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Ankit Anand ✨ for SigNoz

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Log Monitoring in the Age of Cloud-Native Applications

This article was originally posted on SigNoz Blog and is written by Muskan.

What is Log Monitoring?

Log monitoring is the practice of tracking and analyzing logs generated by software applications, systems, and infrastructure components. These logs are records of events, actions, and errors that occur within a system. Log monitoring helps ensure the health, performance, and security of applications and infrastructure

In the ever-evolving software development landscape, cloud-native applications have become the new norm. With the adoption of microservices, containers, and orchestration platforms like Kubernetes, the way we handle logs has also transformed. This article delves into the world of log monitoring, exploring its significance in the context of modern cloud-native applications.

In the context of cloud-native applications, log monitoring plays a pivotal role in maintaining system reliability, identifying issues, and troubleshooting in real-time.

Different Types of Logs

Logs can be categorized into various types based on their source and purpose. In the realm of cloud-native applications, some common types of logs include:

1. Application Logs

Application logs capture information specific to an application. These logs provide insights into user interactions, business logic execution, and application-specific errors. Monitoring application logs is essential for identifying issues affecting user experience and business functionality.

2. System Logs

System logs originate from the operating system. They contain information about system-level events, such as hardware status, resource utilization, and system errors. Monitoring system logs is crucial for diagnosing system-level issues and optimizing resource utilization in cloud-native environments.

3. Infrastructure Logs

Infrastructure logs encompass logs generated by the underlying infrastructure components, including servers, virtual machines, and network devices. These logs help administrators and DevOps teams monitor the health and performance of infrastructure resources in cloud-native setups.

How Logs are Monitored in Cloud-Native Applications

In cloud-native applications, monitoring logs is a multi-faceted task due to the distributed and containerized nature of these environments. To effectively monitor logs, you need a comprehensive strategy that encompasses the following key aspects:

1. Log Collection and Aggregation:

  • Log Collectors: In cloud-native setups, logs are generated across various containers, pods, and nodes. Log collectors or agents are deployed within these containers to gather logs. Common log collectors include Fluentd, Fluent Bit, and Logstash.
  • Centralized Aggregation: Once collected, logs need to be centralized for efficient analysis. Log aggregation platforms such as Elasticsearch, Graylog, and Loggly are used to collect logs from multiple sources and store them in a centralized repository.

2. Log Structuring and Parsing:

  • Log Enrichment: Logs are often unstructured or semi-structured data. To extract valuable information, log parsing is necessary. Log enrichment can include adding context, timestamps, and metadata to log entries, making them more usable.
  • Regular Expressions and Grok Patterns: Parsing tools use regular expressions and Grok patterns to extract structured data from logs. These patterns are defined based on the log format.

3. Indexing and Storage:

  • Indexing: To facilitate fast and efficient log retrieval, logs are indexed based on specific fields, such as timestamps, log levels, and source containers.
  • Data Storage: Logs are stored in a database or data store designed for efficient search and retrieval. Elasticsearch is a popular choice due to its speed and scalability.

4. Real-time Alerting:

  • Alert Rules: Log monitoring solutions allow you to define alert rules based on log content and patterns. These rules trigger alerts when specific conditions are met, helping you proactively address issues.
  • Notification Channels: Alerts can be sent to various notification channels such as email, Slack, or SMS to notify administrators or DevOps teams.

5. Log Analysis and Visualization:

  • Search and Query: Users can search and query logs using specific keywords, filters, and time ranges to pinpoint issues or investigate events.
  • Visualizations: Log monitoring tools often provide visualization features such as charts, graphs, and dashboards to gain insights into log data trends and anomalies.

6. Integration with Orchestration Platforms:

  • Kubernetes and Docker Support: In a cloud-native environment, log monitoring tools need to integrate seamlessly with container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes and Docker. They should be able to capture logs from pods and containers automatically.
  • Service Discovery: Monitoring tools should adapt to dynamic service discovery mechanisms and be aware of service and pod lifecycles.

7. Security and Compliance:

  • Access Control: Access to log data should be controlled and restricted based on roles and responsibilities.
  • Data Retention: Ensure compliance with data retention policies by defining log retention periods.

8. Scaling and High Availability:

  • Horizontal Scaling: Log monitoring solutions should scale horizontally to handle increasing log volumes in dynamic environments.
  • High Availability: Achieve high availability by deploying redundant log collectors, aggregators, and storage components.

