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 22, 2017

UK businesses have attained high levels of business-IT alignment in of all sizes, with IT pros demonstrating strong business understanding and business pros exhibiting strong IT knowledge to increase business performance, according to a new survey by ManageEngine ...

September 21, 2017

The increased complexity of new computing architectures coupled with new application development methodologies – especially in the face of time-to-market and security threat pressures – should make secure UX the first strategic decision for CEOs and CFOs on the path to digital transformation ...

September 19, 2017

IT professionals tend to go above and beyond the scope of their core responsibilities as the changing business landscape demands more of their attention, both inside and outside of the office, according to the Little-Known Facts survey conducted by SolarWinds in honor of IT Professionals Day ...

September 18, 2017

Digital video consumption is viral and, according to a new study released by IBM and International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), more than half of the 21,000 consumers surveyed are using mobiles every day to watch streaming videos, and that number is expected to grow 45 percent in the next three years ...

September 15, 2017

No technology that touches more than one IT stakeholder, no matter how good and how transformative, can deliver its potential without attention to leadership, process considerations and dialog. In this blog, I'd like to share effective strategies for AIA adoption ...

September 14, 2017

Enterprise IT environments are becoming more heterogeneous and complex, with fragmentation permeating cloud infrastructure, tooling and culture, according to a survey recently conducted by IOD Cloud Technologies Research in partnership with Cloudify ...

September 12, 2017

One area that enables enterprises to reduce complexity and streamline operations is their virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Virtualization is a linchpin of digital transformation and effectively optimizing an enterprise's VDI is essential to moving forward with digital technologies. Delivering the best possible VDI performance means taking a fresh look at what "desktop" means today. The endpoint, or desktop, now can be a physical thin client, a software-defined thin client, a traditional laptop, a phone or tablet. To reduce operational waste and achieve better performance across the desktop environment, consider these five actions ...

September 11, 2017

In incident management, we often overlook the simple things in favor of trying to do too much, too soon. Why not make sure we've done the fundamentals properly? ...

September 08, 2017
For our Advanced IT Analytics (AIA) Buyer's Guide, we interviewed more than 20 deployments to help us better assess vendor strengths and limitations. So given the abundance of riches to work with, I've decided to illustrate several of the more prominent AIA benefit categories with actual real-world comments ...
September 07, 2017

The Input/Output Operations per Second (I/O) capabilities of modern computer systems are truly a modern wonder. Yet no matter how powerful the processors, no matter how many cores, how perfectly formed the bus architecture, or how many flash modules are added, somehow it never seems to be enough ...