The term “log server” for many people probably sounds quite enigmatic. To fully understand what this term means, you first need to know the meaning of the word “log” itself.
Every service, part of an e-commerce application, such as a store application, particular modules, databases, web server, mail server, or integrations – generates logs. They are created automatically, chronologically and independently of the user. They are saved in text files describing the event.
Individual logs may also have different degrees of detail. A single entry may include: information about the date and time of the event, its type, the name and IP address of the user, download data, and a text description of the event.
The main use of logs is an analysis of the way information systems work. They allow to check server’s performance, detect system malfunctions, as well as create statistics and detect security breaches.
A modern e-commerce system consists of multiple distributed services and components physically located on different servers. This allows scaling of the system, but it has consequences – the logs of the operations are also scattered across multiple servers. Analysis of one problem is therefore extremely time-consuming. The log server cumulates all events in one place with full-text, advanced search engine and analysis tools.
Thanks to this solution, there is one machine for each system that transfers logs from all servers and provides a unified interface for their viewing. This facilitates the monitoring of the system’s condition. When it is necessary to check or analyze the operation mode of the system, both searching, comparing and graphing takes seconds because the logs are indexed. In the absence of log server, these actions can take several hours. That is why the log server is part of a modern e-commerce server infrastructure.