Top 20 Best Log Analysis Tools and Log Analyzer (Pros and Cons)

Top 20 Best Log Analysis Tools and Log Analyzer (Pros and Cons). Business systems generate logs containing essential information about your infrastructure, from troubleshooting and application security to performance metrics. These logs enable you to understand every occurrence in your infrastructure so you streamline operations and improve overall performance. However, all this depends on how and what you want to log, which is why you need a suitable tool to analyse your logs.

Log analysis tools are essential for efficient log management. They give users insights into their system activity and uncover vital information. The right log analysis tools give an accurate view of activities and display potential issues or incidents before they affect business operations. Whether you’re a small business updating its server environment or a large enterprise with multiple distributed networks, understanding your log data is essential. 

This article discusses Top 20 Best Log Analysis Tools and Log Analyzer in terms of features, advantages, and downsides as well. Read on!

What is Log Analysis and How Does it Work?

All in all, log analysis is the process of reviewing and interpreting computer generated event logs. Organizations analyse logs to identify bugs, security threats and other vulnerabilities. Also use log analysis to ensure compliance with regulations.

A log is a file that captures the activity within a device, operating system, or software application. The log automatically records any information the system administrators have designated, including error reports, messages, file transfers, file requests, and sign-in/out requests.

Log analysis tools collect, parse and analyse the data within log files. So, log analysers offer functionality that helps IT operations staff observe their apps and visualize log data in contextualized formats. This then enables the developers to understand the issues within their applications better. It’s essential to perform regular analysis since it provides vital insights into your network and system.

Top 20 Best Log Analysis Tools

1. New Relic

New Relic is a powerful tool used to gain insights into performance, errors, and trends in complex systems. With it, developers quickly look for correlations between events to pinpoint where issues arise in their applications. Log analysis allows users to optimize their stack as new services come online or when existing services scale up in volume and complexity. 

Utilize New Relic to improve response times with proactive memory and CPU optimization. Also, it’s suitable for troubleshooting connection issues across diverse infrastructure environments and gaining visibility into overall application health. If you want deeper insights into what’s happening in your infrastructure backend, utilize New Relic as long as you have the configurations right.

Pros of New Relic Log Analyzer

  • Allows users to ingest text based data or any data that is converted to text.
  • Leverage machine learning capabilities to group logs and speed up troubleshooting.
  • Enables users to identify correlations between events and pinpoint issues quickly.
  • Easily configurable dashboards and alerting feature that allows you to automatically receive alerts via PagerDuty or Slack.
  • Optimizes stack performance when services scale.
  • Provides visibility into the overall health of applications.

Cons of New Relic Log Analyzer

  • May not be suitable for very simple applications with limited functionality. 
  • In some instances, it requires manual analysis to detect anomalies.
  • Costs can escalate significantly, if there is a large number of users or services to monitor.

2. Mezmo

Mezmo is a log management solution available both on premises and in the cloud. With Mezmo, you save, search, store, and tail data from any system or application, including Heroku, AWS, Python, Elastic, Docker, Windows, and Linux. Not only does the software monitor and analyse logs in real time, but it also handles up to one million log events every second.

Mezmo features real time debugging, searching and filter capabilities. It also has a powerful algorithm to help you connect errors with their cause. You also get a live streaming tail to help you locate difficult to find bugs.

Pros of Mezmo

  • Has a simple user interface suitable for searching through multiple logs.
  • Define rules on how data is stored.
  • Forward logs to Amazon S3 for compliance and long term retention.
  • Provides an efficient way of restoring archival data into its UI.
  • Use role based access control to limit who views sensitive logs.

Cons of Mezmo

  • Limited visualization capabilities.
  • Retention and the number of users depend on the plan.

3. Graylog

Graylog is a free, open source log management solution that collects data from multiple locations across your infrastructure. Favourite among administrators due to its functionality, user friendly interface and scalability.

It’s customizable dashboards enable you to select which data sources and metrics to monitor and analyse. Its powerful drill down charts and analysis make it easy to spot performance issues and identify trends over time.

Set up triggers and alerts to monitor potential security risks and data failures. Graylog has an in built fault tolerance that executes multi threaded searches, allowing you to analyse many potential threads together.

Pros of Graylog

  • JSON extractor to extract values from JSON input.
  • Powerful search engine to help you drill down through logs.
  • Easy to scale both the ingestion pipeline and the storage.
  • Highly accessible dashboards and visual depictions.

