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Logs as Data, Logs as SMS: Logentries & Twillio Combined

More and more frequently I’m seeing cool use cases of Log data.  Using ‘logs as data’ is the concept of writing semi-structured data to your logs which can then in turn be consumed by other services that can put the data to good use e.g. creating dashbaords, autoscaling, anomaly detection etc. Check out the recent Heroku article on this to see a whole list of tools and apps that are helping to drive this movement.

Some great tools I’ve come across lately that are using logs as data include AdeptScale(autoscaling on Heroku based on log data), Heroku’s log2viz (their opensource performance dashboard which gets all its data from the heroku log stream) and most recently ‘Mon’ byOisin Hurley at Converser. Mon muxes LogEntries alert webhook calls into a persistent history and then uses Twilio to demux the alerts as SMS messages.

Mon is a tiny Sinatra app that will receive a WebHook invocation from a Logentries alert and send an SMS via Twilio to a configured number, with the alert name – you’d have to say this is a pretty cool service if you are on the move and would like to know if your system is on fire or not….

According to the Oisin: “I wrote this because SMS access is more universal than reasonably priced data access when you are travelling, and servers go pop with no consideration as to your location at all.” I’d have to agree, servers tend not to care if you are in the office or not, and have a sneaky habit of ‘going pop’ when you have just arrived at the family holiday destination/conference/wedding/{insert  your own real life example here}

What most impressed me about this service was the fact that Oisin managed to put the whole thing together in less than 30 mins…. showing the true value of Logs as Data combined with some cool third party services like Logentries, Twillio and Heroku … no need to manage your servers, deploy databases etc. Simply log your data, plug in some great services to consume/analyse/action events on your logs … and volia… you’ve got a custom SMS monitoring solution for client infrastructure!

To steal a quote from Oisin himself:

“Much of software is now construction rather than creation”

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