Logging is a natural part of coding. Who did not start with printing “Hello World” back to the console?
It’s not just your code that writes out log messages, every other piece of software does, from the operating system all the way up the stack. Tools to ship, aggregate and index logs have been around for a long time; it’s a mature market. Instana now integrates with a number of these tools.
AutoTrace™ provides automatic code observability for many language runtimes on various platforms. AutoTrace™ captures log messages of WARN or above, these messages are indexed and searchable, taking you straight to the traces containing the log message.
This capability covers many use cases, however, there are a couple of others that need to be addressed. Every program produces logs not just your own code, many of those programs are written in C/C++ and not easily automatically observable. Additionally when trying to debug a particularly niggly problem there is often additional useful information in log messages below WARN level.
This is where log aggregation solutions like: Splunk, ELK and Humio come in handy. All your logs in one place, fully indexed and searchable. Because fields from the log files are extracted and indexed it makes it easy to link directly from Instana to matching log entries keyed off fields such as: Docker container identifier, Kubernetes Pod identifier and host name.
The environment used for these screenshots is Kubernetes on GKE with Stan’s Robot Shop deployed along with Fluentd using the Elasticsearch shipper sending logs to Humio.
The Instana dashboard is showing the details for a Kubernetes Pod and because logging integration has been configured there is an additional dropdown for quick navigation to matching logs. For the screenshots two integrations have been configured, most users will only configure one.
The logging dashboard opens in a new tab on your browser with the search term prepopulated and the time range matching that of your Instana dashboard. In this example we see there are plenty of additional INFO messages that may be useful to identify why the code is not doing what we think it should.
Best of Breed
Instana is the best solution for monitoring modern containerised microservice applications. Rather than attempting to be a Jack of all trades, Instana continues to focus on the challenges presented by these highly dynamic and complex environments. Integrating with other best of breed solutions for log aggregation, both licensed and open source, gives the user the freedom to choose how to cover all use cases.
The first release of this integration is one way. A future release will add a simple way to link back into Instana from log aggregation dashboards to provide seamless interoperability.