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April 4, 2023 By Colin Fallwell

What is log management in DevOps?

Log management for DevOps

Learn how teams can streamline processes and mitigate risks via log management

DevOps teams are used to working with data spread out across many different systems and environments. In organizations that have achieved tight collaboration with security teams to transition to DevSecOps, this is even more true!

Log management is part of how all these teams keep track of information and make vital business decisions. It’s important to take a moment to understand what log management means. Numerous log files are generated automatically by lots of different hardware and users. This creates an ever-growing amount of data for teams to monitor. Ideally, log management centralizes logs in one platform and structures them all similarly.

Once logs are centralized and structured, they can be stored based on tiers of relevance, compliance mandates and need for analysis. Subsequently, log analytics allow the most benefit and insight possible to be extracted from these records continuously.

What is the log management process?

There are typically four steps in log management processes.

  1. Log collection and parsing

    DevSecOps teams cannot operate in silos today, and log management must match how teams work. The first step in log management is getting all the logs into one place. But logs from different sources will be formatted in different ways and file types. As logs are aggregated, they must be parsed into the same structured format.

  2. Log centralization and indexing

    With logs coming from many different places, it is critical to centralize them to notice important insights or patterns that may emerge when the data are unified. Logs will be tagged and indexed based on their contents as part of this process. Some logs will need to be kept for compliance purposes only, while others are essential for insights and product improvements. Indexing may reveal opportunities for resource conservation, allowing less essential data to be stored more affordably than data that needs to be available in real-time. If this sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry—it can all be powered by automation.

  3. Log analysis and monitoring

    Like log centralization and parsing, powerful algorithms can also carry out log analysis. These tools are trained to recognize patterns and identify correlations. This analysis is constantly performed in real-time, and the system monitors the outputs. When an anomalous or suspicious event occurs, alerts can be sent in real-time. When users know what they are looking for, log queries make it possible to find a single event from among millions of records.

  4. Log reporting and dashboarding

    The log management tool should clearly communicate Opportunities and alerts resulting from log management and analysis. Simple dashboards make it easy to see any performance issues and map them to potential causes in the system. Reporting for compliance or communicating with stakeholders should also be easy to achieve.

What is logging in DevOps?

Logging is the tracking and storing of data about an application or system. Logs contain information about application performance, access, changes and the impact of changes. Today, many logs are automatically generated by operating systems, servers or databases, among other sources. That means for DevOps, logging has transitioned from a manual process to something a system can mostly do on its own.

Why is logging important in DevOps?

The primary importance of logging in software development and operations is the record it provides. Whenever a system is accessed or edited, a log is generated. Most of these logs will be mundane activities by users. But when an error or threat occurs, logs are the breadcrumbs that development, operations and security teams can follow to uncover the root of the issue.

How does log management benefit DevOps teams?

DevOps teams have the vital tasks of finding issues earlier (aka "shift left"), discovering anomalies, reducing Mean Time To Recovery (MTTR), optimizing resource usage, improving user experience, and understanding user behavior. With proper log management, DevOps teams have the data they need to accomplish these goals. And that’s not to mention the benefits of increased insight into errors and security risks, better use of network resources and improved compliance!

Leverage log management for DevOps with Sumo Logic

The best log management tool for DevOps helps you easily collect, parse and organize your logs to deliver insight into real-time application performance, infrastructure and resource management, and security on a single, scalable platform. Your DevOps teams will be accelerated by real-time analytics that leads to actionable insights.

Learn how Sumo Logic helps you centrally collect and analyze data to quickly troubleshoot performance issues, investigate security threats and improve business operations in this short intro video:

Read more about how Sumo Logic can help your DevOps teams leverage log management and analytics to empower observability and security.

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Colin Fallwell

Colin Fallwell

Field CTO

More posts by Colin Fallwell.

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