Friday, June 10, 2011

A very good example of a Cloud Computing product from Dublin's JLizard

Logentries is an interesting product from Dublin start up JLizard. This product is a brilliant example of SaaS. Users run software hosted in the cloud; they don’t worry about complex set up; they use the software via a thin client; they pay only for what they agree to use. Now, since JLizard have a Dublin connection (it is a spin out company from the Performance Engineering Lab at UCD) we gotta fill you in!

Help me understand my logs?

We all know log files can get verbose very quickly making it difficult to spot patterns and identify what’s important. The Logentries product solves this problem by allowing you define tags for your logfile to identify parts (for example the exceptions). It also allows you to generate a pictorial view of your logfile which highlight your tags. Not only is this a very good way to provide a summary of a logfile, it makes it much easier to spot patterns.

In addition the logentries product allows searching and filtering to make it easier to identify the important parts of the logfile quickly. It also makes it easy to check on-line resources. For example, let’s say you get a DB2 exception with a DB2 error code. Just highlight it, and immediately you can check what Google and Google code can tell you about that obscure error code. All clever stuff. The UI is also very user friendly. A demo is available here.

So what’s the relevance of the Cloud to all this?

Where Logentries gets really interesting is that it is architected in a Cloud as a Saas. So what difference does this make to a tool that can make an ugly logfile look pretty? Well quite a lot really.

Suppose you have customers in disparate places all running your software and generating logfiles on their systems. When problems inevitably happen, you will need to see the logs. This requires co-ordination and some ftp’ing which all mean time. Logentries solves this problem. It provides instant access by using an agent which is deployed in the system listening to what is being logged. Effectively, the agent is a like a smart log4J appender - listening to what is being logged but unobservable to the system which does the logging. The logged information is sent to the Cloud securely in real-time. This means you can view it instantly.

But if my customers are already in the cloud (or I can access their VPN) what difference does this all make?

The point here is that the customer does not have to move to the cloud. Many organisations are reticent about moving their architectures to public cloud or many just don’t have the need. Virtualization suffices. The Logentries agent means the load balancer, the AppServer, byte code and the database data stay where they are because it handles the communication – securely. All that ends up in the cloud is the logfile.

Any more?

Of course. The Logentries product is a very good example of the usefulness of the elasticity provided by a Cloud architecture. If more logs are generated than you anticipated and you need more disk space and upload bandwidth, it’s no problem because the Cloud means if you need more resources you can get them – quickly.

Don’t forget it’s a SaaS!

Logentries is a brilliant example of a SaaS. You pay to use the software, it resides in the cloud, set up and ready to go. You only pay for what you use. It is a brilliant example of the type of products we can expect as the computer industry moves to generation Cloud.







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