Originally developed for Unix, Apache is now a cross-platform solution for hosting and developing web applications. Its international community of open-source contributors and security specialists makes it an affordable, dependable backbone for web services.
- The key to a successful Apache system is knowing how to find, manage, and react to the log data generated by Apache.
- Apache gathers only two distinct types of logs: access and error logs.
- Industry-leading log analysis and machine learning Apache partners can scrutinize the access and error logs even further, scouring them for micro-details.
Apache HTTP Server has more than 20 years of proven reliability in providing essential web services, but the advent of the Java interactive scripting language required more than basic HTTP functionality. Enter Apache Tomcat, a Java Server Page (JSP) and Java servlet server that can run alone or pair with existing Apache HTTP servers to add power. Apache Tomcat adds full JSP functionality to your web services. Apache Tomcat seamlessly processes incoming JSP and servlet requests in a designated container. It passes the ensuing data to the section of the web delivery pipeline with no disruption to the end-user experience.
Scalable, fault-tolerant data storage is a cornerstone of any modern network environment. Apache addresses this need with Cassandra, the durable and decentralized storage and management system that serves some of the world’s largest tech companies. Apache Cassandra relies on a powerful network of data centers strategically positioned worldwide to provide unsurpassed fault tolerance. For instance, nodes impacted by power outages or natural disasters are automatically replaced from partner sites, resulting in zero downtime. This unparalleled reliability has made Cassandra, a NoSQL database, the go-to data storage solution for major companies like eBay, GoDaddy, and Netflix. It hosts over 2500 nodes and serves more than a trillion daily requests. Apache Cassandra handles data storage and management for some of the biggest tech companies in the world.
With more than two decades of proven success, it’s natural that a host of tools to augment Apache’s capabilities sprung up around the software. As with almost any task, using the right tools in Apache HTTP make jobs easier and faster. Here’s an incomplete look at some of the more popular—and powerful—options for expanding Apache.
- Apache Cloudstack
Cloudstack is a turnkey, all-in-one solution for deploying and managing large virtual networks in the cloud. Cloudstack includes a native (and open-source) API, a sharp user interface, and supports the most popular hypervisors, including VMware and Hyper-V. GUI, command line, or web-based administrator interfaces give you pinpoint control over your cloud or hybrid Apache environment.
- Apache Axis 2
With a super fast runtime engine that can operate independently or as a service on Apache Tomcat, Apache Axis 2 is a web creation and management toolkit that works with the most popular plugins.
- Apache Synapse
Easily apply and manage load balancing, switching, protocol routing, and other advanced network tasks with Apache Synapse. Install Synapse as its unique services gateway or run it as a proxy service on Apache HTTP to support staggering amounts of concurrent clients with minimal overhead.
- Apache Thrift
Developed by FaceBook, Apache Thrift operates within the remote procedure call (RPC) framework to speed the deployment of applications across platforms. Essentially Thrift wraps a complete software stack and a code generation into a package that lets your original code create working replicas of itself for other platforms, eliminating the need to code versions for every common language tediously.
Want to find a specific Apache tool? Check out the complete list of in-production and under-development open-source software projects for and in conjunction with Apache HTTP.
The key to a successful Apache system is knowing how to find, manage, and react to the log data generated by Apache. The enormous number of interactions occurring each second in your Apache environment creates a corresponding flood of data. One string of it can be the key to determining where and how your network is underperforming.
The first step to mastering logging is enabling the appropriate modules in Apache. These include:
- Mod_log_config lets you define the settings and storage location for your logs.
- Mod_log_forensic records system states immediately before and after each request, so narrowing down suspicious activity becomes much easier.
- Mod_logio charts all in and out traffic in bytes.
Through advanced Apache logging analytics, administrators can glean a wealth of information. Apache gathers only two distinct types of logs: Apache Access and Error Logs.
These logs denote critical information about who is accessing your environment, where they are going, and what they’re attempting to do while visiting. These logs allow admins to gather page views and visits, successful and failed access attempts, visiting IP addresses, and more.
If access logs record who went where then error logs capture what went wrong. Details include configuration problems, dropped connections, document failures, 400 errors, and other mishaps.
Between the two, access and error logs hold all the information you need to troubleshoot and fine-tune your network. Apache’s ubiquity has naturally inspired an array of third-party log analysis tools, but the best ones will key in on five focus areas for Apache activity:
- Bytes delivered
- HTTP errors
- Page hits
- Response time
- Web server
Industry-leading log analysis and machine learning Apache partners can scrutinize the access and error logs even further, scouring them for micro details like:
- 404 and 500 errors
- IP address
- Page view behaviors
- User names
- User reports by geography
The most important power an Apache log analysis tool should unlock is visualization. The structure and volume of raw data contained in Apache logs can hide the needle you seek in a haystack of codes and numbers, even though it records only two essential activities access and error. Native Apache logs contain the needed data, but finding it can be tricky. Here’s an example of how to count visitors.
Through interactive visualization, the right log analytics tools transform that into clear, easy-to-understand graphs and charts showing what’s happening in your environment.
Check out these additional links to learn more about advanced logging, reacting to important metrics like traffic analysis, and isolating and responding to critical errors in Apache.
Analyzing Apache access and error logs can tell you precisely what went wrong in your web server infrastructure. The ability to do this in real-time vastly reduces the mean time to resolution for server configuration and web application issues.
The value of a centralized Apache log analytics solution compounds when applied to a multi-server environment. Collecting logs from dozens of servers can be a burden, and extracting useful information often requires much technical skill.
The result for many companies is that they aren’t data mining their Apache logs.
A dedicated Apache log analyzer solves this problem by providing a central location for managing logs and built-in monitoring and troubleshooting tools. Instead of relying on custom scripts, it automatically collects logs from all your servers. And, instead of manually searching the raw text of those logs with grep, you can quickly extract relevant log messages with an intuitive query language.
Sumo Logic is designed to collect both access logs and error logs from all of your Apache servers. This makes it possible to analyze your entire Apache infrastructure from a single interface, but it also means you must understand how to isolate individual servers.
The _sourceHost and _source Category fields are metadata Sumo Logic attaches to each log message as it’s collected. The former lets you identify individual Apache servers, while the latter lets you inspect access logs independently of error logs. You can customize the values for both fields while configuring your sources.
If you’re running a small website, it lets you view either development errors or production errors in isolation. For larger organizations, it lets you track the performance of load-balancing clusters or diagnose outages in a high-availability cluster.
The _sourceHost field lets you isolate logs from individual servers and enables metric comparisons across servers.
Sumo Logic also includes built-in geolocation support, which can provide unique insights in a multi-server environment. For example, if you have a production server dedicated to East coast users and another one for West coast users, you can get immediate feedback about whether their routing is configured correctly.
The lookup operator converts the client IP address to latitude and longitude coordinates, and the resulting latitude and longitude fields automatically enable Sumo Logic’s map visualization. This generates an interactive map showing visitor locations for the specified _sourceHost.
The number of separate components required to manually extract this kind of information from Apache access logs can be overwhelming. Sumo Logic makes it possible to do all these things without writing a single line of code. Learn more about Apache integrations with Sumo Logic.
If you are doing business on the web, you’re doing it on or near Apache web services. One of the oldest and largest platforms in the history of the web, Apache still provides powerful, open-source solutions to modern web hosting challenges. The keys to success in Apache are understanding what it can do, expanding its power by adding additional Apache resources, and transforming raw logging data into information you can see and use. Learn how Sumo Logic provides deep visibility into the operations of your Apache web servers.
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