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Custom Reports for Monitoring & Logs Apps

Sematext Cloud comes with predefined dashboards for every Monitoring App. A huge time saver, because you don’t need to spend hours creating your monitoring or logging dashboards. However, the predefined reports might not be optimal for your particular observability needs. Especially for Logs Apps, you might find that Sematext’s native reports are very handy as you won’t need to switch to Kibana to have a quick look at your report. All reports can be scheduled and delivered via e-mail (click to email icon in the report actions bar). We recently introduced several features that let you customize and extend Sematext App reports:
  • Modify the existing App reports e.g. by moving charts via drag & drop or remove a chart via the top-left menu in the chart.
  • Add or remove widgets in existing reports
  • Add or change the displayed filters
  • Add a new report page with your favorite metrics charts and filters
  • Clone a report
  • Organize reports in “folders” by adding groups for reports
  • Change the order of groups and reports in the left sidebar using the handle on the left side of each group or report in the left sidebar

Screen Shot 2018 11 02 at 17.39.52

Note: All changes to App reports are visible to all App users with access to that App after hitting the “save” button. Don’t be afraid of playing around – you can always reset the App to the original state using the “Reset all reports” menu item, next to the App name in the left navigation bar.

Custom Reports

All widgets, supported in Dashboards, are available in every App-specific report too. To get started with Dashboard functionality check out the Creating Dashboards in Sematext Cloud video.

ClickHouse Monitoring released

Yandex ClickHouse is an open source column-oriented database management system capable of real-time generation of analytical data reports using SQL queries. ClickHouse allows you to not only lower your TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) but also allows you to benefit from unmatched performance and scalability. With the release of the new Sematext Monitoring Agent, you can now monitor ClickHouse DB clusters. The setup, tuning and operations of ClickHouse require deep insights into the performance metrics such as locks, replication status, merge operations, cache usage and many more… The new ClickHouse integration supports over 70 different ClickHouse metrics for system, queries, merge tree, replication, replicas, mark cache, R/W buffers, dictionaries, locks, distributed engine and Zookeeper errors & wait times. Screen Shot 2018 10 15 at 12.45.38

ClickHouse key metrics in Sematext Cloud How to use it

To monitor ClickHouse create a ClickHouse App in Sematext Cloud and install the Sematext Agent according to the setup instructions. Like magic, in less than a minute you will receive all ClickHouse metrics in your ClickHouse monitoring App.
Because ClickHouse heavily relies on ZooKeeper we recommend setting up ZooKeeper monitoring and log collection for related logs. By doing this you can benefit from combined dashboards thus having your favorite ZooKeeper and ClickHouse metrics together with related logs for faster troubleshooting. Save time, gain visibility: the benefits are endless.

New Sematext Monitoring Agent released

You asked, we listened. The new Sematext Monitoring Agent includes many features that will make your infrastructure and application monitoring a whole lot easier.

The recently opened-sourced Sematext Monitoring Agent is fully pluggable, making it possible for you to collect metrics from a number of additional sources. The new agent supports the latest Java versions and has updates for many integrations such as Apache Kafka, introduces support for ClickHouse monitoring, etc. In addition, we changed how the agent talks to Sematext. Instead of using a custom protocol, we’ve adopted the popular Influx Line Protocol for sending metrics and all their metadata via HTTPS. The old proprietary format will continue to work for a while to ensure backward compatibility with older agent versions.

You can find all details about the release in Open-sourcing Sematext Monitoring Agent.

If you are an existing Sematext Cloud user, we encourage you to log in and update your agent to start benefiting from the lower agent footprint and flexible configuration options.

The agent update is super simple: just use your package manager to update the spm-client package.

Upgrade to Elasticsearch and Kibana 6.4

We’re excited to announce that Sematext Logs has upgraded to Elasticsearch 6.4 and along with it to the shiny, new Kibana 6.4! All your visualizations and dashboards have been migrated to the latest Kibana 6.4 version for you, so you don’t have to do anything. Kibana 6.x comes with a number of improvements including:
  • New colors to improve accessibility
  • Vega interactive visualizations
  • Ability to apply Vega filters to dashboard context
  • Visualization of other and missing terms buckets
  • Lab visualizations
  • Improved workflow for inspecting data
  • Dashboard input controls
  • And more!
You can find the Kibana button on the menu […] next to the App Switcher in the logs view.
Start Kibana 6.4 in Sematext Cloud and explore new features and visualizations. Enjoy!

