Decoding Log Files: What They Tell Us About Your System

Decoding Log Files: What They Tell Us About Your System

Over the past couple of years, the majority of the enterprises have been actively deploying newly developed and advanced applications and transferring the already existing ones to the cloud computing platform. By saying cloud computing, it covers both public and private. The most significant motive behind this change is the unbeatable benefits of cloud computing, which include simplified management by incorporating a limited number of administrative tasks and streamlined processes, which helps save time and cost through the economics of scale. 

With every passing year, the number of organizations that completely rely on cloud computing for their vital applications and services, the challenge faced by cloud to maintain visibility and transparency is increasing. This network transparency and visibility is collectively called observability. Observability when it comes to cloud computing depends on two major factors:

  1. The potential to collect and analyze the gathered data. 
  2. The presence of data outputs is an indirect review of the activities and behaviors happening in the network. 

Now let’s move on to the major topic, log files

When put in simple words, Log files are perceived as the primary source of network observability. Log files are computer-generated data files composed of activities and usage patterns and operations happening within an operating system, server, or another device. 

Log files are also known as events that happened during a certain place and data. These records carry historical data. The basic anatomy of a log file is listed below:

  1. The timestamp: Data that stores the exact information of when the even logged occurred. 
  2. User information: Details about a user.
  3. Event information: Provides information on what action was taken. 

However, based on the type of the information source. The file carries a collection of relevant data. For instance, the server logs will have a group of relevant web pages, user agents, HTTP status codes, bytes served, and so on. 

What are the types of log files?

Almost every fragment of a network can generate different forms of data, and each component is assigned to gather this data in its own log. Due to this very factor, there is a large number of log types available at present. 

  • Event logs 
  • Server logs
  • System logs 
  • Authorization logs and access logs 
  • Changelogs
  • Availability logs
  • Resource logs 
  • Threat logs 

What is the importance of log files?

We only need log files because they have a collection of data that cannot be found anywhere else. For example, let’s say that you incorporated something new to a domain class and you forgot to do the migration process. This will cause some other problems. And you certainly don’t want to spill this information to your customers that something is missing on your table, which may be due to diverse reasons. 

An error like this will be stored in the logs, and people who have access to the server can inspect this kind of error if they need it. Most of the time, log files come in handy when you are unable to find the underlying cause of severe problems that have constantly been messing with your codes even after continuous debugging. There is no guarantee that the answer will always be in the log files, but in the majority of cases, these logs proved to be helpful to a greater extent. 

Once you go through the log files and come across weird errors, the whole task becomes much easier. Once you know the problem, almost half the problem is solved. Or, in some cases, you might not find what you are looking for, and at the minimum, you can rule out another place where you don’t have to focus. 

Tips about logs files 

Once you open a log file, the most probability, it would appear intimidating in the beginning. It has got thousands of lines, and the overall appearance to an outsider is very tricky and machinery. You have to know that most of the stuff in the logs is nothing that bothers you. Most of the time, you enter a log file only when you are looking for an error. 

Some people consider logs as these magical files that help track the problems or errors that we don’t even think of. 

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