2013 was a pretty exciting year at Logentries as we made it our mission to help you find valuable insights in more and more of your log data. Over the past year we were able to grow our user base, and almost solely through word of mouth. I think it’s fair to say that our service has gone global – it’s now in use across over 100 different countries. Amazingly, this is all down to our users who continue to spread the good word about our service! Check out our ‘user log-in map’ below to see evidence that the world is truly flat – and fully wired!
In light of the ‘global’ theme, this week we have also announced our new Global Tags and Alerts. As our customer’s have grown in size and have added more and more servers (and ultimately more and more logs), one of the most common feature requests we have had is for the ability to configure tags and alerts at a global, infrastructure-wide level. This allows users with larger environments to more easily create tags, to highlight events of interest, and to get notified (e.g. via email, mobile notification or using web hooks) when there’s something important they need to know about.
Tags allow you to quickly identify, visualize and report on important events. Alerts, on the other hand, provide a way to get notified when something important crops up and you need to know immediately! Unlike most other log management solutions that run their alerting as background jobs – which tend to be run at 5, 10 or 15 minute intervals – Logentries uses it’s unique pre-processing layer to identify important events in real-time and to notify you within seconds of them occurring. You can configure alerts to send emails or mobile notifications to any of your team members so that they can respond appropriately (e.g. in the case of a critical error).
Much of software is now construction rather than creation
However, sometimes more inventive and powerful use cases can be achieved using machine to machine communication via WebHooks. Using webhooks you can have Logentries post a request to a URL, specified by you, every time an alert is triggered. The request contains details on the event message, the time when it triggered a notification, where in your system it came from, etc…all in JSON format. Consumers of the notification can thus read the JSON request and react in an automated fashion. We’ve noticed users constantly coming up with new inventive ways of using alerts to integrate with other services and have listed a few of these here to give you an idea of some of the cool things you can do using our WebHooks.
Example 1: Create your own SMS notifications with Twilio
According to Oisin Hurley, CTO of Converser, “Servers tend not to care if you are in the office or not and have a sneaky habit of ‘going pop’ when you have just arrived on a holiday.” To combat this annoying habit, Oisin has combined Logentries with Twilio to automatically invoke alerts based on critical events. As a result Oisin has now built a great custom monitoring solution with SMS notifications. Impressively Oisin pulled this solution together in less than 30 mins!! Better yet, Oisin has open sourced this so anyone can use it – its called Mon – check it out.
Example 2: Have your (automated) personal assistant call you via Tropo
Alan Giles, CTO of Boxever is too busy to deal with reading SMS notifications so he gets his automated personal assistant to call him instead and dictate what’s going on in his system 🙂
I spoke to Alan recently about the motivation for this and how he constructed it. Here’s what he said:
Why?: “I have an iPhone and I like to turn it onto silent at night so that my phone doesn’t keep hopping every time an email comes in, a message or a call from a group of mates out on the town comes my way at 3am 🙂 However, at the same time, I want to get notified when a serious error occurs on production. So I:
- Set up a web hook on Logentries
- Wrote a Tropo App to call me
- Configured “Do Not Disturb” with “Allow Calls >From Favorites”
- Added the Tropo number to my favorites”
Why Tropo?: “Simple its dead cheap. Pay as you go.” Also the cool thing is that when “Tropo” calls me its “Text to Voice” explains what happened on production.
What’s the biggest benefit?: “I have an unbroken nights sleep and the wife doesn’t kill me ;-)”
Example 3: Integrate with your team communication tools …HipChat/Campfire/PagerDuty/Twist/…
Ron Campbell and his team at TruckingOffice.com help truckers everywhere better organize their loads … and they use automated alerting to tell the entire team when there’s a road block in their system…
According to Ron, “we use WebHooks to parse the log files for specific strings we pre-pend to specific log messages. We use the WebHook to send these messages to Campfire to alert us to specific conditions and also to aid in debugging – and we have a campfire room setup to display these messages to the entire online team.”
“More specifically, we have several “permanent” logs we post over to campfire to follow specific events, we also use “temporary” log outputs to track down bugs that we can’t replicate with specs and cucumber features but which show up in the running production system. These are usually caused by timing interactions or interfaces to external systems and can be fairly nefarious and hard to hunt down. Getting live posts from production to campfire has been invaluable.”
In fact we see this use case as one of the most common for our users at Logentries and we tend to see a lot of notifications being sent to services like Campfire, HipChat, PagerDuty, and Twist.io to name but a few.
Every day we see our users coming up with new innovative ways of consuming alerts, by integrating with more and more services via WebHooks. These include task automation tools e.g. Hubot, test automation APIs like Runscope and App Integration services like Zapier.
We even see integration with marketing automation tools and our own sales team have taken up the mantle and we now have notifications being sent to our internal ‘sales siren’ every time a new customer signs up … You can imagine how noisy the office has become given our global user base above… 🙂
We’d love to hear more cool use cases – so please feel free to get in touch and let us know! Follow us @Logentries on Twitter, or Tweet your own cool story.