Posted by : Deepak Vasudevan Friday, November 24, 2006

Resilent websites with Resilent Logging Infrastructure

Recently, I had an opportunity to review a small website operated by a reseller of his clients. He had some technical issues and wanted some assistance. He was also developing small-sized websites for regional clients like local chain of supermarkets, stores, pharmacies, mid-sized business houses in Chennai.

One of the most shocking thing that I learnt from them is that they just depend on IIS Logging and do not have a logging infrastructure. They just feel that it is a overkill and their application simply do not need the same. It is really a sad truth and I had to convince him the necessity of judicious logging for more than an hour and I could substantiate that the troubleshooting effort we had been taking along could have been expedited had they implemented logging from thier application. This would have also reduced the amount of downtime that we took the website too.

There are plenty of free logging frameworks available too. A few of them are log4j (for Java), log4net (for .NET) that has configurable channels to which information could be logged like Smtp, File, Database etc and also in different levels like DEBUG, INFO etc. And coming to the point of parsing a logfile, there are a lot of good powerful log parsers too. A few of them are:

  1. IIS Logs Lite Version 2.0
  2. Microsoft LogParser 2.0
Also ensure that I have used the term 'judicious logging'. Logging too much means the application is slowed down. There should be a balance in the information that is being logged, how long the logged information is maintained, how is the information parsed and when are the information expunged.

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