How to Manage Logs Files Effectively

Information systems and software applications create logs that document events by time stamping activities like log generation, assessment, transmission, storage, archive and removal of communicated data. Because of the massive amount of logs created daily, it is vital to manage logs files for proficiency, security and regulatory and compliance. Using a log management software system allows techs to track information technology operations efficiently.  

Because of technological advancements of distributed systems, several complications have occurred that have made log data management more difficult to oversee. Devices and systems today will generate a massive amount of communications, which makes monitoring and managing logs more challenging to accomplish without log management and performance software that allows information technology (IT) techs to monitor, support and troubleshoot an IT infrastructure.

The introduction of containers and microservices have also been problematic when it comes to the best way to manage logs files from multiple applications. Microservices divide an application’s functions into different components. Containers house applications, including system tools, settings, code, libraries and run time, which makes coding more reliable and safe. As each distributed system becomes available, log data becomes more challenging to manage.

This availability of distributed systems has led to thousands of instances of machine log data generation that had no place for storage, which is why log data management software and cloud-based logging systems became relevant and necessary. It also explains why log management has now been accepted as a day-to-day IT infrastructure operation that performs several processes including log data monitoring, management and policy and procedure.

Reasons to Manage Logs Files

DevOps teams often have a scalable system in place for logging files, but it often becomes problematic when administrators have no procedures to leverage decentralized data that is a major part of security and regulatory compliance. It’s an important reason to consider logging solutions that include best practices, strategies, end-to-end logging and log data infrastructure.

1. Logging Strategies

Because of the amount of data processes, it is impossible to try to manage logs files thoughtlessly. It’s vital that you take the time to implement strategies for logging plans for an IT infrastructure as a whole, for devices or new feature roll-outs. Without a policy in place, your DevOps and administrators will quickly feel overwhelmed by the process.

When considering various data logging strategies, prioritize your needs and determine what processes you want from your logs. Your logging strategy must also include logging methods (in-house monitoring, log management software, cloud-based, etc.), hosting locations, tools and pathways for collecting, analyzing and storing types of data files.  

2. Log File Infrastructure

After devising your log data strategy, you need to take into consideration the various types of logging formats, so you know how to properly analyze, extract information and store them for future troubleshooting accessibility. The two most common log format structures include JavaScript object notation (JSON) and key value pair (KVP).

JSON formats are best utilized when transporting and storing data between webpages and servers. KVP formats are keys that link data identifiers with a specified location. They are more familiar with configuration files or tables. JSON and KVP are easy to use and extract data in a uniformly structured way.

3. Centralized Data Collection

A company must also determine best practices for log collection and storage. Most often, a centralized data collection system will consolidate log data in a systematic way that enables administrators to identify and analyze sources efficiently. Having a centralized data collection system also reduces the risk of costly security breaches or regulatory and compliance issues that involve data files that can’t be located without making mistakes.

4. End-to-End Logging Practices

Having in place a strategy that includes end-to-end logging practices will allow for a comprehensive understanding of IT systems and applications. Overcoming troubleshooting challenges are also much easier to accomplish when DevOps and administrators can monitor logging activity that includes every element. Having end-to-end logging practices in place ensure for a more visible stream of information.

5. Real-time Monitoring and Management of Log Files

How valuable is your company time? According to Gartner, every minute a network disruption occurs could ultimately cost, on average, $5,600 a minute and between $140,000 and $540,000 in an hour. Downtime is such a primary issue that real-time monitoring and management of log files are customary in companies worldwide. When IT issues occur, having logging capabilities to oversee operations become a factor.

There is also a customer service factor for when a company monitors logs files because of situations when customers have misplaced data or when they can’t locate purchases. The capability of data logging management enables notifications and troubleshooting on-demand.

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