Use Log Analytics to Understand What’s Going On In Your Systems

 In Microsoft Azure

Are you making the most of your log files? Logs are everywhere, mostly unused. Maybe you scan them for error messages to trigger an alert. That’s better than nothing, but you can learn much more about your systems if you use log analytics.

The problem with logs is that the information they contain is scattered. Logs come from everywhere, applications, devices, operating systems, and more. All these messages are in separate files and distinct formats; some of the messaging isn’t even structured.

When you use log analytics, you can pull together the information from all those different files, correlating events. With that new information, you can identify opportunities for improving your system’s performance, and even spot opportunities for business growth.

The Secrets Hidden in Log Files

While systems utilization and capacity metrics are obvious targets for analytics, and error messages help you investigate and resolve problems, your log files hold much more information that’s beneficial to your systems management.

Operational logs tell you about how users work with your applications as well as the stresses your network, servers, and storage experience. That information can help you find ways to reduce costs or create additional revenue.

Some of that user activity may be malicious. Log analytics that find unusual activity can help you increase your information security. This is especially beneficial if you process logs in near real-time, giving you the chance to stop attacks as soon as they start. Logs can also help you check for compliance with corporate policies.

Other analytics let you identify problems with your systems; they may not cause incidents that you need to respond to but may still hamper the effectiveness of your network. These are issues like systems that haven’t been updated to the latest patch levels or configuration parameters that were left at their default setting rather than optimized for your environment. You may find issues like unexpected processes running on your servers.

Implementing Log Analytics

There are a few great choices for implementing log analytics in your business.

  • Splunk: Splunk has been described as “Google for log files.” Splunk indexes log files from any source and gives you tools to search, analyze, and visualize the data in those files. It lets you combine unstructured data from log files with structured data from databases to provide comprehensive access to your logged information.
  • Microsoft Operations Management Suite Log Analytics: Microsoft’s OMS includes Log Analytics that correlate data and present the analysis in a dashboard view. It’s built on top of Azure but can analyze logs from any Windows Server or Linux platform. There are “solutions” that are pre-built rules for analyzing metrics in specific areas.
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight: Analyze a VMware environment with vRealize Log Insight application. It isn’t limited to just VMware problems but can help investigate a wide range of operations issues across your network. Learn more: VMware As a Stepping-Stone to the Cloud

Prescient Solutions Knows the Value of Log Files

At Prescient Solutions, we understand the value of machine-generated data; that’s why 24×7 monitoring is one of our remote IT services. When you want to go beyond logging and monitoring to analyzing and exploiting the value of your logged data, we can help you implement a process that works with your organization. Our application development skills let us tailor a custom solution that works for you, while our certified experts in VMware and Microsoft Azure can help you use their tools most effectively. Contact us for a free assessment to discover how you can use your logs to help your business succeed.

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