Introduction or Why Should I Bother?

Log management is often considered both a painful exercise and a dark art. Indeed, understanding good log management tends to be a slow and evolutionary process. In response to issues and problems, new SysAdmins are told: "Go look at the logs." A combination of cat, tail and grep (and often sed, awk or perl too) become their tools of choice to diagnose and identify problems in log and event data. They quickly become experts at command line and regular expression kung-fu: searching, parsing, stripping, manipulating and extracting data from a humble log event. It's a powerful and practical set of skills that strongly I recommend all SysAdmins learn.

Sadly, this solution does not scale. In most cases you have ...

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