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Here’s Why You Should Get Started With Open Source Log Analytics & Monitoring Today!
Telemetry data is vital for understanding how an IT environment is performing. By gathering this data and monitoring it closely, administrators can identify issues and potential problems before they cause major disruptions.
Monitoring is the first and most critical method for identifying security and performance issues on a network. It helps ensure that things are running efficiently and identifies potential security problems such as cryptominers consuming all the CPU resources or a denial-of-service attack on the network.
There are several open-source tools available for collecting and monitoring telemetry data. These tools can gather data from various sources, including server logs, application performance monitors, and network traffic monitors. Data can be analyzed to find trends and patterns after it has been gathered. This information can then be used to improve the overall performance of the IT environment.
Let’s take a look at a guide to open source monitoring tools, where we’ll introduce you to the monitoring world and show you how to get started with 5 popular tools.
The Benefits of Open Source Monitoring
Open-source monitoring provides many benefits for users. Organizations can save money and time while getting the needed features and functionality. In addition, open source monitoring tools are often more flexible and customizable than their commercial counterparts, making them better suited to meet an organization's specific needs.
One of the biggest benefits of using open source monitoring tools is that they are usually free. This can save organizations a considerable amount of money, especially if they already use other open-source software applications.
Additionally, many open source applications come with a wide range of features and plugins that can be used to customize the application further to meet an organization’s specific needs.
Another big benefit of using open source monitoring solutions is that they tend to be more flexible than commercial options. This can give organizations more control over the monitoring tool, giving them a better understanding of how it works and how you can use it to your advantage.
Time-series data is data collected regularly at certain times. The data is shown with a time stamp that indicates when exactly it was collected. These intervals are usually set by the user or automatically depending on the tool used. Using time-series data allows users to analyze trends in user behavior or find correlations in the network logs that can help in multiple ways. Most of the tools mentioned below use time-series data to help users better understand what is going on on the network.
Grafana is an open-source data visualization tool that can be used to monitor a variety of data sources. It is a popular tool for developers and DevOps professionals, as it can create custom dashboards and alerts. Grafana is easy to use and has a wide range of plugins that allow you to extend its functionality.
It allows you to visualize and analyze data from multiple data sources, including InfluxDB, Prometheus, ElasticSearch, and many others. You can use Grafana to create dashboards that monitor everything from CPU usage to network traffic. If you are looking for a tool to help you monitor your data, Grafana is a great option. It is simple to use and has a wide range of features that can be extended with plugins.
Grafana can be deployed on the cloud, or on premises for anyone that does not want their data streamed over to the cloud.
Graphana’s dashboard offers a wide range of visualization selections, including geo maps, heat maps, histograms, and more. The dashboard also contains a variety of different individual panels with different functionalities.
It can be used to query, visualize, set up alerts, and easily understand the data presented with the help of metrics. Once alerts are set up, if the scenario occurs then Grafana can send alerts through Slack or any other communication platform preferred.
As previously mentioned, Grafana supports many databases, approximately 12, and many more can be used with specific plugins.
Moreover, Grafana can be used with Graphite, another great tool that we will be discussing later. Grafana has built in support for Graphite, and the use of both tools together allow the user to get customized data results by adding expressions such as add, filter, avg, max, min functions and so on.
With Prometheus, you can collect metrics from your systems and applications and then visualize and query that data to help you troubleshoot issues.
Prometheus is a great option for open-source monitoring because it is easy to set up and use. Plus, it has many integrations with other tools and services. And if you need more features than what Prometheus offers, there are many forks and derivatives of Prometheus that you can choose from.
To start with Prometheus, you must install the software on your servers. Then, start collecting metrics from your systems and applications. Finally, use the PromQL query language to query your data and generate graphs and dashboards.
Some of the main features of Prometheus include multidimensional data modeling which is done using time-series data. It uses PromQL which is flexible and can leverage the multidimensional data. Moreover, it has no reliance on distributed storage, uses a pull model meaning it actively ‘pulls’ data over http, pushes time-series data, monitors target discovery, and has multiple visualization options to select from. Once alert conditions are established, Prometheus can send notifications through email, Slack, or other external systems.