9. Performance Optimization:

  • Indexing Strategies: Optimize indexing strategies to balance search performance and storage costs.
  • Log Rotation: Implement log rotation policies to manage log file sizes and prevent excessive storage consumption.

10. Custom Log Sources:

  • Custom Application Logs: For applications with specific log formats, provide a mechanism to parse and ingest custom log sources.
  • Custom Dashboards: Create custom dashboards to visualize application-specific metrics and log data.

By addressing these aspects, log monitoring in cloud-native applications becomes a proactive and efficient process. It allows you to stay ahead of issues, maintain application health, and ensure optimal performance in these dynamic and distributed environments.

Top 11 Log Monitoring Tools for Cloud-Native Applications

When it comes to monitoring logs in cloud-native applications, having the right tools at your disposal is crucial. Here are eleven top-notch log monitoring solutions to consider:

  1. SigNoz: SigNoz offers a real-time log monitoring solution designed specifically for cloud-native environments. It enables quick log analysis and visualization, empowering you to stay on top of log data.

  2. Graylog: Graylog simplifies log management and analysis by providing a centralized platform to collect, index, and search logs from various sources. It's a go-to choice for organizations seeking efficient log management.

  3. Mezmo: Mezmo offers an intuitive log management and analysis solution with user-friendly features that make log exploration and analysis a breeze.

  4. Loggly: Loggly, a cloud-based log management solution, helps identify and resolve issues faster with its log analysis capabilities. It's an excellent choice for organizations looking for hassle-free log management.

  5. Datadog: Datadog's comprehensive monitoring platform includes robust log management and analysis features, providing insights into both application and infrastructure performance.

  6. New Relic: New Relic's log management and monitoring solutions are designed to enhance application observability and streamline troubleshooting, making it an invaluable tool for modern applications.

  7. Splunk: Splunk is a widely recognized log monitoring and analysis platform known for its advanced log search and visualization capabilities. It's a top choice for enterprises seeking powerful log analysis.

  8. is a cloud-native log analysis platform that simplifies log management, making log data accessible and providing valuable insights for your operations.

  9. Loki by Grafana: Loki is an open-source log aggregation and querying system designed to work seamlessly with Grafana. It's ideal for organizations looking for open-source log monitoring.

  10. Logstash: Logstash is an open-source data processing pipeline that excels at collecting, filtering, and forwarding logs. It's a flexible solution for log management.

  11. Fluentd: Fluentd, another open-source data collector, is adept at collecting, filtering, and forwarding logs and events. It's a versatile choice for log management in cloud-native setups.

Selecting the right log monitoring tool is essential to effectively manage and analyze logs in cloud-native applications. These tools offer a range of features and capabilities to suit different organizational needs, making log monitoring a breeze in today's dynamic environments.

Getting Started with Log Monitoring

When it comes to keeping an eye on your logs in the world of cloud-native apps, SigNoz being an open source APM platform is like having a trusty sidekick. Here's why you'd want SigNoz on your team for log monitoring:

  • Real-Time Log Analysis and Visualization

    SigNoz offers instant log analysis and visualizations, making it easy to spot issues and trends as they happen.

  • Tailored for Cloud-Native Environments

    SigNoz seamlessly captures logs from containerized applications and integrates with dynamic service discovery mechanisms, making it a perfect fit for cloud-native setups.

  • User-Friendly Interface

    SigNoz's user-friendly interface simplifies log exploration and troubleshooting, making it accessible to both developers and DevOps teams.

  • Gain a Competitive Edge

    SigNoz empowers organizations to maintain application health and performance in dynamic, containerized environments, giving them a competitive edge in the cloud-native landscape.

It is available both as an open-source software and a cloud offering. If you want to get started quickly then you can sign up for a cloud account here.

Getting started with SigNoz

SigNoz cloud is the easiest way to run SigNoz. You can sign up here for a free account and get 30 days of free uncapped usage.

You can also install and self-host SigNoz yourself. It can be installed on macOS or Linux computers in just three steps by using a simple install script.

git clone -b main
cd signoz/deploy/
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The install script automatically installs Docker Engine on Linux. However, on macOS, you must manually install Docker Engine before running the install script.

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