Reasons to Centralize Server Logs

The days of searching through individual log files that are created and logged per service and per server are quickly coming to an end. With the complexity of the services required to run for business continuity and function, troubleshooting shouldn’t first need to be searching for the log file before beginning to look for the problem.

Centralizing log files has quickly become a standard and implementing cloud-based logging even more so. Here are five good reasons to centralize server logs – and how to inform the decisionmakers.

Centralize Server Logs. Photo by pexels at pixabay.
Centralizing server logs. Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Centralization is a Reason

The biggest reason, and likely no surprise, is that centralized logs are simply more convenient for system administrators and developers. A centrally available logging repository forms the very basis for all other reasons and benefits.

When logging centrally, all servers and services are sending their logged events to a central server, where they can be sorted and made available for searching, accessibility and for easier monitoring and alerting. This centralization also allows single configurations that can be used across all logs.

Make Them Easier to Search

System administrators will be the first people to say that trying to find something in a pile of log files is an awful thing to have to do. Not only is it a time-wasting process that is largely manual, it is also frustrating, and it lends itself for things to be missed. In a centralized logging server, the entire log archive is ready to be searched and accessed in one place.

They’re More Accessible

Because all logs are central, they can be accessed by anyone. Depending on the implementation, this might be as simple as logging in to a web interface to interact with the log server and the logs. Any business that uses a cloud-based service like Papertrail Log Management, will have its logs available anywhere at any time – and admins and developers won’t need to log in to each server by SSH to search through countless logs.

It Improves Monitoring and Alerts

Here’s a good enough reason in itself to make the change to a centralized log server – monitoring and alerts. Because managers are likely aiming for the most uptime possible from their servers and services, they are likely to want to proactively monitor them.

With a centralized logging server, this is much easier to do because not only can managers watch logs in real time, they can also set up alerts and notifications on those logs. Certain events can be set up to trigger alarms if a service reports a critical error or even unexpectedly stops, and this is possible quickly and easily with a centralized log server.

If using a centralized log server, and particularly a cloud-based solution, is the default for the organization and new servers and services are onboarded straight to this central solution, it quickly changes from being more effort to less.

It’s not difficult to configure or implement, so there is no reason not to centralize all the server logs – and those controlling the budget will surely see the value in the implementation.