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Log Management

Why your Log Management Software May Not Give You the Real Dashboard Experience

Deepa Ramachandra
Deepa Ramachandra

Visualizing log data is one of the biggest perks of using good log management software. Data is many businesses’ most critical asset. But, without proper use, a business’ data becomes just an artifact and no longer an asset. Visualization and analysis are the end goals of collating log data from their sources. The need for visualization arises from the fact that we intuitively process visual information faster than a random jumble of numbers and letters. Visualizing log data brings clarity to the application and infrastructure that is easy to read, decipher, and react to. Dashboards display information in pie charts, geo charts, histograms, etc. Within a dashboard, businesses view complex log data simplified visually; when clicking through the visuals, the finer details of the Data are displayed.

Though most applications offer dashboards, not all of them do it well. Some applications reset the dashboard settings when they release new versions, and others provide too many general pre-built dashboard templates instead of creating one good pre-built option for every use case. Even though a solid log agent, like our very own Stanza, should be your primary consideration when choosing a log management software, a good and reliable dashboard should also be a critical factor. In this post, we take you through the various uses of visualizing your log data via Dashboards. The information presented should help you gauge if you use the correct log management software for your business.

Application and Web Usage stats:

In the virtual business space, companies value any insight that they can get from their data to understand the end-user personas. A good practice would be to set up a dashboard specifically for usage metrics such as:

  • Top URL accessed
  • Devices used to access the application
  • The location, language, and local time of the end-user

A usage dashboard can also track network-based events logged from network devices such as firewalls, routers, and switches. It gives an overview of all the requests sent and received from and to the network, requests denied, and a list of all devices monitored in the network. This helps businesses easily capture anomalies in network behavior by comparing a standard graph to a graph with deviations from the expected. Network events such as unusual user activity, high application requests/denials, and failure in one or more network devices are more accessible to capture.

Related Content: How to Manage Sensitive Log Data

Correlating Data to Study Trends

In the past, when all we read were system logs, reading logs didn’t require visualizations. But, in the day of containerized microservices-based applications, reading logs manually is impossible, and skimming through all the logs ingested into a log management tool could take hours. In addition, in a landscape where logs originate from a dozen or more sources, an engineer is often left wondering which disparate system in the network is causing the error. That’s why businesses turn to visualization. In visualizing, companies can correlate the various log sources to arrive at an expected outcome from all sources. The logs based on sequences, event patterns, and expected results are visually correlated on the dashboard. So when something is of concern, businesses have the events from all the sources to quickly compare and identify the problem areas. In some scenarios, reading through every log event may not be necessary; instead, a dashboard could convey the information businesses seek. For instance, a dashboard showing delayed response times from an application component could not just mean a flaw in that component, so a parallel chart of all components could present a clearer picture.

Related Content: Reducing Log Volume with Log-based Metrics

Simpler Troubleshooting

The most significant advantage of having a dashboard view is identifying issues before they are reported. Monitoring the application for meeting SLAs and focussing on the KPIs set for the application is easier in the dashboard view. Businesses can react and fix an issue before it trickles down to the end-user. Often, high cardinality data that systems generally log should be noticed. To have this visualized on the dashboard makes troubleshooting more streamlined. When an issue is reported, businesses can begin with a check on the basics, such as load volume, CPU usage, etc., before they move further into a detailed analysis. Sometimes, the issue can be something as simple as CPU usage. Dashboards also give a clear picture of connectivity issues, helping businesses identify the areas that need fine-tuning and avoid service disruptions.

observIQ Dashboard:

observIQ offers a pre-built dashboard based on the logs ingested into your account. You can also build custom dashboards or clone an existing dashboard to create a new one. The visualization capabilities and dashboards are available to ALL users of observIQ. We do not restrict our users from taking advantage of this great functionality. The dashboards in observIQ are highly malleable; You get to add and edit. Delete and position the visualization widgets based on your needs.

Deepa Ramachandra
Deepa Ramachandra

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