New Container View in infrastructure monitoring

The new Containers view provides you with enhanced visibility into all your containers and their hosts, drawing your attention to the ones that need it the most.

The main view is very much like “top for containers” – applied across all of your containers and their hosts. You can sort containers by memory or CPU usage to find the hottest containers, or simply display the top N containers. The detail view of each container displays container metrics in real-time.

In containers table, the user can see basic information and metrics about each server and by clicking on table row user can expand it to get more details about the container. Thus, for each container user can view metrics, review information about containers grouped by tags like host, image name, pod name …

By using the heatmap, user can get an overview of a large number of containers at once and see if selected metric has a high value on any of the monitored containers or host.

Want to find out more about the new container view? Read our blog post. Can’t wait to try the new containers view? Here is the direct link for Sematext Cloud USA or Sematext Cloud Europe.

Sematext Logs Elasticsearch API Extra Security

Sematext Logs Elasticsearch API Extra Security | July 2018

The Sematext API for log ingestion log search has always been compatible with the Elasticsearch API. On top of that, the Sematext API has always had additional security in place, for example:

  • HTTPS encryption on all Sematext data receivers
  • The API used the App tokens as index name, with the ability to generate multiple read-only or write-only tokens in the App settings. For example, somebody who needs to set up a log shipper really requires only the write-only token and doesn’t need to know the read-capable token, which is needed only if you want to query logs via the API.

To further secure access to our customers’ data we now require not just the App token, but also the API key for log searches via API. Importantly, note that you do not have to change any of your log shipping.

This change affects only access via read APIs, not write APIs. You can get your API key from and, as you can see there, it can be regenerated at any time should it ever get compromised.

The following example shows a search request with curl using the new authentication header:

curl '<APP TOKEN HERE>/_search?size=0&pretty' -H 'Authorization: apiKey <API KEY HERE>'

The API also supports HTTP Basic Authentication. Therefore third-party tools using Elasticsearch client libraries that use Basic Authentication with Elasticsearch can authenticate as well. The username is then the “apiKey” literal, and the password is the actual API key. Here is another example using curl with basic authentication:

curl -v -u apiKey:<API KEY HERE> '<APP TOKEN HERE>/_search?size=0&pretty'

Better Servers View

Better Servers View

Servers view is giving overview over host servers used by your apps. User can use GroupBy and FilterBy filters to decide which servers or group of servers he wants to monitor. There two main components for monitoring: table-view and heat-map.

In servers table user can see basic informations and metrics about each server and by clicking on table row user can expands it to get more details about server. Thus, for each server user can view metrics, review informations about docker containers on that host and review metrics and informations for apps on that host.

By using heat-map user can get overview over large number of servers at once and see if selected metric has high value on any of monitored servers.

Automatic Metrics Correlation

Automatic Metrics Correlation

If you work with monitoring or monitoring tools much, you’ve probably seen the phrase “correlating” here and there. Correlation is what can help you find metrics with similar pattern and see dependencies between metrics even if you don’t suspect they are in dependency relation. When troubleshooting, automatic metrics correlation is the easiest way to find root cause.

Automatic metrics correlation in Sematext Cloud work pretty straight forward: you select a metrics of interested, select time range and Correlation mechanism will find all metrics which have similar behaviour in the same time range. Similar spikes, similar trends, similar waves.

Added Logtrail to Kibana

Added Logtrail to Kibana

Dealing with log files or extracting data from various data sources is a daily task in the IT administration. Adding logtrail to Kibana gives users the “terminal experience”, that experience of tailing and filtering log files like in the good old terminal that tons of people are used to and that many of us still love – typically black background, new logs appearing at the bottom of the screen instead of the top screen, simply way to filter logs and “jump” to various parts of the log stream.

To summarise this plugin enables you and your team to view, analyze and search log events from a centralised clean & developer friendly interface.

Log in to see for yourself and check it out….. or read our blog post to find out about a few more improvements we’ve made.


Tighter Metrics & Logs Integration

Tighter metrics and logs integration sematext

Sematext has been offering monitoring and log management for a while now, but in the most recent release we’ve further unified it, making it really simple for people to go through the well-established DevOps path: Alert Notification ⇒ Metrics Charts ⇒ Log Inspection for details

Moreover, we’ve made it dead-simple to see metrics and logs in the single view and visually correlate between the two.  End result? Much faster troubleshooting ⇒ much more efficient root cause analysis ⇒ much shorter MTTR ⇒ happier DevOps & happier users!

