Integrating Logging and Monitoring – Best Practices

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Logging and monitoring play essential roles in maximizing application performance. They play roles that are crucial when deploying and managing an application to meet availability and performance expectations.

Although the former and the latter play distinguished roles, they work perfectly well when they complement each other.  Combining logging and monitoring tools could go a long way to improve observability. As well as increasing margin in reducing the time spent sifting log files to determine the fundamental cause of performance issues.

What’s The Difference Between Logging and Monitoring?

People often mistake these two for the same thing. This is simply because they work perfectly well together or because they deal with data to enhance efficiency. The fact is they remain unique tools. One can work independently of the other; however, utilizing both gives you a more remarkable ability to understand your system and its vulnerabilities fully. To further this;

  • Monitoring is commonly referred to as APM (Application Performance Monitoring). While on the other end, logging is referred to as Log Analytics, log monitoring and management.
  • Monitoring is the security alarm that goes off, warning against intrusion or an error in the system, while log files act as the camera footage. It gives a breakdown-Logs of what occurred.
  • Monitoring (APM) is the process of equipping an application to sieve, aggregate, and analyze metrics to evaluate better the use of the system. It does this by gauging availability, response time, memory usage, bandwidth, and CPU time consumption. At the same time, logging tracks and stores data ensuring application availability and greater insight into the impact of state transformations on performance. Its explicit role is to create an ongoing record of application changes. From it, valuable information can be deduced to locate the cause of performance problems.
  • Log Management also has extended purposes such as creating written records for audit and compliance purposes, spotting trends, and securing sensitive information.

Importance Of Logging and Performance Monitoring

Log monitoring and Application Performance Monitoring are different tools. They have the possibility to work together to provide a range of data points that help track the health and performance of your infrastructure. APM relies on application metrics, where it can measure the availability and manage performance. Logging on the other end provides a detailed record of occurrences. Generally generated from applications, devices, or web servers.

Relying on multiple log management tools to collect, organize, and review data could mean two things;

A complete overview of your system’s availability coupled with a breakdown explanation of any issues which may arise, thereby affecting the user experience. Also, reliable insight into how applications are behaving. It also briefs you on why applications act the way they do. It does this by having a logging strategy that optimizes application performance monitoring.

We explained in detail, Logging vs. Monitoring: How Are They Different & Why You Need The Logging and Monitoring in our previous post. However, we want to look at the best practices for integrating logging and monitoring

The Best Practices for Integrating Logging and Monitoring

Having the most effective strategies would enhance the performance of your overall infrastructure. So the critical question is, what logging standards should you follow to get the most out of your logging and monitoring solutions?

Enable Both Methods To Work Simultaneously

If you intend to optimize the results from analyzing log data and application metrics, consider configuring your system to send log data directly to your monitoring tool. That way, you can get the best out of both devices. Storing log messages poses some disadvantages. Firstly, it could be a drain on resources while also posing as a potential workflow bottleneck.

Ensure your monitoring tool is compatible with your application’s programming language to promote easy usage.

Log The Correct Data

Log data should be concise and clear. Data should be descriptive enough and painted in the proper context to aid with troubleshooting.

Insightful and reliable log data entails actionable items. This includes; timestamp, user IDs, session IDs, and resource-usage metrics. Harnessing a whole load of applicable data enhances the information sourced from your monitoring tool.

Use Structured Log Data

Configure log data so that it is easier to search and index. Structuring data provides you with a list of historical changes within. Also, arm your monitoring tool with unique identifiers. These can tell which customer ID experienced a glitch. From here, the information obtained via logging exposes your monitoring tool to see how that specific user was affected. This includes other issues that may have occurred.

Take Full Advantage of Log Data

Logging provides extensive functions besides troubleshooting and debugging. You can quickly identify application and system trends. This can be done by applying statistical analysis to system events. With log data, you’re provided with a bank of information about your applications. Log data provides you with a range of historical data, which can be utilized to determine averages. With this, anomalies can be easily spotted. Event types can also be grouped, making room for accurate comparison.

Ensure you have a robust query engine 

FusionReactor with LogQL makes it easier to create fast queries to filter terabytes of logs per second. This article will break down the key concepts and give you simple tips to create fast queries in seconds. 

Moving Forward With Logging and Monitoring

Every business that runs majorly on an application aims to ensure that visitors and users enjoy an immersive experience.  If you want to maintain a high-performing application, you need to implement proper logging and monitoring strategies alongside the best practices for integration. Implementing logging and monitoring in an integrated fashion will undoubtedly push you closer to your goal. Use proper error monitoring, crash reporting tools, and logging tools paired with the best practices for integration. Your DevOps team will be able to troubleshoot applications faster.

Conclusively, logging and monitoring are essential for the overall functioning of your application. You should follow the suggested best practices for logging and monitoring to get the best out of it.

FusionReactor APM is a suitable tool to help you with your logging and monitoring tasks to ensure optimal application performance.