Zebrium ML Brings Value to Logging

 

Basemap_Relies_on_Zebrium

 

Rob Ward from BaseMap - a happy Zebrium customer

“Zebrium machine learning works really well with our custom logs and overall the solution has been very good. The support I get has been phenomenal as is Zebrium’s willingness to jump on an issue quickly. Zebrium’s Grafana integration is really cool too.”
Rob Ward – Senior DevOps Engineer @ BaseMap Inc

Challenge

BaseMap delivers a category leading mapping app for outdoors enthusiasts and has a very fast-growing customer base. They use a modern app stack built around Android, iOS and Web clients with a backend API running on Amazon ECS. Their previous logging solution required a lot of manual effort building and maintaining custom parsing rules, did not automatically discover problems and had a pricing plan that “was like the cell phone plans from the 90s, terrible”.

Solution

BaseMap uses Zebrium for all its logging across production, pre-production and staging. They take advantage of Zebrium’s Machine Learning for auto-parsing their logs and also for catching critical incidents and root cause. They also make widespread use of all the core Zebrium capabilities such as regex searching, filtering and Grafana dashboarding.

Results

  • BaseMap now has the ability to catch rare incidents without having to build manual alert rules
  • BaseMap relies on a real-time heatmap dashboard with drill-down of performance hotspots through Zebrium’s integration with Grafana.
  • Zebrium’s elegant log management functionality allows BaseMap to get the most out of their valuable logs with easy filtering, searching and more
  • Zebrium offered a much more flexible and cost-effective pricing scheme

About BaseMap

BaseMap is the industry leading mobile and desktop mapping application providing hunters and outdoorsmen the tools and knowledge they need to plan, navigate, and share their outdoor adventures. BaseMap’s goal is to help people be more successful outdoors with easy to use, cutting-edge technology like 3D maps, Smart Markers, unlimited offline mapping, live location sharing and much more. Learn more about BaseMap and download the app at www.basemap.com.

Before Zebrium - Parsing was a Nightmare

Rob Ward is a seasoned DevOps practitioner who has worked at companies such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. He helped BaseMap implement its first commercial logging solution but found the process extremely frustrating.

“We have custom logs. When I got started with our previous logging tool a few years ago, I needed to adapt our log formats to suit the requirements of that tool. This was a frustrating and lengthy process. We had to add a unique character between all log fields and then manually define custom parsing rules. But we hit all kinds of problems, for example blank fields were not always handled correctly and multi-line events were a problem. To make matters worse I had to build separate parsing rules for each of our prod, pre-prod and staging environments and then make sure everything worked as we changed things.”, related Rob Ward, Senior DevOps Engineer.

Zebrium A new kind of Solution

“I selected Zebrium because I loved the AI aspect of Zebrium where it goes through the logs and picks out potential problems. Zebrium also had a much simpler and fairer pricing policy.”

Zebrium’s machine learning parsing takes care of what was previously a painstaking and manual task.

“Zebrium machine learning works really well with our custom logs and overall the solution has been very good. I was expecting issues during implementation and the Zebrium team was always willing to jump on a Zoom call or get on Slack and whenever I asked something, I got a quick answer.”

And the AI works!

“Zebrium is definitely catching and has caught real issues. For example, layer rendering times are critical to our app. We have built in timeouts that are a good indicator if there is a widespread incident. Zebrium has already detected this automatically.”

Grafana Integration for Real-time Dashboarding

Zebrium’s integration with Grafana provides BaseMap with an easy and elegant way of creating dashboards with drill-down. Since Zebrium automatically parses and extracts metrics and variables in log events, BaseMap now relies on a heatmap of response time distribution which is generated in real-time from metrics embedded in logged events.

Real time Grafana heatmap of response times

“I always need to watch response times and so I set up a Grafana dashboard for this. The dashboard highlights response time hotspots. We had an issue where files on some instances were filling up and causing the app to crash and the logic of ECS is to launch the app again and again if it fails. With this dashboard I could easily see this.”

 Zebrium Handles the Core Logging Really Well too

“We have a lot of valuable stuff in the logs and I look at logs a lot. I love the Zebrium filtering capability where I can have a few searches and then easily turn them on or off by clicking a filter button. Zebrium also has a really cool feature - I can click on any log line and it will do a Google or a Stack Overflow search for me. This has helped with a few obscure stack dumps I’ve hit.”

“Overall I’m really impressed with the product. The support I get has been phenomenal as is Zebrium’s willingness to jump on an issue quickly. I can't afford to have logs be ineffective for us and Zebrium doesn’t let us down.”