Monitoring, logging, observability are all terms that may confuse even the technical staff of companies and organizations. It is true that these terms can become complicated especially in today’s environment where systems are becoming more and more complex. In this article, we will try to clarify the difference between them and how companies are benefiting from them.
We log information when we record a state, an activity, or an action. This process is called logging. Related terms are log file, log management, log review, and log analysis. We have thoroughly explained these terms in our articles so far but let’s make a quick recap. A log file is a type of documentation automatically generated by the system, and it records significant changes like a file creation or its modification time, user name access, adjustments, and others. These files produced contain critical information for companies or organizations. Examples of log files are error logs, authentication logs, audit logs, or system logs. Log management is the general term for the procedure of generating, collecting, centralizing, parsing, transmitting, storing, archiving and disposing of the log data generated by the IT systems of a corporation. You can read our detailed article here. Log review is the act of formally reviewing the log files and is performed by either the administrator or security personnel. These reviews can be performed manually or by using automated tools. Log analysis is the action of studying log entries to identify events of interest.
Log Monitoring is usually the third tier in the log management methodology. It is the act of searching for the presence or absence of patterns in information sources. It contains consoles that may be used to monitor and review log data and the results of automated analysis. Log monitoring consoles can also be used to generate reports for the technical teams or the management. Monitoring is not something simple or easy, and as systems are becoming more complex, so is the monitoring. Nowadays you cannot only monitor a single device to collect data from; you have to monitor a plethora of them. IT has become very complex, due to the number of devices, the things to monitor, the number of updates, the amount of data.
And here we face a problem. Because monitoring creates visibility into environments and is a foundational piece of IT operations, but visibility alone doesn’t equal total observability.
So, the need for something more effective has brought us to the term of observability. The observability of a system is the ability to observe the behavior or the state of the system. Logging, metrics, and traces need to be added all together to make a platform observable. Monitoring is always one key function of observability, but these additional components can help to move from reactive problem solving to a proactive approach in order to identify anomalies.
Observability allows the IT staff to dig deeper in order to identify why a particular system or application is slow or completely down. Monitoring event logs always play a key role in the equation. But observability requires a sophisticated approach by using tools to monitor, analyze, and trace events. But once you do achieve observability, your team will be able to keep crucial systems and business applications up and running, enabling your company or business to operate without disturbances.
In conclusion, monitoring is something you do and observability is something you have. Logstail provides a complete log management solution which is a must today for every organization and brings this functionality to your hands. Now you can convert your data into actionable insights with just some tweaks and prevent performance and security issues. Combining our platform with metrics and traces you can achieve observability and maximize the performance of your infrastructure or be notified of potential problems in order to take the appropriate actions. Sign-up for a free demo in order to realize the power of Logstail.