Cons of Graylog

  • Complicated backend that requires proper developer experience.
  • The system easily becomes buggy when the disk runs out of storage space.

4. GoAccess

GoAccess is a free and fast terminal log analyser. It allows you to quickly monitor and analyse web server data within milliseconds of it arriving on the server. Instead of using a browser, GoAccess lets you access your data through SSH or the UNIX system terminal. It creates full HTML, CVS, and JSON reports.

Additionally, it is open source and very easy to use. Process logs incrementally and track application response time. Supports custom weblog format strings and predefined options like Apache, Amazon S3, Nginx, CloudFront, and more.

Pros of GoAccess

  • Render the dashboards in the terminal.
  • Does not rely on cookies or javascript trackers.
  • You don’t require Stack to use it, as the software is a C++ application with a single GNU application dependency.
  • Free and open source software.

Cons of GoAccess

5. Rsyslog

Next on the list of Top 20 Best Log Analysis Tools and Log Analyzer is Rsyslog. A free, general purpose logging solution that reads, buffers, parses, enriches and ships data from various sources to multiple destinations. Uses a simple syslog protocol and extends it with advanced filtering capabilities, flexible configuration options, and content based filtering. The software also adds transport features like RELP, SSL, and TCP. Provides high security, high performance and a modular design.

Pros of Rsyslog

  • Advanced configuration language.
  • Interprets JSON based structured log messages.
  • Multiple plugin support. 
  • High performance, especially for DNS cache and script based filters.
  • Supports most Linux distributions.

Cons of Rsyslog

  • Challenging configuration process.
  • Poor product documentation makes it challenging for inexperienced users.

6. Grafana Loki

Grafana Loki is a highly available, horizontally scalable, multi tenant log aggregation solution inspired by Prometheus. Loki’s ecosystem is similar to the ELK stack but has a few differences. The software achieves a different architecture by indexing only some fields. The main write component (ingester) stores chunks of logs in memory. As the chunks age, the system writes them in two places: an object store for the chunk data and a key values store for labels. Neither of them requires background maintenance as you add the data.

When you query older data, you filter by timeframe and labels, reducing the number of chunks the system has to retrieve from its long term storage.

Pros of Grafana Loki

  • Faster ingestion than most log analysis tools.
  • Has a very small storage footprint hence minimal CPU and RAM consumption.
  • Sends logs to secure storage platform such as AWS S3.
  • Loki provides access to multiple open source dashboards.

Cons of Grafana Loki

  • Slower analytics and queries.
  • Fewer log shipper options.

7. DataSet

DataSet consolidates multiple functions into one tool: search, log aggregation, dashboards, alerts, and external monitoring. At its core, Dataset is an event database, a repository for metrics logs and other operational data. Once data reaches the event database, you observe, search and analyse it using various web tools.

Configure it to separate sensitive data from your logs before they leave the server. DataSet servers cant push new configurations or commands down to the agent, as communication to the server is strictly outbound.

Pros of DataSet

  • Ingests data rapidly without the need for advanced indexing.
  • High performance speeds that exceed 1TB per second.
  • Provides SSO integration to authenticate users easily.
  • All communication is TLS encrypted to secure data fully.
  • Bi directional API to enable users to share data across different enterprise tools.

Cons of DataSet

  • Not available for on premise servers.
  • Does not provide support for popular protocols and tools.

8. Papertrail

Papertrail is a cloud management software with great features for log analysis. It automatically scans multiple logs, such as Windows log events, text log files, Apache Logs, and more. Filter log events by time, source, message contents, and severity level to focus on the most relevant data. Graph or chat with third party integrations to detect trends and patterns.

Papertrail supports 20+ popular webhooks and monitoring tools for smooth integration into any environment. Does not require installation, and you use Papertrails collector or any common Syslog daemon to send, search and tail logs. The solution also integrates with SolarWinds AppOptics to swiftly switch between logs, metrics, and traces without losing context.

Pros of Papertrail

  • Integrates with multiple third party alerting tools to enable users to receive notifications in real time.
  • Easy to use even without prior experience.
  • Intuitive user interface.
  • Free log monitoring plan for new users.
  • Allows you to consolidate logs across your systems in a single pane of glass.
  • Cloud based tool that serves DevOps teams of any size.

Cons of Papertrail

  • Has shallow documentation that makes it challenging for new users.
  • No alternative for archiving logs besides AWS.

