Log monitoring is an essential aspect of DevOps monitoring that enhances the performance of an application and keeps it bug-free. Log monitoring tools facilitate this practice and streamline the processes.
Let’s start by understanding how and why we monitor logs and discussing the tools used in the process.
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What are Log and Tracing?
A log is a timestamped record or data of each and every event that occurred in respective compartments of your application, during the request life cycle. We can present the log data stored, such as the timestamp and payload of an event, in various forms like plain text and structured formats like JSON or binary logs.
Logs are easy to generate and more often than not, application frameworks, libraries, and languages come with built-in logging support.
Logging files highlight an application’s health – they notify about any faults, errors, failures, or state transformation.
However, logs are not able to tell anything about inter-communication i.e., multiple applications calling each other now and then. Tracing accomplishes this.
While both logging and tracing help in observability, tracing tracks how individual applications interact with each other, which logging fails to monitor. Tracing facilitates the action of viewing and understanding the complete lifecycle of a request or action across multiple systems.
However, continuous tracing could lead to a slowing down of the system due to unnecessary requests, hampering the performance of the application. Throughout the life of an application, it is essential to perform logging.
Maintaining logs alone does not ensure the health of the infrastructure. Undertaking log monitoring related to logging analysis and management, is an important step.
Let’s understand what is log monitoring and how it benefits an application.
Log monitoring is a set of practices that enable IT professionals to track errors and faults and maintain the application’s infrastructure health. Logs are continuously monitored and teams are immediately alerted about the potential errors and triggers that impact the system’s performance and health.
Log monitoring facilitates situational awareness in cloud-native surroundings. It also helps DevOps teams to track the behavior of an application before its release to production in CI/CD pipelines and identify potential issues.
Benefits of Log Monitoring Are:
1. Improved compliance with critical regulatory requirements
2. Facilitates faster incident response and resolution
3. Enhances application security and performance by identifying and correcting errors, bugs, and issues. This further helps in improving code health.
4. Facilitates better communication amongst IT teams
5. Data recorded is used for troubleshooting and gathering business insights
Traditionally, logs were monitored and managed manually by tech experts. This was a risky game as the room for human errors and omitting valuable insights that could enhance application health and performance, were extremely high.
Manual logging and log monitoring systems were a classic example of poor resource and time management and thankfully became obsolete with the introduction of log monitoring tools that use automation technology to track logs.
These log monitoring tools streamline the process of converting large volumes of unstructured log data into actionable information that DevOps teams can further use to enhance the functionality of their applications.
A good log monitoring tool should have the following features:
Well-organized auditing procedures that are compliant with industry regulations such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and HIPAA
Graphical representation of issues and findings, in the form of graphs and charts for quick evaluation
Ability to generate multiple reports, as per business needs and situations
Ability to classify the deleted or no longer in use log files from the system or server for storage space optimization
Storage of previous logs or archival for periods set according to business needs
A cloud-based backup of all the important log data, that is secure and contains the data which was deleted from the systems and servers
Now let’s now look at some of the best log monitoring tools.
Log monitoring system for applications ensure that issues and bugs are identified and corrected before production and deployment. Application log monitoring tools ensure that the performance and health of an application are maintained throughout its lifecycle.
Some of the best log monitoring tools are:
This tool is a highly scalable log monitoring platform that can analyze all log data at a single location, providing a correlated view of the event logs. This in turn enhances the event application log monitoring efforts and makes the syslog gathering and decoding process easier.
Splunk covers all major aspects of application log monitoring, from searching, and diagnosing, to reporting on any log-related events. It has a user-friendly dashboard and is an enterprise-focused solution.
This log monitoring tool is accessible from on-premises or cloud-hosted log monitoring software. Moreover, this modern–day tool is compatible with mobile and augmented reality. It understands all types of machines’ data and support, multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of this tool.
