Log File monitoring is business critical

We at NiCE have developed a free product for the Microsoft community, the NiCE Log File MP, a SCOM 2012 add-on, to supercharge the log file analytic capabilities for your Windows servers monitored by SCOM.

As we all know, business critical applications write health and performance information to log files and this data is often left unattended and simply archived. It is time to tap into the pool of information that is contained in the log files. The NiCE Log File MP is THE product to scan and analyze the information contained in your log files. It provides more than 100 custom wizards to the SCOM Authoring console to create rules and monitors with ease. Additionally, all parts of the NiCE Log File MP leverage native SCOM capabilities and provide a powerful tool that analyzes log content in full detail.

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NiCE Log File Management Pack users say

  • “I am very happy with the Log File Management Pack. This is a great add-on for SCOM”
    User in Netherlands
  • "Thanks for the great management pack"
    User in Australia
  • “We have implemented NiCE Log File MP in our production environment and it works great. This solution is really useful for us”
    User in Sweden
  • “The management pack is very helpful for us, as we are able to monitor some logs for specific entries without writing complicated scripts. Thanks for releasing it!”
    User in Czech Republic
  • "Functionality of the MP is much greater than I expected. Thanks for a GREAT JOB!"
    User in Russia
  • “I would like to say that I'm REALLY pleased with the NiCE Log File MP. It works great!”
    User in Denmark
  • “das Log File MP deckt unsere Anforderungen ab (The Log File MP covers our needs)”
    User in Germany
  • “Everything is working as designed. Was easy to set up and is working as expected”
    User in Romania

Monitor your Log Files

We are always striving to add value to System Center Operations Manager by adding features and functionalities that are missing in SCOM. Through extensive research and development, it became evident that there was a gap in SCOM when it came to log file monitoring.

A practical example of this gap – Imagine that you have some structured log files that you have to manage. The out-of-the-box SCOM solution provides few log file rules and monitors that allow you to monitor your log files…up to a point. This function could be enhanced, especially when it comes to managing complex log files.

ENTER THE NICE LOG FILE MP

This product picks up where out-of-box SCOM rules and monitors drops off. Let us look at the business imperative of monitoring your Log Files.

Why monitor your Log Files?

It is important to monitor your log files because, quite simply, you can’t afford not to. There is a wealth of critical information contained in log files and simply archiving it without the proper analysis or management could be detrimental to your business long-term. Unfortunately, more often than not, you as a System administrator, don’t have the option or possibility to choose log file names and locations in your bid to better manage your log files. This is a process that is simply set by your application.

As such, this application may roll log files on a daily basis or even on a service restart, resulting in complex log file names and directory structures. Moreover, the out-of-the-box log file module provided by SCOM only supports relative paths and no wild-cards in paths.

The NiCE Log File MP is a product that gives you the option to define log file names as absolute paths including the directory using a regex pattern with no restrictions.

System Center + NiCE Log File MP = Comprehensive Application monitoring

Although Microsoft included a number of useful features in their out-of-the-box SCOM offering to analyze text log files, it does come short in cases where files require pre-processing or log line correlation or some other use cases that are required to monitor business critical logs. Some examples follow below:

Example 1 - The NiCE Log File MP enables you to monitor manufacturing systems. It is clear that most event older manufacturing systems write all core information to logs. All of these logs are typically proprietary to the vendor. The NiCE Log File MP monitors these critical manufacturing systems – however, in some cases it may be required to create a custom pre-processing script.

Example 2 -The NiCE Log File MP enables you to monitor your application system. Say you have a Java log file or an Application log file – any type of logs in ASCII format are supported. This can be an extracted CSV file, text file, or dump file. The wizards that are included with the Log File MP allow you to easily create an alert rule or a unit monitor for monitoring.

SCOM 2012 – Log File monitoring - NiCE Log File MP

How does the NiCE Log File MP work?

