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Apache - definition & overview

In this article
What is an Apache HTTP server?
Expand server capabilities with Apache Tomcat
Top tools for Apache web server
Apache log management
Apache access logs monitoring
Apache error log monitoring
Optimizing your Apache environment with Sumo Logic
What is an Apache HTTP server?
Expand server capabilities with Apache Tomcat
Top tools for Apache web server
Apache log management
Apache access logs monitoring
Apache error log monitoring
Optimizing your Apache environment with Sumo Logic

What is an Apache HTTP server?

Originally developed for Unix, Apache is now a cross-platform solution for hosting and developing web applications. Its international community of open-source contributors and security specialists makes it an affordable, dependable backbone for web services.

Key takeaways

  • The key to a successful Apache system is knowing how to find, manage, and react to the log data generated by Apache.
  • Apache gathers only two distinct types of logs: access and error logs.
  • Industry-leading log analysis and machine learning Apache partners can scrutinize the access and error logs even further, scouring them for micro-details.

Expand server capabilities with Apache Tomcat


Apache Tomcat adds full JSP functionality to your web services.
Apache HTTP Server has more than 20 years of proven reliability in providing essential web services, but the advent of the Java interactive scripting language required more than basic HTTP functionality. Enter Apache Tomcat, a Java Server Page (JSP) and Java servlet server that can run alone or pair with existing Apache HTTP servers to add power. Apache Tomcat adds full JSP functionality to your web services. Apache Tomcat seamlessly processes incoming JSP and servlet requests in a designated container and passes the ensuing data to the section of the web delivery pipeline with no disruption to the end-user experience.

Scalable, fault-tolerant data storage is a cornerstone of any modern network environment. Apache addresses this need with Cassandra, the durable and decentralized storage and management system that serves some of the world’s largest tech companies. Apache Cassandra relies on a powerful network of data centers strategically positioned worldwide to provide unsurpassed fault tolerance. For instance, nodes impacted by power outages or natural disasters are automatically replaced from partner sites, resulting in zero downtime. This unparalleled reliability has made Cassandra, a NoSQL database, the go-to data storage solution for major companies such as eBay, GoDaddy, and Netflix. It hosts over 2500 nodes and serves more than a trillion daily requests. Apache Cassandra handles data storage and management for some of the biggest tech companies in the world.
Apache Cassandra handles data storage and management for some of the biggest tech companies in the world.


Top tools for Apache web server

With more than two decades of proven success, it’s natural that a host of tools to augment Apache’s capabilities sprung up around the software. As with almost any task, using the right tools in Apache HTTP make jobs easier and faster. Here’s an incomplete look at some of the more popular—and powerful—options for expanding Apache.

  • Apache Cloudstack. Cloudstack is a turnkey, all-in-one solution for deploying and managing large virtual networks in the cloud. Cloudstack includes a native (and open-source) API, a sharp user interface, and supports the most popular hypervisors, including VMware and Hyper-V. GUI, command line, or web-based administrator interfaces give you pinpoint control over your cloud or hybrid Apache environment.
  • Apache Axis 2. With a super fast runtime engine that can operate independently or as a service on Apache Tomcat, Apache Axis 2 is a web creation and management toolkit that works with the most popular plugins.
  • Apache Synapse. Easily apply and manage load balancing, switching, protocol routing, and other advanced network tasks with Apache Synapse. Install Synapse as its unique services gateway or run it as a proxy service on Apache HTTP to support staggering amounts of concurrent clients with minimal overhead.
  • Apache CouchDB. An open-source database hosting solution designed for the modern web, CouchDB stores disparate data types as JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) files, allowing blazing-fast nonlinear storage and retrieval through a simple query language.
  • Apache Thrift. Developed by FaceBook, Apache Thrift operates within the remote procedure call (RPC) framework to speed the deployment of applications across platforms. Essentially Thrift wraps a complete software stack and a code generation into a package that lets your original code create working replicas of itself for other platforms, eliminating the need to code versions for every common language tediously.

Want to find a specific Apache tool? Check out the complete list of in-production and under-development open-source software projects for and in conjunction with Apache HTTP.

Apache log management

The key to a successful Apache system is knowing how to find, manage, and react to the log data generated by Apache. The enormous number of interactions occurring each second in your Apache environment creates a corresponding flood of data. One string of it can be the key to determining where and how your network is underperforming.

The first step to mastering logging is enabling the appropriate modules in Apache. These include:

  • Mod_log_config lets you define the settings and storage location for your logs.
  • Mod_log_forensic records system states immediately before and after each request, so narrowing down suspicious activity becomes much easier.
  • Mod_logio charts all in and out traffic in bytes.

Through advanced Apache logging analytics, administrators can glean a wealth of information. Apache gathers only two distinct types of logs: Apache Access and Error Logs.

Apache access logs monitoring

These logs denote critical information about who is accessing your environment, where they are going, and what they’re attempting to do while visiting. These logs allow admins to gather page views and visits, successful and failed access attempts, visiting IP addresses, and more.

Apache error log monitoring

If access logs record who went where then error logs capture what went wrong. Details include configuration problems, dropped connections, document failures, 400 errors, and other mishaps.

Between the two, access and error logs hold all the information you need to troubleshoot and fine-tune your network. Apache’s ubiquity has naturally inspired an array of third-party log analysis tools, but the best ones will key in on five focus areas for Apache activity:

  1. Bytes delivered
  2. HTTP errors
  3. Page hits
  4. Response time
  5. Web server

Industry-leading log analysis and machine learning Apache partners can scrutinize the access and error logs even further, scouring them for micro details like:

  • 404 and 500 errors
  • IP address
  • Page view behaviors
  • User names
  • User reports by geography

The most important power an Apache log analysis tool should unlock is visualization. The structure and volume of raw data contained in Apache logs can hide the needle you seek in a haystack of codes and numbers, even though it records only two essential activities access and error. Native Apache logs contain the needed data, but finding it can be tricky. Here’s an example of how to count visitors.

Through interactive visualization, the right log analytics tools transform that into clear, easy-to-understand graphs and charts showing what’s happening in your environment.

Check out these additional links to learn more about advanced logging, reacting to important metrics like traffic analysis, and isolating and responding to critical errors in Apache.

Optimizing your Apache environment with Sumo Logic


Apache
Overview Dashboard provides an at-a-glance view of the activity and health of the Apache web server farms and servers.

If you are doing business on the web, you’re doing it on or near Apache web services. One of the oldest and largest platforms in the history of the web, Apache still provides powerful, open-source solutions to modern web hosting challenges. The keys to success in Apache are understanding what it can do, expanding its power by adding additional Apache resources, and transforming raw logging data into information you can see and use. Learn how Sumo Logic provides deep visibility into the operations of your Apache web servers.

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