Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: John Walsh, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Sven Olav Lund, Simon Hill

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Log Analysis for Software-Defined Data Centers | @DevOps Summit [#DevOps]

Log data provides the most granular view into what is happening across your systems, applications, and end users

by Chris Riley

Modern infrastructure constantly generates log data at a rate faster than humans can easily analyze. And now that data centers can be built and torn down with scripts, the amount of activity and data is exponential.

The traditional log analysis practices of manually reviewing log files on a weekly or daily basis, remain inadequate when looking at Software-defined Data Centers (SDDC). The modern architecture of SDDC, with its highly automated and dynamic deployment capabilities for multi-tier applications, necessitates real-time log analytics. Analytics that are key to complex troubleshooting, dynamic provisioning, high performance and superior security.log-analysis-for-software-defined-data-centers-2

In the software defined data center you are looking at many more variables beyond servers. You want to see provisioning volume and time. You want to know performance and iOPS of bare metal machines. You want to know about how the data centers network, and all individual virtual networks are performing, their security, and possible weak spots. And in the case of companies like IaaS and hosting providers you might be managing many of these virtual data centers all at one time.

Identifying root-cause performance bottlenecks, security vulnerabilities and optimizing provisioning of SDDC resources is only possible with a comprehensive log management solution. One that takes log data from individual components and presents a consolidated view of the infrastructure's system log data. The resulting operational intelligence enables deep, enterprise-wide visibility to ensure optimized utilization of SDDC resources, and advanced alerting to call details to pertinent and urgent issues.

Without these capabilities, IT administrators have to rely exclusively on system metrics, limiting their ability to make comprehensive decisions on performance alone, and possibly only performance at the data center level. Things such as memory consumption, CPU utilization and storage overlook valuable diagnostic information stored in log files.

Here are some of the categories of information that log analysis in SDDC can provide.

  • Machine Provisioning, De-Provisioning, and Moves: In the modern datacenter VMs move from physical machine to physical machine sometimes even while running, with technologies like v-motion. In order to optimize the processes for moving VMs to accommodate load historical reporting on VM moves, provisioning, and de-provisioning can help teams understand where to optimize the processes or and and remove bare metal machines.
  • Data Enter to Bare Metal Utilization: Enable the advantage of cloud technologies such as elasticity, on-demand availability and flexibility with the performance, consistency and predictability of bare metal servers. Log analysis allows IT decision makers to incorporate accurate information of machine efficiencies in planning for the overall provisioning, scaling and utilization of SDDC environments.
  • Intrusion Monitoring and Management: Log data can be used toidentify anomalous activities and creating automated alerts to point out areas of concern in real-time. With traditional, manual log analysis practices, IT administrators fail to extract insights from log data pointing to possible performance and security issues. A log analysis based management solution automates these processes, frees IT administrators from tedious manual log analysis tasks and provides enhanced visibility into infrastructure operations to prevent data breaches.
  • Audit Trails for Forensics Analysis and Compliance: Correlate log data to trace suspected intrusions or data loss, and maintain compliance to strict security regulations.
  • Incident Containment: Identify and isolate compromised or underperforming components to prevent infrastructure-wide damages with real-time alert configurations. Users can also analyze log data to identify causal links between independent outages and performance issues, spotting them before they grow.
  • Infrastructure Optimization: Active network log management allows IT decision makers to shape the infrastructure to meet diverse and evolving business demands. DevOps can also use log data in integrated test environments to correlate tests results with log data generated by SDDC infrastructure and applications.
  • Reduced Cost: Fewer tools and IT expertise are required to maintain and manage complex SDDC infrastructure.

And the implementation is easy. Just like server monitoring log pulls from server data are as easy as installing an agent. In the case of the SDDC the agent must already be a part of the script or gold master VM used for all provisioning. But in addition to the VMs, the agent also needs to be installed on all instances of your bare metal hypervisor. For example on each VMware ESX server. The only additional step above and beyond straight server logging is making sure the division between the hypervisor machines, and their provisioned VMs is clear.

Extending log analysis beyond monitoring of individual components to management of the entire SDDC requires users to set up cloud-based log analysis solutions completely independent from the SDDC infrastructure in question. While IT professionals are accustomed to traditional practices of monitoring errors in log data, DevOps running SDDC must identify the underlying network components where the shift in system behavior occurs. And with advanced machine learning-based log management solutions, DevOps can resolve issues and optimize performance with greater effectiveness.

More Stories By Trevor Parsons

Trevor Parsons is Chief Scientist and Co-founder of Logentries. Trevor has over 10 years experience in enterprise software and, in particular, has specialized in developing enterprise monitoring and performance tools for distributed systems. He is also a research fellow at the Performance Engineering Lab Research Group and was formerly a Scientist at the IBM Center for Advanced Studies. Trevor holds a PhD from University College Dublin, Ireland.

@CloudExpo Stories
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
Data scientists must access high-performance computing resources across a wide-area network. To achieve cloud-based HPC visualization, researchers must transfer datasets and visualization results efficiently. HPC clusters now compute GPU-accelerated visualization in the cloud cluster. To efficiently display results remotely, a high-performance, low-latency protocol transfers the display from the cluster to a remote desktop. Further, tools to easily mount remote datasets and efficiently transfer...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.