the skills they need for their jobs today, and 80 percent of employees do not have the skills needed for their current and future roles, according to Gartner ...

September 06, 2018

In a survey within the VMware User Group community, Blue Medora took a closer look at how various metric collection strategies and access to Dimensional Data impacts IT success. We started with one question: How important is your monitoring integration strategy? ...