Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Elizabeth White, Esmeralda Swartz, Brian Vandegrift, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Big Data Journal, Java, MICROSERVICES, Linux, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo

Big Data Journal: Article

What Is 'Real-Time' Anyway...?

One of my (least) favorite buzzwords in the logging space is “real-time."

I love a good buzzword...cloud, Big Data, analytics... And even more than the buzzwords, I love the liberties people tend to take applying these buzzwords to their new systems and services. Such buzzwords regularly get abused and often get washed into marketing material and product websites in an attempt to hoodwink and woo new unsuspecting customers. One of my (least) favorite buzzwords, that I've noticed popping up more recently in particular in the logging space is "real-time."

So what does real-time mean anyway? Like with all good computer science questions, it really depends on the context.  John Stankovic, in his seminal 1988 article in IEEE Computer entitled ‘Misconceptions of real-time computing' describes a real time system as follows:

"A real-time system is one in which the correctness of the system depends not only on the logical result of computation, but also on the time at which the results are generated."[1]

An example is, what are referred to as, "hard-real-time systems" [2], where computation must meet stringent timing constraints and one must guarantee that those computations must be completed before specified deadlines. Failure to do so can lead to intolerable system degradation and can in some applications lead to catastrophic loss of life or property.

Many safety-critical systems are hard-real-time systems, and include embedded tactical systems for military applications, flight mission control, traffic control, production control, nuclear plant control etc. and in many cases the real-time properties need to be guaranteed and proven - often using techniques such as formal methods [3] for example.

Near real-time is often defined as not having any hard constraints, but implies that there are no significant delay in processing of the event. In many cases this means within a few milliseconds or seconds of the event - again this really depends on the context. From a system monitoring perspective (of non-safety critical applications) near real-time, i.e. within a few seconds, is usually sufficient when it comes to alerting for example. And by non-safety critical, I mean, your site/app might be down, but it will not lead to loss of life. That being said it could be resulting in serious loss of $$$.

In such scenarios if there is something awry with one of system components you want to be notified about this immediately, so that right away you can go about rectifying the issue. A few minutes is usually unacceptable however, as generally this means that users/customers of your system/service are being effected without you knowing anything about this, resulting in damage to your brand and business top line.

This is what really surprises me when I see so many log management solutions that run their alerting as background jobs or saved searches which run periodically every 5, 10 or 15 mins. In my opinion this doesn't really cut it when it comes to alerting and is NOT real- time/near real-time by any standard. Consider this, if there was an emergency at home do you think it would be acceptable to wait 5, 10 or 15 minutes before you picked up the phone and called the emergency services. A few seconds, yes, a few minutes NO!

A further observation by Stankovic in his 1988 article was that another common misconception in relation to real-time systems is that throwing hardware at the problem can solve this issue - however as Stankovic rightly points out, throwing hardware at the problem is not the answer - it's all about the architecture.

That's why we have built a very different architecture to any other logging provider. In short, most log management solutions work as follows:

  • Data is sent to the log management service
  • It is indexed and written to disk
  • You can make use of their (complex) search language to dig into your data
  • If you want to create notifications you need to set up saved searches (using the complex search language) that you can schedule to run every 5, 10 or 15 mins.

At Logentries we have flipped this approach on its head and have built a unique pre-processing layer as part of our system architecture that allows for real-time processing of your data such that the analysis of your log events is done up front and in near real-time. And, when we say real-time, we mean real-time.

It works as follows:

LIVE_TAIL

  • Data is sent to Logentries
  • It passes through our pre-processing layer which analyzes each event for defined patterns(i.e.keywords,regular expressions,defined search expressions) in real-time
  • Notifications can be generated from our pre-processing layer such that you receive them within seconds of the important events occurring (e.g. exceptions, errors, warnings...)

The end result is that you get notified in seconds as opposed to minutes. In a world where time is money, and where buzzwords are only as useful as the architecture behind them, I vote for REAL real-time alerting - as it is an important requirement in any logging service!

[1] J. Stankovic, Misconceptions of real-time computing', IEEE Computer, 1988

[2] Jia Xu and David Lorge Parnas, ‘On Satisfying Timing Constraints in Hard-Real-Time Systems' IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Vol 19, No. 1, Jan 1993

[3] ‘Formal methods for the design of Real Time Systems', Springer, International School on Formal Methods for the Design of Computer, Communication and Software Systems, September 2004

More Stories By Trevor Parsons

Trevor Parsons is Chief Scientist and Co-founder of Logentries. Trevor has over 10 years experience in enterprise software and, in particular, has specialized in developing enterprise monitoring and performance tools for distributed systems. He is also a research fellow at the Performance Engineering Lab Research Group and was formerly a Scientist at the IBM Center for Advanced Studies. Trevor holds a PhD from University College Dublin, Ireland.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
Wearable technology was dominant at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , and MWC was no exception to this trend. New versions of favorites, such as the Samsung Gear (three new products were released: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit), shared the limelight with new wearables like Pebble Time Steel (the new premium version of the company’s previously released smartwatch) and the LG Watch Urbane. The most dramatic difference at MWC was an emphasis on presenting wearables as fashion accessories and moving away from the original clunky technology associated with t...
The list of ‘new paradigm’ technologies that now surrounds us appears to be at an all time high. From cloud computing and Big Data analytics to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT), today we have to deal with what the industry likes to call ‘paradigm shifts’ at every level of IT. This is disruption; of course, we understand that – change is almost always disruptive.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dr...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on Twitter at @MicroservicesE
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud.
After making a doctor’s appointment via your mobile device, you receive a calendar invite. The day of your appointment, you get a reminder with the doctor’s location and contact information. As you enter the doctor’s exam room, the medical team is equipped with the latest tablet containing your medical history – he or she makes real time updates to your medical file. At the end of your visit, you receive an electronic prescription to your preferred pharmacy and can schedule your next appointment.
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
The WebRTC Summit 2014 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microservices, and more.
GENBAND has announced that SageNet is leveraging the Nuvia platform to deliver Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to its large base of retail and enterprise customers. Nuvia’s cloud-based solution provides SageNet’s customers with a full suite of business communications and collaboration tools. Two large national SageNet retail customers have recently signed up to deploy the Nuvia platform and the company will continue to sell the service to new and existing customers. Nuvia’s capabilities include HD voice, video, multimedia messaging, mobility, conferencing, Web collaboration, deskt...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco and our partners are building the platform for the Internet of Everything by connecting the...
Temasys has announced senior management additions to its team. Joining are David Holloway as Vice President of Commercial and Nadine Yap as Vice President of Product. Over the past 12 months Temasys has doubled in size as it adds new customers and expands the development of its Skylink platform. Skylink leads the charge to move WebRTC, traditionally seen as a desktop, browser based technology, to become a ubiquitous web communications technology on web and mobile, as well as Internet of Things compatible devices.
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make smarter decisions, faster.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the M2M space. This really allows some room for influential individuals to create more high value inter...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Things. Akana enables enterprises to share data as APIs, connect and integrate applications, drive part...