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June 27, 2016 By Michael Floyd

Top 5 Questions From DockerCon 2016

sumo_logic_dockercon_small
Developers, IT Ops engineers and enterprise professionals converged on DockerCon 2016 with a vengeance and Sumo Logic was on hand to show them how the Sumo Logic platform gives them visibility into their Docker ecosystems. We also released a new eBook for practitioners, Docker, From Code to Container that provides best practices for building, testing and deploying containers and includes hands-on exercises with Docker Compose. The Sumo Logic Community also announced a chance to win a DJI Phantom 3 Drone. The contest ends June 30, so there’s still time.

With announcements of new features like Containers as a Service and tools like Docker Universal Control Plane (UCP), Docker is taking the deployment of microservices via containers to a whole new level. UCP offers automated container scanning and the ability run signed binaries. As a primarily DevOps crowd with a heavy bent toward the developer, there was a lot of interest in Docker logging, monitoring and analytics, and we received a lot of questions about the internals of the Sumo Logic approach to collecting logs. In fact, the #1 question I got was how we implemented the container, so I thought I’d answer that and other questions here.

How Does Sumo Logic Operate in a Docker Ecosystem?

Sumo Logic uses a container to collect and ship data from Docker. The image itself contains a collector and a script source. You can grab the image from DockerHub by just running a Docker pull.

docker pull sumologic/appcollector:latest

Before you run the container, you’ll need to create an access key in Sumo Logic (see documentation for details). Then run the container using the AccessID and Access_key that you created previously.

docker run -d -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock --name="sumologic-docker" sumologic/appcollector:latest

The container creates a collector in your Sumo Logic account, and establishes two sources: Docker Logs and a Docker Stats.

That’s it. Once the image is installed and configured locally, you simply select the App for Docker from the Library in Sumo Logic, bring up the one of the dashboards and watch data begin to populate.

If you’d like to try it out yourself and don’t already have an account, sign up for Sumo Logic Free.

Can you monitor more than One Docker Host?

Another question I got was whether you could monitor more than one host. Apparently not all monitoring tools let you do this. The answer is, you can.

5 questions from dockercon

As you can see in this Overview Dashboard, there are two Docker Hosts in this example. The Sumo Logic collector image typically runs on the same host as the Docker host. You can collect data from multiple hosts by installing an image on each host. Note, however, that you can only run one instance at a time. A better approach is to run the Sumo Logic Collector on one host, and have containers on all other hosts log to it by setting the syslog address accordingly when running the container. Our CTO, Christian Beedgen explains more in this post on Logging Drivers.

What kind of data do you capture and what analytics do you provide?
To get real value from machine-generated data, Sumo Logic takes a comprehensive approach to monitoring Docker. There are five requirements to enable comprehensive monitoring:

  • Events
  • Configurations
  • Logs
  • Stats
  • Host and daemon logs

For events, you can send each event as a JSON message, which means you can use JSON as a way of logging each event. The Sumo Logic collector enumerates all running containers, then starts listening to the event stream, collecting each running container and each start event. See my post on Comprehensive Monitoring in Docker for more detail.

We call the inspect API to get configurations and send that in JSON. For logs, we call the logs API to open a stream and send each log. Now you have a record of all the configurations together with your logs, making it easy search for them when troubleshooting.

For statistics, we call the stats API to open a stream for each running container and each start event, and send each received JSON message as a log. For host and daemon logs, you can include a collector into host images or run a collector as a container.

Do you have any Free Stuff?

No conference would be complete with a new backpack stuffed with hoodies, T-shirts and may be a Red Hat (Thanks guys!) But I also believe in adding value by educating developers and ops. So, I’ve put together an eBook, Docker – From Code to Container, that I hope you’ll find interesting.

Docker From Code to Container explains how containerization enables Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery processes, shows how you can take Docker to production with confidence, walks you through the process of building applications with Docker Compose, and presents a comprehensive model for monitoring Docker both your application stack and your Docker ecosystem.

Ultimately, you will learn how containers enable DevOps teams build, run and secure their Dockerized a applications. In this Webinar you will learn:

  • How Docker enables continuous integration and delivery
  • Best practices for delivering Docker containers to production
  • How to build Applications with Docker Compose
  • Best practices for securing docker containers
  • How to gauge the health of your Docker ecosystem using analytics
  • A comprehensive approach to monitoring and logging

What’s Next

I’m glad you asked. We’re featuring a Live Webinar with Jason Bloomberg, president of Intelyx and Kalyan Ramanathan, VP of Marketing for Sumo Logic to dive deeper into the use cases for Docker monitoring. The webinar is July 20 at 10:00 am PDT. Be there or be square!

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Michael Floyd

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