Analyzing the loglines contained in a log file is the core functionality of the NiCE Log File MP – see a very ‘NiCE’ blog post SCOM 2012 - NiCE Log File Library MP Monitoring Robocopy Log File, which illustrates how the Log File MP works. The main use case for the Log File MP is to analyze individual log lines. Our solution offers a number of key features that do exactly that. Before any filter on the log line is applied, the line can be split or matched strings can be replaced in memory. The logic of replacing, matching and splitting log line content follows the “Regular Expression Language”.

The experience that we have amassed over the years has taught us that the use cases and requirements for the NiCE Log File MP are manifold. Interestingly, analyzing log files also includes looking for lines that do not exist.

Some systems write health information in log files in regular intervals. As a Systems administrator, you ideally want to receive an alert if the logline indicating the heartbeat information is missing. That could also mean that the application system is hanging and the log file is not updated. The NiCE Log File MP gives you the option to set an alert on missing log files.

Why the NiCE Log File MP is better

Go beyond simple log file reading - The NiCE Log File MP includes a powerful program execution interface that can run scripts and programs to create, extract, and modify logs from proprietary event and log file sources.

This agent-based program execution interface expands the usage of the NiCE Log File MP beyond just reading log files. This execution interface is part of a “Managed Module” to the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA), thus, it is truly agent based. It provides the best possible performance and no additional installation is required. As all processes run as sub-processes of the MMA, the SCOM security concept is fully applied using SCOM actions account and run as configuration.

Correlate your log files – With the NiCE Log File MP, it is possible to correlate your log files, for example, an ERP system writes information in the log about a job being dispatched. Per requirement, the dispatched job must be completed after a certain time. As such, you will need to look for the log line that contains the job ID and indicate the job completion.

As each logline typically contains a timestamp, the time interval between the two log entries can be measured. If the time span between the two loglines exceed a certain threshold, an alert should be triggered. The NiCE Log File MP is the perfect solution in this example. The “correlated” Log File MP Wizard can be used to easily create such “SCOM Alert” rules.

What can you do with our Log File MP?

The NiCE Log File MP allows you to perform a multitude of functions that are critical in your role as system, application or database administrator. Some key features include:

  • A powerful program execution interface to run scripts and programs
  • An integrated interface which is part of the Microsoft Monitoring Agent
  • A program that allows you to define log file names as absolute paths
  • A program that allows you to set an alert on missing log files
  • A set of custom authoring wizards which allow you to create;
  • Alert Rules
  • Performance Counters
  • Unit Monitors

The NiCE Log File MP is the quintessential solution for monitoring your log files. Try it today, it’s FREE!

To DOWNLOAD the Log File MP, Click the LOGIN tab above and register on the NiCE Portal. Select ‘General interest’ for Log File MP and the NiCE Solutions Team will give you access. The process is QUICK and EASY!

MVP Blog posts about the NiCE Log File MP

See some links to interesting blog posts from some well know MVPs who have used the NiCE Log file Management Pack and have real case studies of what you can do with the solutions

MVP - Marnix Wolf

NiCE Free Log File MP & Regex & PowerShell: Enabling SCOM 2 Count LOB Crashes

MVP – Stefan Roth

SCOM 2012 - NiCE Log File Library MP Monitoring Robocopy Log File

MVP – Tao Yang

Collecting ConfigMgr Logs To Microsoft Operation Management Suite – The NiCE way

MVP – Kevin Greene

SCOM – Free Log File Monitoring MP from NiCE

Log File MP overall benefits + System requirements

Some key benefits of the NiCE Log File MP include:

  • Set the log file directory using a regex pattern with no restrictions
  • Reduce complexity with easy-to-read and easy-to-access web-based reports
  • Customize behavior if a log file does not exist
  • Work smarter by correlating your log lines

The system requirements for our Log File MP are as follows:

  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 or later (SP1, R2)
  • .NET 3.5.1 Windows Server or later

Contact the NiCE Solutions Team today to evaluate the free NiCE Log File MP. Email solutions@nice.de for more information or click here to download the full Log File MP datasheet.

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