Welcome!

Java Authors: AppDynamics Blog, Charles Jolley, Liz McMillan, Sematext Blog , Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Java, .NET, AJAX & REA

Java: Blog Post

Let the Logs do the Talking

Did you know that the same log analysis tool could be your key to reporting with management

You are on top of your game. You have a log analysis tool churning logs from all your applications and infrastructure. And now that you have data (LOTS and lots of data...), you are able to understand your infrastructure better than you ever did before. You might even build a dashboard or two that tells you what is going on with your IOPS and utilization, at a glance.

But when it comes time to explain system status or configurations to everyone else in the organization you get stuck. Stuck and frustrated that your time is being taken away from tasks that need to get done.

Did you know that the same log analysis tool could be your key to reporting with management, communicating with developers, and building business cases for change? All with much less effort than before.

How?? Let the logs do the talking for you.

shutterstock_209678401 (1)

During your busy day you are too consumed with regular system admin tasks to think about your next monthly or quarterly meeting with management. In this meeting, however, you are expected to say what is going well, what is going poorly, and how you are improving it. And that is just one audience; the developers need your help too. They demand issue details, and status updates after new releases.  You know all this stuff in your head, but putting it together is hard.

For the developers you cannot just say "hey, something is wrong"... you have to pinpoint the issue in order to avoid the "it works on my machine, or in the lab" challenge. Management wants to know not only what happened, but also the impact on customers and usage. But, often tech speak does not translate to the business issues. And if you know there is an opportunity for improvement, that is going to cost some money, you will have to prove 1)  there is a problem, and 2) that the spend will fix it. How do you build a case, on top of your other work?

It's hard. But just like log analysis tools assimilate information for you to better understand what is going on, they can provide you the tools to help others understand what is going on as well.

A well designed system of dashboards and reporting literally makes it possible for you to screenshot a dashboard, add some numbers and comments, and polish off a great presentation in minuets not days.

Here are some best practices to make your reporting life easier.

  1. Be deliberate in your dashboard creation. Sometimes you are compelled to create a dashboard on demand, as the moment strikes you. While you should not suppress that urge, make sure you understand how any new dashboard is going to be consumed.
  1. Name your dashboards with external communication in mind.  Your naming conventions should not be cryptic. You need to be able to quickly spot the dashboard. For example "OutagesWithTimeSeries" in order to report on recent outages for the quarter.
  1. Give developers a piece of the pie. Allow your developers to access the portions of the analysis platform that pertain to them. Why? Because this makes them accept the information from the platform, and makes them feel a part of the solution. You build a comfort level that allows the communication to flow more easily.
  1. If you always have to use a query you are doing something wrong. Design your quires to be repeatable, and something you can report on.  There is no way to avoid unique one-offs but 90% of the time you should not be writing queries to answer common questions. It's better to turn those quires into pictures.  Use the querying approaches for your research and deep dives into particular issues or analysis only.
  1. Be consistent. Nothing wastes time in meetings like arguing over what a number means.  Be consistent with all reporting so as not to confuse people.  Ideally your presentation will have the same slides, just over different periods of time.
  1. Don't go too deep. The deeper you go the more questions you create. Also you might just lose people in details of say memory utilization that they do not care about. Rather, report on the overall consumption of your infrastructure, and what you are doing with the underage or overage. For example. This means that your reports need to be more concise than you are used to for your own consumption.
  1. Help your boss. Make your boss look great, by creating reports that he/she can also use to streamline their presentations. Setup regular email alerts with the reports and think about what is useful for business teams to know.
  1. Think about your design. If there is an opportunity to better organize, or collect logs than use it. Often organization is an afterthought and comes too late, and then once a year you are trying to clean everything up. Stay organized at the beginning and you will save a ton of time.

Log analysis is a work horse giving you a better point of view of what is going on. It allows you to see the steady state of your applications and infrastructure in one location, and with no manual effort. Log analysis also allows you to make decisions you could not have previously. But this is only half the benefit.  It can be an excellent communication tool as well.

When you use your log management tool into a reporting and communication tool, you will skip the frustration of preparing for the next meeting, or trying to translate your data for other departments in your organization. Save time by taking the extra step to let the logs do the talking for you.

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
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard 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. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, 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. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, 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. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...