Centralized Logging & Log Aggregation

Whether to gain insights, troubleshoot issues, or defend against security threats, developers have always managed logs as a way to gain insights or pinpoint issues. However, as log data is produced by nearly every computing device, application, framework, container, and server, it’s impossible to effectively manage the sheer volume of these logs without a centralized log management system.

What is Centralized Log Management?

Centralized log management is a system that aggregates logs from all servers, applications, and networking devices into a single location. This centralized location allows for a single point of entry for easy access, control, storage, and analysis, streamlining the logging process and allowing for a complete overview of your environment.

Without a centralized server or a proper log aggregator, it becomes quickly unsustainable to log into each server individually, review logs, and perform grep searches on them, especially when it comes to time sensitive problems like crashed servers or security threats.

Modernized log management solutions that auto-collect, parse data, centralize, and manage logs will provide a unified view of what’s going on across all network elements, across all locations.

With today’s reality and demands of five nines, it’s necessary to manage all server and event logs in a central location. Below we’ll discuss four necessary features to achieve maximum efficiency and gain actionable insights for your organization.

4 Features of a Centralized Log Management System

1. Log Collection

Since logs are found anywhere on your software stack, operating system, containers, cloud servers and infrastructure, there are various strategies used to collect each stream of log data. Developers can choose to add logging code libraries or directly send it to an ingestion service through a REST API. Collector agents can be installed on the OS and platform level to stream directories with log files. Logs can also be collected centrally from rsyslog, syslog, AWS, JavaScript, JSON, Kubernetes, Docker, Heroku. LogDNA supports all these integrations and has documentation here.

2. Log Ingestion

Log ingestion is the process of collecting, formatting, and importing logs from external sources like applications, servers, and platforms. To utilize this data in an insightful way, logs should be formatted properly to include timestamps, input type classification, files and directories, network events, sources, and any other information your organization needs to easily find and understand this data in the future. An efficient log management solution has a robust ingestor service, automatically collecting data without dropping log lines. It should also keep up with large volumes and spikes, which inevitably happen when production issues arise.

3. Log Aggregation

A truly centralized log management system will automatically aggregate logs from different sources and various formats in a way that team members search, analyze, visualize log data. The log lines need to be displayed in order and no lines should be missing so that a user can jump to specific moments in time to see log details from all sources and servers. An effective centralized log management tool will have fast live tail, so you can see the log lines in real-time as they are collected. The ability to efficiently index the logs at this point in the process will result in faster search results.

4. Log Analysis

Log analysis plays a large part in any successful logging system, and will include various features to streamline logging processes, provide value, and actionable insights across all activity. Custom log parsing, log visualization, smart alerting with context, and even role-based access controls are some of the features the right log analyzer should encompass, so the right personnel sees the logs that pertain to them. A full suite of tools will help your organization make use of all log data in order to pinpoint issues, determine trends, search, and resolve issues in real-time.

Importance of Centralized Log Management

Most systems and software generate logs including operating systems, Internet browsers, point of sale systems, workstations, anti-malware, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems (IDS). … Some system logging tools generate logs but don’t provide event log management solutions. 

Centralized logging provides two important benefits. First, it places all of your log records in a single location, greatly simplifying log analysis and correlation tasks. Second, it provides you with a secure storage area for your log data.

3 Levels of Log Management & Which is Best

1) Basic, Local Logging

You’re at the first step If you’re logging and checking the files locally for your production application. Awareness is important and getting all the info you need to maintain an application in production will help when something unexpected happens. As the log files grow from megabytes to terabytes, grep will start taking a long time to hop to the moment in time when the problem occurred, so will trying to correlate different files to find out where in the stack the root problem is.

2) Central Logging

Point logs from your servers, operating system, database, application to a centralized log aggregation system. With LiveTail, you will have a real-time end to end view of your stack, wherever it lives around the world without needing to log into each system. The right centralized logging strategy will give you the ability to quickly jump to the right moment in time, search for log lines and quickly identify the problem, no matter where in the stack it is. Set up notifications and alerts and set up visualizations to quickly identify anomalies in behavior.

3) Modern, Centralized Logging (Most Efficient)

Shift into becoming a proactive operations team and organization, aggregating logs from everything while noticing anomalies, trends and customer behavior and proactively scaling production resources instead of the vicious break-fix cycle. Start making better estimates and service level agreements towards higher availability and the ability to keep growing and building great products.

The LogDNA Difference

LogDNA combines all the features of a log aggregator, parser, and log analyzer into one powerful, centralized logging platform.

Powerful, Centralized Logging that Works Anywhere

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Stop wasting time onboarding or learning special languages. LogDNA's modern, streamlined dashboard allows users to navigate log data, perform natural Google-like searches, and retrieve the fastest search results on the market. With Live Tail, you can stream and review real-time log data from across your infrastructure instantaneously.
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LogDNA is all about frustration-free logging. Using our agents, integrations, and code libraries, we'll instantly collect, parse, and aggregate logs in real-time from everywhere into a centralized location. Using Kubernetes? Just two kubectl commands that you copy and paste, and logs will start flowing into your console. Setup takes just two minutes or less.

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Our enterprise grade logging platform is capable of reliably handling 20+ terabytes per day, or hundreds of thousands of log events per second, per customer with full scalability, security, and almost real-time live tail. Whether you run 1 or 100,000 containers, we scale with you.

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We created LogDNA with fellow engineers in mind. Whether you wish to send logs via Syslog, Kubernetes, Code library, or agent, we have hundreds of custom integrations. Organize data and seamlessly centralize logs in a single pane and gain insights across your entire stack. We take care of everything from log collection, auto-parsing, and aggregation, to analysis so your engineers can focus on creating quality products.

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