Some of the monitoring Prometheus can do includes monitoring of service metrics, host metrics, website uptime and up status, and cronjobs. Monitoring service metrics allows Prometheus to scrape data from HTTP servers that have published files on HTTP endpoints that run 24/7. The operating system can also be monitored, resulting in information on server’s hard disk storage or if the server is constantly operating at 100%, and so on. While Prometheus does not traditionally monitor website status, it can be done using a blackbox exporter. Configuring the Prometheus.yml file to the specific endpoint on a target URL allows the user to receive information on response time. Prometheus is also used to monitor cron jobs and check if they are running at the specified intervals. It can push the last successful job and compare current times to it, generating an alert if the time exceeds the defined threshold.
Additionally, such as the case with Grafana and Graphite, Prometheus and Grafana can also be combined for a great data visualization setup. As it has a preferred visualization dashboard and features, Graphana’s dashboard is used along with Prometheus’s back end. Therefore, once queries are run from the Grafana dashboard, it fetches data from Prometheus.
Graphite is a popular open-source monitoring tool that can track the performance of your applications and infrastructure. It is easy to set up and use and provides a wealth of features and plugins to make it even more powerful.
Graphite is highly scalable and can be easily integrated with other tools and systems. You can use it to track the performance of your applications and infrastructure, making it a valuable addition to your toolkit.
Graphite metrics are extremely easy to push. This can be done using scripts, applications, or through the command line. Using the command line to push metrics is simple and requires three values, which are a metric name, a numeric value, and an epoch timestamp. The resulting command will look something like ‘echo “ex.bar 41 `date +%s`” | nc graphite-server.example.com 2003’ where 2003 is the selected port.
Graphite is also great as it automatically refreshes after every action, meaning feedback is instantaneous. Moreover, it is a great tool to use when the data is monitored by more than just a single person. Graph URLs can just be copied and shared. If a person receives the URL and then adds new things or makes some changes to the graph, they can just send back the new URL, and it will contain all the changes.
However, probably the most convincing aspect of Graphite is the extensive library available for statistical and transformative functions. As of the latest version, there are more than 100 available functions.
Fluentd is an open-source data collector for the unified logging layer. It was originally developed by Treasure Data, Inc. (now Fluree PBC) and is now a CNCF project. Fluentd enables you to integrate data gathering and consumption for improved data utilization and comprehension.
Fluentd uses a simple configuration file specifying input and output sources and sinks. Inputs can be files, system logs, HTTP endpoints, etc. Outputs can be files, databases or message queues. Fluentd also has plugins for various data sources and outputs; the Fluentd community maintains these.
Fluentd joins all aspects of processing log data. It can collect, filter, buffer, and output logs across multiple sources and destinations. Moreover, it has 500+ available plugins that are contributed by the community, allowing more customization and better use of logs. Fluentd also uses minimal resources and has built-in reliability by supporting memory and file-based buffering to prevent inter-node data loss.
If you're looking for a powerful and open-source monitoring solution, look no further than ELK. It comprises three main components: ElasticSearch, Logstash, and Kibana.
- ElasticSearch is a flexible and powerful search engine that can index and search data from any source.
- Kibana is a visualization tool that can be used to create dashboards and visualizations to help you make sense of your data. What is Kibana?
ELK is a great choice for open-source monitoring solutions because it is very flexible and scalable. It can be used to monitor anything from small systems to large distributed systems. It is also simple to set up and use.
ELK offers a variety of visualization options which include charts such as area charts, heat maps, horizontal bar charts, line charts, pie charts, and vertical bar charts, it also has data options such as tables, gauges, goals, and metrics, maps such as coordinate and region maps, time series such as timelion and visual builder, and more. These options allow users to choose the data shown and how it is shown which is very helpful in understanding what is contained in the logs.
How To Choose the Right Open-Source Monitoring Tool for Your Needs
If you're looking for an open-source monitoring tool, consider a few things before making your choice. First, decide what type of monitoring you need. There are four main types of monitoring:
- System Performance: This type of monitoring tracks system resources like CPU and memory usage.
- Application Performance: This type of monitoring tracks how well your applications are running. This can include response time, error rates, and throughput.
- Network Performance: This type of monitoring tracks network resources like bandwidth and latency.
- Security: This type of monitoring looks for security threats and vulnerabilities.
Despite these fantastic open-source tools, there are still challenges with them. But the amazing benefits far outweigh the challenges. Open-source monitoring provides a cost-effective way to start monitoring today and achieve better visibility into your system's performance. The tools outlined in this post can be a perfect starting point. Get started with one of the above tools and pace yourself accordingly.