For more details about this and the benefits this functionality enables for your team check out our blog post or read more about monitoring and logging with Sematext Cloud.

Improved Navigation, Discoverability, and Accessibility

Improved navigation, discoverability, and accessibility sematext

We’ve restructured the UI. Everything you need can be quickly accessed via tabs on the left.  Account section is exposed, and Team-related functionality (invitations to apps or to account, user roles, etc.) is in its own Teams section. Dashboards are in top-left. Metrics, Logs, and Events are right there next to each other. AppMap, NetMap, and a top-like view of all your Servers is under Infrastructure. Jumping to a specific Metrics or Logs App or a Dashboard can be done quickly from the searchable pulldown in top-right.   If you have access to multiple accounts you can switch between them much like you can switch between multiple Google accounts.

Log in to see for yourself and check it out… or read our blog post to find out about a few more improvements we’ve made.

React.js & Redux, Pretty Charts, Better Dashboards

Reactjs redux pretty charts better dashboards sematext

Sematext Cloud UI looks and behaves differently. Indeed, we rewrote the whoooooole front-end using modern front-end technologies like React.js and Redux. We’ve switched to Chart.JS for charts, and contributed a few PRs to it along the way. We’ve made it possible to show/hide chart legends, change their positioning, to easily add/remove individual timeseries from metrics charts, and so on. Dashboards have been completely rewritten and are much, much faster and lighter than before. You can easily create a Dashboard that contains charts from multiple different Metrics or Logs apps. You can also add logs themselves to a Dashboard, or event charts, or components with custom Markdown in them.  

For more details about this check out our blog post.

Log Event Context

Log event context sematext

When you’re troubleshooting and inspecting logs what do you do? You search and filter logs to narrow things down, to find log messages that will help you understand what, how, why, or when something happened. The key part here is that you search, and when you search what you typically see are only logs that matched what you searched for (think grep). Log Context in Sematext Cloud is much like that.   Once you’ve found a log event of interest a single click will expose its context.   It’s like grep -C NUM, but applicable across all your infrastructure, not just one log file at a time.

For more details on log event context check out our blog post or see it for yourself.

S3 Archiving & Longer Retention for Logs

S3 archiving and longer retention for logs sematext

Need to have your recent logs searchable for your DevOps team(s) to troubleshoot issues, but also need to archive old logs for compliance reasons? Many organizations need that and Sematext Cloud makes that simple. You can certainly simply pick a longer data retention option along with your plan and daily log volume. Doing that makes all your logs searchable for a long time. If, however, you simply need to store your older logs, so that you can retrieve them later on, but do not need to search them, you can use S3 Archiving option provided by Sematext Cloud. All you need to provide are Access Key ID, your Secret Access Key, and the name of the S3 bucket where you want your logs to be archived.

For more details on log event context check out our blog post.

Alert Rules & Notification Hooks Sharing

Alert rules and notification hooks sharing sematext

Alert Rules and related Notification Hooks (aka Integrations) sharing option was updated. Now each Alert Rule and each Notification Hook is tied to account under which it was created. This way any member of your team will still see all Alert Rules created under the common shared account. Each team member will be able to use and create new Alert Rules and Notification Hooks, which will also be visible to other members of the team (but editable only by the shared account owner, or users with admin role). Such Alert Rules and Hooks will not be visible to App guests though, so your team’s work in the common shared account will not be affected by them.

For more details on this new sharing option and its benefits over plain App sharing check out our blog post or see it for yourself.

Alert Rule & Notification Hook Management

Alert Rules and Notification hook management sematext

We’ve changed how Alert Rules & Notification Hooks are handled in Sematext Cloud. They now live at Account level, not App level, which makes their management much simpler, more intuitive, much more suitable for modern teams, as described in Alert Rules & Hook Notification Sharing. The new “Account Default” switch makes it easy to quickly change where alert notifications are sent for all Alert Rules that are set up to use default account notifications.  Very handy for agile teams who may change their alerting channel preferences over time, have lots of Alert Rules, and would go crazy if they had to modify each of them.

See it for yourself.

