Who Is Minding Your Logs?
I have always said that you can tell who the Nonstop Users are in the audience by the questions they ask, such as:
Is this scalable?
What is the performance?
How do I monitor it?
The last question highlights the importance that NonStop system managers place on providing responsive support for their end users. That’s why system performance monitoring tools like Prognosis, MOMI and others are very popular at Nonstop installations. On the other hand, monitoring logs on the NonStop doesn’t get a lot of attention beyond the use of EMS or VHS. Yet it is an important topic that is worth a closer look. How would you answer the questions below?
When do you look at your logs?
Do you know where your logs are?
When I speak of logs, most users think of system logs like VHS and EMS logs. Think again. Realistically, on a typical system, there are many other logs, such as:
Application logs – entries written out by COBOL, TAL, C, C++ and other applications.
OSS logs – Are your running iTP Web server, Java, NonStop SOAP, etc? There are lots of good information in the OSS logs.
Subsystem logs – Some subsystems have their own logs.
3rd-party application logs – If you are running a 3rd-party application, e.g. Websphere MQ, chances are it has its own logs
So if you don’t know where your logs are, trying to hunt them down to resolve a problem can be time-consuming and detrimental to your service level agreement (SLA) with your end-users.
Are you overloading your logs?
“What’s in your wallet?”
Operator: “I just saw this message in the log. What should I do with it?” Answer: “Oh, don’t worry about it. It’s a debugging statement.” Operator: “What about that one?” Answer: “You can ignore that one, too.”
The result is a misinterpretation: no need to look at log messages unless someone reports a problem.
It can help you improve the quality of your end-user service.
Know your logsKnow what is in them and where they are. There’s usually a lot of useful information in those logs besides error messages.
Have a log monitoring strategyTake control and plan how you want to use the log information.
Automate as much as possibleHave a procedure in place and automate it whenever possible.
Next Topic: Know your OSS logs
As more users are starting to use OSS in one form or another, such as iTP Web Server, Java or SQL/MX, it becomes more important to pay attention to some of the logs that reside in the OSS space. In my next article, I will focus on these OSS logs.
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TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java. Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.