Dan's Take

Making Sense of Docker Logs

Docker containers have their own set of challenges when it comes to monitoring. Logentries has produced a solution.

Logentries, one of dozens of suppliers hoping to make keeping applications and application services up and running, recently announced a tool designed to extend its monitoring and management capabilities to the Docker OS virtualization and partitioning virtualization (OSVP) framework.

It's called Logentries Logging Container for Docker 1.5, and here's how Logentries describes it: 

The new Logentries Container features Docker's new Stats API and addresses existing challenges with logging on Docker, enabling easy access to collecting and visualizing important server and resources usage stats.  Additionally, Logentries has released a new Community Pack for Docker that offers users immediate access to pre-configured searches, tags, alerts and data visualizations. The Community Pack makes Docker container log data easy to aggregate, search and visualize for deeper understanding of Docker environments.

Dan's Take: Dealing with Log File Goulash
With dozens of competitors, the application performance monitoring and management (APM) market is extremely dynamic. The goal of all of these companies is to make it simple to examine what's happening -- often in real time -- inside the components that create an application.

Quite often these companies wave the banner for marketing catchphrases, such as "Big Data" and "Predictive Analytics." It's all based on the capability to instrument all major components of today's highly distributed collection of Web and system services that make up an application.

Creating the tools that can reach into a running system and learn what's happening without also creating a huge burden for those systems is no mean feat, as each of the components typically creates its own operational log file. There's no standard format for these files, so while the component creators might develop something easy for the data collection process, it can be difficult for the analytical process to fully understand what's happening. 

When a new type of application framework, tool or virtualization technique appears, the competitors rush in to enhance their APM products so that they can monitor, manage and fold the new tech into its offerings. In the case of Docker, the OSVP technology is the target.

So, let the race begin. I expect to see many more announcements from APM suppliers telling the world that they're uniquely qualified to address the needs of Docker users. Logentries appears to be offering a powerful tool for the Docker environment, and is certainly worth a close examination.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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