The right log aggregation tools can go a long way towards maintaining and improving an existing system easily and efficiently. Log management systems are much more than just a (fantastic) source of business intelligence to enhance your enterprise’s performance. They’re a terrific solution to alleviate that tremendous pain that comes with all those “programming archaeology” efforts required to search for that minuscule, slippery, and untraceable bug that is haunting you.
Because all things break eventually, but it’s much easier to fix them if you don’t have to untangle yourself from a jungle of logs scattered across countless individual servers. And that’s what log aggregators really are, in a nutshell: a simple way to find the answer you’re looking for so you can focus on how to fix it rather than on where the problem is.
Understanding the Importance of a Proper Log Aggregation Tool
Back in the single-server days, things were so much simpler. You just needed a simple grep command to isolate that pesky bug and get to the source of a particular event. When some embarrassing junk text appeared on your customer’s setting screen, all you had to do was search the database for a string of plain text. But in the modern distributed computing environment, diagnosing a runtime problem can be a hassle if you have to follow a hidden trail of clues like an elven ranger looking for the cause of an issue. Today’s enterprise-wide systems force software devs and ITs to extensively parse through an innumerable amount of logs just to find a single piece of insightful infrastructure data. Log management tools require nothing but a single query to pinpoint the root cause of any software or application error.
Log aggregation tools are useful to get all your logs in one place, and that’s quite self-explanatory. But things are rarely simple today, and you definitely need to turn your logs into more than just plain-text data. Think about this – you used all your shell script tricks to search for a string of text in your logs, or, at least, a portion of that text. After many tries, you have some luck and find a snippet on one line, and the rest on another line. The problem is that between them you got all sorts of garbled debug junk and indecipherable text since the rest of the text is probably inside another log. Dealing with logs that cannot be searched will simply thwart all your troubleshooting efforts. Log aggregators come to the rescue by helping you find and diagnose by improving the quality of your code.
Improving Your System Performance with Log Aggregation Tools
Monitoring live applications and systems is important to optimize their performance and maintain their efficiency. Regular checking and troubleshooting your main infrastructure may not be enough, especially if you’re more oriented towards preventing issues than solving them as soon as they become manifest. However, the performance of an application is degraded any time it is monitored, especially if this monitoring becomes continuous.
Even if the most potent machines aren’t robbed of too much computing power, having to generate countless logs across so many servers is a process that can hardly be defined as “optimized.” Wise administrators understand that wasting resources is always bad, no matter how menial it may look. And solving issues by adding a peripheral problem is definitely not a good approach, ever. Log aggregators can be used to centralize all your logging efforts within a single machine, preventing the needless duplication of log file handlers across the board.
How to Choose the Right Log Aggregator
To choose the right log aggregation tool for your business, you need to evaluate your needs. Smaller operations may find that Graylog’s open source log management tool is sufficient to get the basic data out of their logs. However, larger, multi-level organizations must often tackle log management on a much bigger scale. Such firms may prefer a more comprehensive and cohesive solution, such as the more robust enterprise edition – a powerful system that includes logs, errors, monitoring tools, and metrics in a single, visually optimized dashboard to improve the efficiency of long-term log management.
Our log aggregation tool centralizes all data in one place, treats all your code as data, and allows you to get a lot more information with queries than simple text searches. Graylog’s platform uses a comprehensive procession algorithm to parse logs and search through virtually unlimited data. Solid centralized management assists all members of a team to scour through all relevant queries by defining permissions and roles.
The Bottom Line
It doesn’t matter if your log aggregator focuses on the application rather than on the system level. What it’s really useful for is just one thing: empower your business workflow by making your life much easier with intelligent and fast searches.