At Zebrium, we have a saying: “Structure First”. We talk a lot about structuring because it allows us to do amazing things with log data. But most people don’t know what we mean when we say the word “structure”, or why it allows for amazing things like anomaly detection. This is a gentle and intuitive introduction to “structure” as we mean it.
Software log messages are potential goldmines of information, but their lack of explicit structure makes them difficult to programmatically analyze. Tasks as common as accessing (or creating an alert on) a metric in a log message require carefully crafted regexes that can easily capture the wrong data by accident (or break silently because of changing log formats across software versions). But there’s an even bigger prize buried within logs – the possibility of using event patterns to learn what’s normal and what’s anomalous.
Why understand log structure at all?