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Blog AWS Logging

The Word on AWS CloudWatch: Log Management is the New Kid on the Block (or Not) #Vogelsism

By Hoover J. Beaver 16 Jul 2014

Live from New York… It’s AWS CloudWatch featuring our special guest Log Management!

Were you there? Did you hear it live? The latest #Vogelsism, announced in the keynote last week by AWS CTO Werner Vogels at the way-past-sold-out AWS NYC Summit.  Breaking News: “Log files (and insight from your logs) are the new kids on the block for AWS.”

Vogels’ keynote puts a new and exciting spotlight on the importance of logs and log file management. Amazon has signaled that it is critical that you invest in solutions that help you extract insights from your logs to solve operational issues. If AWS is interested in the value of aggregating log data, you should be interested too.

From the Vogels keynote:

“In order to be successful in the cloud, IT organizations need to relentlessly measure how both systems and applications are performing. The problem is that log collection and processing is painful.”

Awesome! Werner Vogels, the cloud computing godfather (can we call him #cloudfather?), was voicing the message of truth to the leading cloud-centric companies and DevOps teams on the biggest stage AWS could find in NYC:

  1. Log files are the single source of truth for your application and network health
  2. You should be actively mining them for insights to solve operational problems
  3. While log management is mission-critical, it’s far from easy

awsnyteam_166x166We couldn’t have said it better. In fact, here at Loggly, we’ve been preaching that for years. And we spent eight solid hours at the packed AWS Summit talking to cloud companies that agree.

Last Thursday, Amazon formally announced an extension to AWS CloudWatch. This extension aggregates logs across AWS compute instances and allows AWS customers to use logs as a source for monitoring their AWS environments and calculating operational metrics. It’s very basic (it doesn’t even include search), and it’s good news for us because it makes it easier for AWS customers to aggregate their logs for log management providers like Loggly to use as a source. And, of course, it raises awareness about the need to centralize log data, the first true big data challenge a company faces.

By simplifying log management, Loggly has become the most popular enterprise-class cloud log management service and has made thousands of developers and DevOps professionals much more productive. AWS customers looking for a full log management solution can complement CloudWatch Logs with the Loggly service to enable more robust capabilities such as:

  • Providing complete visibility into everything (application code, platforms, systems, devices, and even clients) in every AWS region, because problems can crop up anywhere
  • Agent-free deployment on all AWS instances
  • A full suite of auto-parsing, search, and filtering tools needed to isolate the relevant log events that point to the root cause of problems and to understand what those events are saying
  • Decoupling the network and reporting infrastructure, so that logs are available even if AWS is the failure point
  • Using AWS CloudWatch agents to aggregate logs and track metrics (high level dashboards for the ‘what’ is going wrong) and then sends these logs to Loggly to support deep-dive analysis and troubleshooting of operational problems (details for the ‘why’ something went wrong)

Here’s a few examples of how our customers are turning deep insights from their logs into business value:

  • When Rumble Entertainment finds problems with its games, it not only solves those problems but also reaches out proactively to affected customers, whom it can identify using log data.
  • On SendHub’s website, Loggly collects the end-to-end log trail from the client in javascript to the back-end processing, so that the development team can see a single view of a transaction.
  • Another game developer needs visibility into client and network environments in order to solve elusive performance problems with certain game features
  • Payment provider xsolla uses Loggly’s RESTful API to incorporate advanced statistics on errors for any payment system on any customer’s application into its internal management dashboard.

Log management is the new black for net-centric businesses because, as Vogels notes, it addresses a cloud application paradox:

“IT organizations suddenly gain access to thousands of servers running more applications than ever that also wind up generating more log files than most IT organizations can possibly cope with.”

Making all of these log files searchable and understandable is a really hard challenge, and it’s Loggly’s core competency. We were happy that so many AWS customers came to our AWS Summit booth: understanding the strategic importance of log data, ready to appreciate the depth of what Loggly offers and excited to see how simple but powerful log management can really be.

Besides, companies who leverage cloud services are already taking advantage of another of my favorite #Vogelsisms: They’ve stopped spending money on ‘undifferentiated heavy lifting‘.

When the #Cloudfather speaks, customers listen. But at Loggly, we don’t want you to take our word for it – or Amazon’s either. See the value of log management for yourself by signing up for a 14-day free trial of Loggly!

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Hoover J. Beaver

Hoover J. Beaver