Easy to use and highly scalable; deployed easily and can take in and process large volumes of data quickly
Graphical representation of reports; generates reports that are easy to understand, and evaluate as well as are interactive
Helps to auto-find user information
Customized searches that can be saved
Less cost-effective for large volumes of data
It’s difficult to optimize the search for speed
Lost data or inaccurate results in some instances
The pricing of this log monitoring tool is as follows:
Free: 500MB data per day
Cloud: Starting from $186
Enterprise: Starting from $2,000
DataDog, a log monitoring tool allows users to search, analyze and achieve logs from your platform. These logs can then be correlated using specific traces, metric spikes, or security signals. DataDog also allows users to build their log message processing system.
It is an intuitive platform that enables users to visualize data using customizable, drag-and-drop dashboards. This tool’s alerts are powered by machine learning that automatically detects anomalies and logs errors.
DataDog monitoring tool further identifies potential threats and discovers misconfiguration. All layers of the cloud environment are monitored by it for security purposes. This tool is used by organizations of all sizes and across multiple industries to start their digital transformation and cloud migration journeys and facilitate collaboration among various business teams.
Pros of DataDog are:
User-friendly and configurable UI
Easy to implement
Cons of DataDog:
Log ingestion, Indexing, and Retention is a complex process
Expensive Log Analytics Workflow
Scaling is expensive and hard
The pricing of DataDog is as follows:
Starts from $0.10/month.
A 14-day free trial is provided with no credit card required policy.
One of the best log monitoring tools, LogDNA is a highly scalable, fast, and secure log management and analytics solution.
It allows users to organize log events using level filters, which also enable users to create and save specific views in LogDNA. Further, a user can easily switch between these views without applying filters or typing multiple queries.
Log data can be visualized with the help of intuitive graphs along with real-time alerts. This tool supports multiple platforms like Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of LogDNA.
Pay-as-you-go pricing model
Themes, both dark and light needs rework
The pricing for this log monitoring tool is as follows:
Birch – $1.50/month
Maple – $2/month
Oak – $3/month
Custom – Through Quotation
It is a cloud-based log management tool that aggregates and analyses log from several sources that come in different types. These types include syslogs, .txt log files, Apache, Tomcat, etc.
Papertrail aims to facilitate faster troubleshooting of infrastructure and issues that arise in applications. It gives a real-time view of aggregated logs for a hassle-free service. It further allows users to create alerts, look for them and also modify group details.
Here is the list of pros and cons of this log monitoring tool.
Backed by Solarwinds
Real-time tail and search
Custom alerts and notifications
Less user-friendly for new users
Lacks on-premise version
The pricing for this log monitoring tool is as followed:
Plans start at $7.00 per month
Customization available—Pay for only what you need
Powered by AWS (Amazon Web Services), Cloudlytics is a log analytics and management software that is designed to enhance the analysis of cloud services, billing data, and log data. It allows users to get insights into data anomalies and patterns across various cloud services.
Its dashboards are customizable to suit business needs and are easy to understand and read. With the help of the EC2 scheduler and optimizing resource utilization, automated services such as backup, clean-up, and notifications are facilitated.
Pros of Cloudlytics:
Cons of Cloudlytics:
Dashboards could be more dynamic
Pricing for Cloudlytics is as follows:
Essential – $249/month
Advance – $349/month
Enterprise – Custom
These are the best log monitoring tools that are used to store and analyze log data. This data is monitored to identify issues and bugs in an application and correct them before they hamper the user experience.
BigOhTech offers excellent DevOps Consulting services for all your monitoring and DevOps-related needs. Reach out to us and make the most suitable DevOps-related decisions for your business!
Q1. What is log monitoring in cyber security?
Log monitoring in cyber security is a process that is undertaken by organizations to monitor or identify any suspicious activities related to confidential or sensitive business data or information. Electronic audit logs are examined for indications of unauthorized security-related activities that may have been attempted or performed on a system or application that processes, transmits, or stores confidential information.
Q2. How many types of logs are there?
There are eight types of logs: 1. Event Logs 2. Server Logs 3. System Logs 4. Authorization and Access Logs 5. Change Logs 6. Availability Logs 7. Resource Logs 8. Threat Logs