Benefits of Cloud-Based Log Monitoring

By SolarWinds on June 15, 2020


Most of the IT industry is floating on the cloud these days. From hosting websites to storing data, organizations have started to use the cloud for various purposes, so why not for log monitoring? In this blog, I’ll explain how cloud-based log monitoring is beneficial for you and how you can use SolarWinds® Papertrail for it.

Why Cloud-Based Log Monitoring?

The Infrastructure Is Ready

When you choose to use a cloud service, almost everything is ready to use: services, storage, etc. You don’t have to spend time or money setting up the infrastructure. You can choose the services you want to use directly from a wide range of options based on your requirements.

Cloud Service Providers Perform the Maintenance

Although installation and setup save time and money in one way, maintenance is another advantage. The cloud service providers take care of the maintenance of the hardware and services. This can save you money on resources required for maintenance.

Cloud Services Are Easily Scalable

You obviously want your business to grow. When you start your business, you do what’s enough at the time. But it’s also important for you to think about how the initial setup, approaches, and resources will help when the business becomes large-scale. Using cloud-based monitoring can easily support your business growth.

Using Cloud Services Is Cost-Effective

Most cloud-based log management service providers have a subscription model, meaning you pay for the service based on the subscription you choose. This subscription can be based on time or data size, for example. Cloud-based log monitoring saves you money because the cost is minimal compared to how much you’d have to spend if you had to set up and run your own log monitoring system.

Also, if you’re considering log monitoring as a temporary requirement, cloud-based monitoring is the best choice. You can use the service as long as you want, and you can unsubscribe when you’re done using the log monitoring service.

Cloud Services Can Be Accessed Remotely

If you know what the cloud is, you probably know you can access cloud services remotely. This would help if you’re a person who travels a lot but also needs to monitor the logs. Whether you’re at work, at home, or on vacation, if you have your log monitor set up on the cloud, you can still access it.

Papertrail for Cloud-Based Log Monitoring

You’ll find a few cloud-based log monitoring services online, such as Azure Monitor, AWS Centralized Logging, Google Cloud Stackdriver Logging, and Papertrail. In this post, I’ll focus on the log monitoring service provided by Papertrail.

What Is Papertrail?

Papertrail provides tools for log monitoring and management. You also get a wide range of features, such as live tail, skimmability, and APM integration. You can integrate these tools with social communication platforms such as Slack and PagerDuty to help you communicate with your team members and customers smoothly. You can use Papertrail to log and manage logs of different types, such as syslog, Apache, MySQL, Tomcat, and routers.

Getting Started With Papertrail

The first thing you have to do is visit the Papertrail homepage. Then, click on the Start Logging button.

Then you’ll see a signup page. You can sign up—or, if you already have an account, just log in.

Once you log in, you can see a list of steps as a guide to help you understand what you should do.

First, let’s add a system to start monitoring. If you just want to test how this works and don’t want to log any product or a device, you can use your machine as the system. That’s what I’m going to do. To get started with this, click on the Add your first system button.

Now you should be able to see a page where you can choose what kind of logs you want to monitor. You can either monitor system/OS logs or application log files. You also have an option to choose the platform. If you choose to monitor system logs, then you’ll choose between Linux/Unix, Windows, MacOS, etc. What I really liked is the something else… option in the platform selection drop-down menu.

When you click on this, you see a wide list of platforms you can choose to monitor.

In other words, no matter what platform you want to monitor, Papertrail can help you with it.

Getting back, let’s choose syslog and the Linux/Unix platform. You’ll see a command displayed on the page. All you have to do now is copy this command and run it on your terminal.

When the command is successfully executed, you’ll see the confirmation on the Papertrail webpage.

Now you have to download a remote syslog file and execute it on the system. You can find the remote syslog files here.

I’ve downloaded the Debian package file, and I’ll install it using the command mentioned in the screenshot below.

Then you’ll have to execute the command mentioned on the Papertrail webpage. This will start logging syslog.

Checking the Logs

To look at the logs, click on Events.

This will redirect you to a page where you can see all the logs.

And that’s how simple it is! Papertrail gives you clear steps to help you set up the log monitoring system.

Papertrail Features

With all the other cloud-based log monitoring service providers out there, you surely want to choose the best one for you. To help you make the decision, I’ll brief you on the features Papertrail provides to help you understand why I think it’s the best choice.

Live Tail

Papertrail allows you to view your logs in real time. You don’t have to wait until logs are stored somewhere and then receive an email of the log file. Whenever a log is generated, you’ll be able to see it right then.

Seek by Time

Logs can look ugly, and if you want to search for a particular log, you might have to scroll pages to get to the log you’re looking for. Papertrail lets you search for logs based on time. You can just enter the time and Papertrail will take you to the logs generated then.

View by Context

If you’re logging data for multiple systems, Papertrail can help you find your logs based on context.

APM Integration

If you have a system monitor and manage the performance of your application, you can integrate it with Papertrail—you can easily integrate APM.

You can find more features of the Papertrail log monitoring system here.

What Else?

Well, there’s a lot more than what I’ve covered in this blog. And to find out about all the rest, you can request a demo. I’d suggest you also sign up for a free trial, so you can explore SolarWinds Papertrail and understand how best it suits your business.

 

This post was written by Omkar Hiremath. Omkar uses his BA in computer science to share theoretical and demo-based learning on various areas of technology, like ethical hacking, Python, blockchain, and Hadoop.

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