Centralized Log Management
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 centralized log management.
What is Centralized Logging?
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 the right logging tools, 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
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
Centralized logging also includes the ability to consolidate logs from different sources, in different formats in a way that can help 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. A successful centralized log management tool will have fast live tail, so you can see the log lines in real-time as it comes in. 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. This includes custom parsing, log visualization, smart alerting with context, and even role-based access controls so the right personnel only sees logs that pertain to them. This helps your organization pinpoint issues, determine trends, find, and resolve issues in real-time.
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.