How to Monitor Logs Guide With Recommended Automated Tools

By SolarWinds on July 7, 2021


Log monitoring is a practice used by IT administrators to organize, analyze, and understand a network’s performance. All network devices, including applications and hardware, create logs as they perform operations. Logs are like a device’s diary—they record every event and its critical information like user IP address, date and time, request time, and more. Log data can help you discover and troubleshoot issues, understand your infrastructure’s daily activities, and optimize functionality across platforms.

Since each individual network device has its own logs, logging protocols are often used to standardize various log data. Syslog, which stands for System Logging Protocol, is a standard protocol that sends event logs to a specific server known as a syslog server. A syslog server is designed to bring all network logs to a single location, making it easier to manage and make sense of valuable syslog data.

Effective syslog monitoring can help you safely and accurately gather, analyze, and transmit data throughout your IT infrastructure. There are many syslog servers available today, and in this article, we’ll examine a handful of excellent log monitoring tools. I recommend SolarWinds® Kiwi Syslog® Server, an industry-standard log monitoring software designed to quickly and accurately gather log data from throughout your IT environment. Kiwi Syslog Server’s centralized user interface enables you to filter through log data, create custom visualizations, and compare metrics throughout history to speedily pinpoint anomalies and discover network performance issues. If you’re already interested, download a Kiwi Syslog Server 14-day free trial.

Log Monitoring Tips and Best Practices

It’s essential to monitor log events on your network. Log monitoring can help you gain vital understandings of network performance, which can inform decisions to optimize network functionality. However, it can be difficult—not to mention overwhelming—to efficiently and accurately decipher the thousands of log events created daily. (Learn more about log monitoring here.)

Log monitoring software is built to perform essential event log monitoring tasks consistently and accurately. You can use log monitoring tools to detect suspicious activity as soon as it occurs, then use related log data to uncover root sources and begin efficient troubleshooting. Syslog monitoring software is also designed to contrast real-time metrics with historical metrics to provide an in-depth understanding of a network’s performance over time. Log monitoring tools allow you to generate alerts and reports to help you stay on top of log monitoring and create clear visualizations for at-a-glance insights into network performance.

Choosing the right syslog monitoring software is an important step towards effective log monitoring. Below, we’ve put together a list of six recommended log monitoring tools.

1.   SolarWinds Kiwi Syslog Server

SolarWinds Kiwi Syslog Server
© 2021 SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. All rights reserved.

SolarWinds Kiwi Syslog Server enables you to receive syslog data and SNMP traps from various hosts, like Linux/Unix hosts and Windows Events, along with all devices in your IT infrastructure. Through tracking variations in your network-wide syslog messages, this tool enables you to optimize log monitoring events and improve overall network performance.

Kiwi Syslog Server is built with a centralized, easy-to-use web console that provides up to 25 log display views, which you could customize according to business criteria. The centralized web console is designed to generate graphs of syslog metrics over specific time periods, using real-time and historical log data. View, search, and filter through syslog messages by time, hostname, and severity to aid log monitoring and organization. It’s useful to have all important log information in one place, and Kiwi Syslog Server helps keep log monitoring from being a monotonous task in which it’s easy to miss something important.

Some built-in actions supported by Kiwi Syslog Server include:

  • Run external programs and scripts
  • Forward syslog messages as they arrive
  • Trigger reports, email notifications, and more

Along with supporting triggered events, Kiwi Syslog Server enables you to schedule log cleanup and archival operations. These efforts can help you demonstrate compliance with log retention requirements including SOX, HIPAA, PCI DSS, FISMA, and more.

Access your logs anywhere and anytime via Kiwi Syslog Server, designed for you to safely view syslog data through secure web access. Kiwi Syslog Server offers a 14-day free trial.

2.   ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer

ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer
© 2021 Zoho Corp. All rights reserved.

ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer is built to gather information across your networking devices, file and web servers, databases, and applications. This event log monitoring tool can easily parse and validate custom log formats, enabling you to import log events of all kinds and types to EventLog Analyzer.

Once EventLog Analyzer collects syslog events, it can begin automating reports and alerts. These features are built to optimize event log monitoring by offering you in-depth insights into network activities. ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer reports are also built to track compliance with PCI DSS, FISMA, HIPAA, and more.

ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer is designed to collect and store historical logs along with real-time syslog data, allowing you to view historical and current trends plus perform predictive analysis. You can also access log search and archiving methods through EventLog Analyzer—these protocols are designed to help reduce downtime, improve incident management, and decrease interruptions into daily business operations.

Keep track of user permissions and operations with help from ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer, and access built-in file integrity monitoring tools. These features can help you manage critical registry files and folders and maximize threat intelligence efforts to stop data theft. Download a 30-day free trial here.

3.   Splunk

Splunk
© 2005-2021 Splunk Inc. All rights reserved.

Splunk can analyze all log data in a single location, giving you a correlated view of your event logs. This increases event log monitoring efforts and simplifies syslog gathering and decoding. Access advanced capabilities such as indexing, drill-down analysis, pivot capabilities, and more through the Splunk platform.

Splunk is designed to be a highly scalable log monitor and can be accessed as an on-premises or cloud-hosted log monitoring software. Its flexibility enables you to effectively monitor your log events from anywhere, anytime—this means whenever issues arise, you can address them before end users are negatively affected.

With real-time search and diagnostic features built into the platform, Splunk is made to send you critical updates, like alerts and reports, as soon as corresponding events occur. Splunk also presents you with dashboards designed to display clear, succinct visualizations with quick insights into your IT infrastructure’s health. Download a 15-day free trial for Splunk cloud or a 60-day trial of Splunk on-premises here.

4.   Datadog

Datadog
© Datadog 2021 All rights reserved.

Datadog, a comprehensive network monitor, includes a log server plus log file manager. The log server is designed to collect and store log messages across your IT infrastructure, while the log file viewer enables you to complete analysis operations like log sorting, grouping, and filtering. You could build your own log message processing system with Datadog.

Datadog is made to collect and archive all log data, sourcing from cloud-hosted and on-premises servers alike. With the Live Tail real-time feature, you can observe all your log data in real time. Custom processing pipelines enable you to extract data quickly and efficiently for log management and change monitoring.

Datadog log server enables you to quickly create log analytics dashboards, which are customizable using drag-and-drop capabilities. These visualizations enable you to pinpoint log patterns and quickly discover errors without having to investigate every individual log file. You could also search for specific events to further expedite log analysis and enable alerts that automatically discover anomalies while taking seasonal fluctuations into account.

Its log server and file viewer are built to help you optimize log monitoring efforts. For Datadog to properly act as a log server, you must connect Datadog to an agent. Sign up for a 14-day free download on their log management home page.

5.   LogDNA

LogDNA
© 2021 LogDNA. All rights reserved.

LogDNA is a highly scalable log management and analytics solution, which enables you to organize log events with level filters. You can create and save specific views in LogDNA based on these filters, and easily switch between views without applying filters or typing multiple queries. These LogDNA features are designed to expedite log monitoring and troubleshooting efforts.

Along with log filtering, LogDNA is designed to store logs throughout history and auto-parse incoming logs to help search functions. Its search features can help to get you quick query results, even when searching through massive log volumes. Access your log events through the LogDNA dashboard, which enables you to create log views, boards, screens, graphs, and more helpful visualizations.

LogDNA supports intelligent alerts through a live tail feature, which is designed to offer you real-time log monitoring metrics. This enables you to detect issues and troubleshoot them as quickly as possible. LogDNA also supports alarms and notifications to keep you updated on critical log monitoring events. Easily access role-based access control (RBAC) through LogDNA, enabling you to limit log access and prevent destruction. LogDNA is designed to comply with many regulations including PCI DSS, GDPR, CCPA, and more. Download a 14-day free trial of LogDNA here.

Final Thoughts on Log Monitoring

Log monitoring is essential to understanding your network’s current performance, maintaining its functions, and improving its efficiency. Log monitoring software can help you optimize event log monitoring and accurately monitor syslog events. SolarWinds Kiwi Syslog Server is designed to gather real-time logs and store historical logs, which you can compare for in-depth network understandings and keep you on top of syslog monitoring through alerts, reports, and visualizations. Log monitoring can be simple to perform and easily accessible with Kiwi Syslog Server’s centralized platform, which also supports safe web access to protect your data. Download a 14-day free trial of Kiwi Syslog Server today.

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