Any business running networking devices, microservices, and multiple servers generate a massive number of logs that can be challenging to manage. Such businesses require a centralized log management system to gain insights, resolve production issues, and streamline DevOps and IT teams. Most logging solutions provide a collection of agents coupled with frameworks, log types, and stacks. These solutions help to abstract common issues due to spike in log volumes, dropping log lines, and more.
However, logging solutions can be differentiated based on features such as real-time and accurate live tail views, speed to find specific log events, log searching and filtering capabilities, custom dashboards for centralized information, and intuitive user experience. Evaluation of these features helps organizations to choose a log management solution to meet their business requirements, including data retention and scalability. Outlined below is the comparative feature analysis of two advanced logging management solutions, Loggly® and Splunk.
SolarWinds® Loggly is a cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) solution for log management practices. This modern, log analysis, and monitoring tool offers fast, intuitive search capabilities and complex data visualizations for proactive monitoring. Loggly automatically collects logs from various applications, network devices, and centralizes them on a single interface. It segregates logs based on specific information such as data, event name, the severity of the issue, and source. This helps users save time, understand application events better, and resolve errors in real time. Loggly includes advanced logging capabilities such as live tail viewing, configuration metrics, interactive dashboards, charts library, customized reports, role-based access control, and common trace ID. It also provides flexible and scalable storage options.
Splunk is a modern log management and monitoring solution compatible with mobile and augmented reality. It includes cloud and enterprise-grade features. It also provides a comprehensive view of and real-time insights into the data collected by systems, devices, and interactions across the entire organization. The tool can understand machine data, including information from web servers, networks, and security devices. Besides covering log management, Splunk includes searching, diagnosing, reporting, and indexing features. It has a flexible user interface, which makes data search and analysis more intuitive. It identifies anomalies and patterns quickly with its drilling algorithms, and its user-friendly dashboards are divided into specific and relevant sections to provide useful information at a glance.
Loggly vs. Splunk
Both Loggly and Splunk offer robust and comprehensive features with advanced capabilities such as live tailing, role-based access control, and shareable reports. However, they can be differentiated based on certain features. Besides offering application intelligence, Loggly offers features such as Dynamic Field Explorer™, common trace ID, and streamlined tracking with Atlassian Jira Software and GitHub. Splunk offers centralized visibility across cloud, hybrid, and on-premises environments. Outlined below is a feature analysis of both the tools.
Log Search Speed
Log search speed is crucial as it can directly impact the business revenue and customer experience. Ideally, users need their search results within seconds. Loggly includes several custom-built features to enhance its search results. They parse the data for specific fields before indexing, which makes the log search faster. One of the reasons for its high search speed is its integration with the latest search engine technology ElasticSearch.
Splunk is fast when searching for short time windows. However, it is slower (according to the 2019 Speed Test) when performing a log search for a longer time, verbose field data, trends over time, and repeating recent searches. Splunk was founded in 2003 and uses its own search engine technology known as Splunk’s Search Processing Language.
Tracing helps teams identify application-defined events using logs. Loggly uses a common trace ID to isolate logs for a specific event, request, or transaction and provide a common view of events and impacted systems. The common trace ID helps you view specific events and identify bottlenecks and performance issues. Splunk uses distributed tracing, a method to monitor applications built using microservice architecture. It can trace events, failures, and performance issues.
Bird’s-Eye View of Logs
A bird’s-eye view of logs helps you navigate through log categories and various fields to quickly dig into the details. It provides a map-like view of real-time events and application performance issues. Loggly, with its Dynamic Field Explorer, generates a view of logs based on their inherent structures and customized views. It makes troubleshooting easier as the structured summary of parsed logs, field names, and individual values are visible. The Dynamic Field Explorer keeps updating to help ensure teams can view relevant and real-time insights into log events. Splunk provides a monitoring console to view log index and log volume status. It provides a health check of multi-instance Splunk deployments with its myriad of dashboards.
Every organization has different logging requirements, varying from team to team and use case to use case. Still, some common key factors such as log search, data aggregation, retention period, scalability, advanced analytics, and cost need to be considered to make an informed decision.
Both the log management tools highlighted above offer robust log management features; however, they differ in various aspects. Loggly is an easy and simple centralized log management tool. This Splunk alternative offers basic and additional features such as S3 backup, live logging, Heroku add-on, variable custom volume, GitHub integration, custom retention periods, JIRA software integration, and federated identity management. It provides all-inclusive log monitoring, analysis, and reporting for enterprises. Both tools offer free trial versions to meet organizations’ specific logging requirements.
*As of June 2020