Expanded ChatOps Integrations

Expanded chatops integrations sematext

You can now hook up Sematext Cloud Alerts to a number of different Notification Hooks: email, any custom WebHook, Slack, PagerDuty, HipChat, VictorOps, OpsGenie, BigPanda, Pushover – for Android, iPhone, iPad, and Desktop (Pebble, Android Wear, and Apple Watch, too!), Nagios – yes, people still use it, Zappier – and from there you can connect Sematext Alerts to a number of other services. Setting any of these notification hooks takes only seconds.  You only need to configure them once and then, because notification hooks and alerts are set at account-level, you can reference them when creating alert rules.

Elasticsearch 5.x and Kibana 5.x

Elasticsearch 5.x and kibana 5.x sematext

We’ve refreshed our backend, or one of them at least. We’ve updated Elasticsearch to 5.x version. Along with it, we’ve updated the integrated version of Kibana to which you can easily switch from the “Native UI” if you are a Kibana aficionado. From there you can create all kinds of charts and dashboards. We’ve also made sure Kibana URLs are shareable, so you can share them with your teammates. If they have access to the Logsene App whose Kibana URL you are sharing they, too, will be able to access the shared charts, dashboards, etc.

For more details on this check out our blog post or see it for yourself by logging in and going to one of your Logsene apps.

Events surfaced all the way to the top

events log metrics correlation sematext

Unlike logs, which tend to be high volume, events are a little more infrequent, a little more special.   Events are things like alerts, or deploys, or builds, or… Ultimately though, it is up to you and your team to choose what to push into Sematext as an event. In this release we’ve surfaced Events all the way to the top, so they now stand shoulder to shoulder to metrics and logs.   You can view logs in their own event stream-like view and you can search them of course.  Importantly, however, you can also correlate events with metrics, as shown below, much like you can correlate logs and metrics. Why is correlating events with metrics valuable? Think about being able to correlate a bad build or not quite fully tested release deployment with a change in metric values. When it’s sudden and things break right away you don’t necessarily need any tools to point out the correlation – you’ve got fire you need to put out and the correlation is obvious.

For such things, it is handy to be able to look at metrics and events and see the correlation. Sounds good?   Log in to see for yourself and check it out!

Introducing Instant Templates & Mappings

Logsene, our hosted ELK stack now part of Sematext Cloud, exposes the Elasticsearch API. If you have experience with Elasticsearch though, if you’re aware of its rich ecosystem of tools, you know how valuable this is. When you send your logs to a Logsene app their structure (their mapping in Elasticsearch parlance) is automatically detected. Log event fields are created and their types are deduced from the received data. The mapping and the index template are also created. Under the hood, Logsene maintains a sequence of indices for each Logsene app. Every so often a new index is added and its mapping is based on the index template for that Logsene app.

For more details on this check out our blog post or see it for yourself.

Payment Logic Changes

Up until now, Sematext Cloud users had to first provide their credit card details under their account and then manually assign that credit card to each monitoring or logging App they wanted to use with a paid plan. It turns out this is a bit of a pain when you have a lot of Apps, so we’ve done away with that.  From now on, the payment method defined at the account level is automatically applied to all Apps with a paid plan. This simplifies management, especially in cases when users have many Apps (think about credit card expiring and having to assign a new card to each of the 57 Apps you have!).

For more details on this check out our blog post.

Android SDK for Log Shipping & Analytics

We’ve built and open-sourced an Android SDK for shipping logs from mobile apps to Sematext Cloud. This library not only lets you send your Android app logs for troubleshooting purposes, but it also lets you collect app usage for analytics purposes! In other words, shipping logs and usage events from an Android app will give you the ability to both troubleshoot issues with the app, as well as let you gain insights about your app’s usage, adoption, etc. The library sends data in batches to preserve battery (every 60s), or if there are more than 10 events queued up.

For more info, check out our blog post and see Sematext Logsene Android project on Github.

iOS SDK for Log Shipping & Analytics

Want to ship logs and other events from your iOS apps? We’ve open-sourced the iOS SDK for shipping logs from iOS apps to Sematext Cloud. This library not only lets you send your iOS app logs for troubleshooting purposes, but it also lets you collect app usage for analytics purposes!  In other words, shipping logs and usage events from an iOS app will give you the ability to both troubleshoot issues with the app, as well as let you gain insights about  your app’s usage, adoption, etc. If you don’t see the events in the dashboard immediately, note that this library sends data in batches to preserve the battery (every 60s), or if there are more than 10 messages queued up.

For more info, check out our blog post and see Sematext Logsene iOS project on Github.

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