The No-BS Guide to Logging - Part 2
A vendor-neutral checklist to help you get your log strategy straight
December 08, 2015

Sven Dummer
Loggly

Share this


Start with The No-BS Guide to Logging - Part 1

Coming off of the last post outlining the necessity for log management, the process of choosing logging software can seem daunting. The following are major elements of a good log strategy and can also serve as checklist items when you shop for a log management solution:

Collect, Aggregate, Retain

It's crucial to think about your data retention needs and the costs associated with storing them. How long do you need to keep the logs? Do you need them just for troubleshooting, or also for business intelligence type of analysis? Are there regulatory or audit requirements that require you to keep the logs for a certain period of time?

Your daily log volume might already be large, but keep in mind that it doesn't take much to multiply the volume temporarily. For example, a component failure and the resulting log messages in a complex system could easily quadruple the amount of log messages. An external event could have the same effect: if you run an online store, Black Friday might balloon your sales as well as your log volumes. If your log aggregation doesn't scale, you could lose your main troubleshooting foundation when you need it most.

Handle Log Diversity

Log files come in a variety of formats, some following standards and conventions, others completely custom. Your log solution should be able to parse and present the data in a comprehensive form in near real-time, and it should allow to define custom parsing rules. A desirable feature is the ability to add metadata.

Reveal What Matters

Just having a search tool is not enough. To make sense of your log data and the correlation between different data points, you need real-time indexing and parsing, grouping, along with powerful analytics, customizable dashboards, and data visualization. Your log analytics solution should provide a treasure map to the contents of your logs, not just a metal detector that you must use to scan indiscriminately.

Detect Anomalies

Given the volume and complexity of log data, you can't rely on searching for problems. Things you never anticipated happening are typically the type of problems that hurt the most. A good log analytics solution should be able to learn what is “normal” in your log data, and automatically identify and highlight any deviations from norms.

Make Your Own Apps Log

If you write your own code, your log management solution must be able to parse and analyze it. Consider using a well-established data format like JSON (our recommendation) or XML. Whatever you choose, make sure it's plain text format (not binary), that it is human-readable, and easy to parse. Your log solution should be able to easily receive the logs from your application and allow you to set up custom parsing rules if needed.

Be Alert(ed)

Just like every good monitoring application, every good log management solution should allow to send you and your teams alerts based on defined events, like error messages. It should be possible to send these alerts through common third party collaboration tools.

Don't Break the Bank

Cloud technologies made running distributed systems and elastic compute farms affordable for SMBs. The bill for the troubleshooting tools should be affordable, too. There are fully cloud-based SaaS solutions out there, as well as on-premise products and hybrids, which typically come at higher costs (including those for hardware and datacenter footprint).

Key criteria to decide if SaaS or on-premise solutions are right for you are the sensitivity and volume of your data. Security or privacy concerns or regulatory requirements may keep you from transferring data across public networks. Similarly, the sheer data volume could make this impossible or too expensive.

Sven Dummer is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Loggly.

Share this

The Latest

July 19, 2018

According to a recent survey, critical IT incidents cost the average organization upwards of $6 million per year. This infographic outlines 4 easy steps to automate incident management, reducing downtime and costs to organizations ...

July 17, 2018

The essential value resulting from data-driven processes has become progressively linked with analytics. Once considered a desired complement to intuitive decision-making, analytics has developed into a main focus of mission-critical applications across industries for any number of use cases ...

July 16, 2018

The question of SaaS-based technology over the past decade has quickly changed from "should we?" to "how soon can we?" even for the most customized and regulated of industries. This macro move toward SaaS has also encouraged a series of IT "best practices" that have potential impacts on the employee digital experience, organizational risk and ultimately, productivity ...

July 11, 2018

Optimization means improving the performance of your human and technology resources while keeping a watchful eye. To accomplish this, we must have clear, crisp visibility into the metrics relevant to the delivery of workspace applications to your end users and to the devices – the endpoints – they use to be productive ...

July 09, 2018

As tech headlines flash across my email, the CMDB, and its federated equivalent, the CMS, are almost never mentioned. And yet when I do research, dialog with IT, or support our consulting team, the CMDB/CMS many times still remains paramount ...

June 28, 2018

Given the size and complexity of today's IT networks it can be almost impossible to detect just when and where a security breach or network failure might occur. It's critical, therefore, that businesses have complete visibility over their IT networks, and any applications and services that run on those networks, in order to protect their customers' information, assure uninterrupted service delivery and, of course, comply with the GDPR ...

June 27, 2018

A new breed of solution has been born that simultaneously provides the precision of packet-based analytics with the speed of flow-based monitoring (at a reasonable cost). Here are more reasons to use these new NPM/APM analytics solutions ...

June 26, 2018

A new breed of solution has been born that simultaneously provides the precision of packet-based analytics with the speed of flow-based monitoring (at a reasonable cost). Here are 6 reasons to use these new NPM/APM analytics solutions ...

June 21, 2018

There’s no doubt that digital innovations are transforming industries, and business leaders are left with little or no choice – either embrace digital processes or suffer the consequences and get left behind ...

June 20, 2018

Looking ahead to the rest of 2018 and beyond, it seems like many of the trends that shaped 2017 are set to continue, with the key difference being in how they evolve and shift as they become mainstream. Five key factors defining the progression of the digital transformation movement are ...