Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Paul Simmons

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, @DXWorldExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Four Steps for Structuring Log Data By @Leigh313 | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

In the age of Big Data we are taught that no pile of data is too large or too complex

Four Steps for Structuring Your Log Data
By Leigh Merrigan

In the age of Big Data we are taught that no pile of data is too large or too complex. This is absolutely true. Most data analysis systems can take any type and volume of data - but ingestion is much different from consumption. The way your data is structured directly impacts its ability to be consumed, understood, and correlated with other data. Here are the top 4 ways to make sure your system and app logs help you to do this effectively.Structuring Your Log Data

Before you start ingesting a new source type, spend a little time to ensure that the effort cost to report on the new information is low. Also, it's important to have the ability to correlate one log with another so the insights that log data provides is consumable by the entire team.

Here are four top steps to deliberate log management adoption:

1. Think about query-ability:
There are thousands and thousands of logs available to you for collection and future analysis.  And generally it is very easy to start sucking them in. But you need to ask yourself one simple question: What am I going to do with this data? The results are mixed. Sometimes it's obvious, but often the obvious can also lead to surprising conclusions.

For example, did you ever think that you would have to correlate a pegged server process with a new user on the system? It's not an uncommon test when new application registrations have a lengthy provisioning process. And Ops needs to know where and how to distribute such loads.

When can this cause serious issues? When your organization has a special event, and there are a lot of new registrations in a short amount of time. I've seen this happen more than once. It has brought servers to their knees. And causes a lot of embarrassment. But if queries were set-up to identify this trend, it's load balancing could be established early on.

This is an example of a use case or question that operations should have asked, before these logs were added to the system.

2. Align standard naming conventions
Thinking ahead also means that there needs to be a consistent language. This usually presents itself when it comes to asset, and component names. Values of these need to be consistent across all logs. For example if you call servers "nodes," or name them based on server type. These names need to be represented every time a particular server is referenced. Or are you going to reference configuration script runs by their name, or by the version of the environment build? By making sure names are consistent, not only is it easy to query on named assets and components, it's easier to communicate across teams when activities do not 100% align, but the same assets are involved.

3. Avoid nested documents
Really nested documents are impossible to avoid. And they provide a huge value in logs where nested data creates an automatic correlation between objects. The trick is that nested data creates nested queries. Which increases query complexity. This is no problem for your log analysis system. It is a greater problem for the people using it. Individuals can easily get confused about nested objects, and easily mis-interpret them.

There are a few options to mitigate this. You can explode your logs, but you will lose some value. Or you can create better references to critical data in the parent document, but this creates duplication. Both have pros and cons. What you choose will depend on the log. You might have a combination of both solutions, or perhaps one that I did not even name here.

4. Find the false positives
There is another thing nested documents, and all logs might contain. And that is replicated data, where the key's repeat throughout sections of the log. This is a problem in any information architecture type project.

When you have repeating keys, it can be especially easy to confuse one key with another intended one in full-text search, but also in queries. Again no problem for the log platform, but humans can easily get confused during interpretation. And the net result can be false positives. One approach to avoid this is to eliminate them. But this is often not even a choice. Next approach is to just be aware, and use caution when you think it is a potential.

One thing I imply throughout this post is that you may want to reformat your system logs. But reformatting logs is a lot of effort. It adds an additional step in the process, which is another point of possible failure. It is not a recommended first approach. Ideally you are confident in your teams ability to be consistent, and aware, which makes reformatting unnecessary. When it comes to software logs however, it is a lot easier, because often your developers have control. And the team should spend the time to plan out how these logs should look.

Some of these suggestions also imply a set of rules or strategies for your logs. And those rules or strategies need to be socialized. There are several ways to do this. You can create a library of standard queries that contain common elements, such as user, or system queries. And some log management services also offer the ability to save searches so they are accessible for repeated use, and shared usage across a team.  Or you can document the rules and strategies. Unfortunately published documentation is easy to avoid. So this is less than ideal but sometimes necessary, depending on the culture and size of the team. An easier, but harder to measure approach is to use a consistent spoken language. Push your team to talk in terms that map to queries and things everyone understands. Such as server naming conventions, and settings. It takes a lot of consistent pressure on the team but very helpful no matter what. And finally training; more formal sessions teaching all users on strategies and approaches to the log platform.

Log analysis encourages you to dive right in, and you should. But dive in with an idea of what you are going to do after. How are you going to use the logs? What questions are you going to ask regularly? How are you going to report on the data to the rest of the organization so that there is a consistent understanding?

Most log analysis platforms can take whatever you throw at it. By being deliberate about what you feed it, you are ensuring the greatest query efficiency, helping with better reporting, and avoiding a lot of frustration.

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
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.