9. Loggly

Loggly is the most popular cloud based log management tool for its logging analysis capabilities.Allows you to use conventional standards like Syslog and HTTP to collect and process logs from different sources, be they server or client side.

It’s dynamic field explorer provides a real time overview of all your logs. With strong full text search capabilities, including searches by booleans, individual fields, ranges, and more. Its intuitive, user friendly dashboard offers metrics and performance indicators that enable you to track trends and performance issues.

Pros of Loggly

  • Great support for popular log shippers like the Logstash plugin.
  • The tool parses common logging formats out of the box.
  • The higher plans offer users overages of 50GB or 100% up to 3 days per month.
  • Swiftly pinpoints failure points and bottlenecks.
  • Very responsive search at scale.

Cons of Loggly

  • The cheaper plans do not include basic features like API access.
  • The overage rules are limiting.

10. Rapid7 InsightOps (formerly Logentries)

Rapid7 InsightOps is a cloud based log management tool with reliable analytics tools that allow you to observe data trends and correlate events across your system. Leverages the Analytics Packs tool to search and manage logs with preconfigured dashboards, tags, and queries. This tool centralizes logs from multiple sources so you easily search through them. After configuring it, it sends alerts as well as analysed data.

Uses a live tail search tool to query data in real time, which allows you to track events as they happen and also provides you with deeper insights. It also has custom alerts that instantly notify you whenever the system detects anomalies. Also add custom tags to make log retrieval easier.

Pros of Rapid7 InsightOps

  • Powerful REST API that allows you to use the tool through HTTP requests.
  • Integrates seamlessly with AWS CloudTrail to streamline your event history.
  • Its agent runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows.
  • Automatically parses Apache, Syslog, and NGINX logs.
  • Lightweight software that installs on any system.

Cons of Rapid7 InsightOps

  • Not available on premises.
  • The Rest API has some problems, especially if not well configured.

11. Splunk

Splunk is a popular commercial log analysis platform with an on premises deployment (Splunk Enterprise) but is also available as a service (Splunk Cloud). Analyses logs and semi structured data generated by various processes per your organization’s requirements.

When using Splunk, you source data from web applications, networks, sensors, and more. Send both metrics and logs to Splunk and analyse them. Wide variety of features, including a robust query language for search and analytics. Also, it has a search time field extraction that extends beyond parsing at ingestion time. Additionally, Splunk automatically transfers the infrequently accessed data to slow storage and frequently accessed data to fast storage.

Pros of Splunk

  • Analyses system, event, and server logs.
  • Does not depend on a database for log analysis.
  • Accepts multiple data formats including JSON, CSV, and XML.
  • Suitable for monitoring AWS infrastructure.
  • Has an advanced GUI and dashboard that provide real time visibility.
  • Besides analysis, it also works as a log monitoring and reporting tool.

Cons of Splunk

  • Requires complex configurations to harness its features.
  • Less effective at storing metrics due to data storage limits.

12. Nagios Log Server

Nagios Log Server is a powerful tool for monitoring and analyzing system logs across your entire network. It collects, correlates, and analyzes data in real time so you identify issues quickly. This tool also includes features such as group segmentation, granular alerting capabilities, statistical anomaly detection and customizable dashboards. These features allow for a comprehensive array of analytics and reporting options. Also, it combines perfectly with Nagios XI to centralize and manage alerts across your entire organization and ensures optimal system availability.

Pros of Nagios Log Server

  • Offers multi user access and  different levels of permissions based on the user’s role.
  • Built in security alerts and automated responses to maximize system efficiency.
  • Extensible API allows for complete integration with your external applications.
  • Powerful user interface to that allows design and layout customization.

Cons of Nagios Log Server

  • Relatively high licensing costs.
  • Complex set up process.

13. Fluentd

Fluentd is a powerful open source log analysis software that gathers event logs from various sources and unifies them into a single logging layer. The solution lacks a complete frontend interface but functions as a collection layer that supports various pipelines.

Fluentd lets you buffer, filter, and ship log data to different systems such as AWS, Hadoop, Elasticsearch, and more. Popular among DevOps teams because of its 500+ plugin library, which enables you to connect with several data sources and run better analyses.

Pros of Fluentd

  • Supports stream manipulation capabilities such as data processing, conversion, and log parsing.
  • Users customize log formats and apply labels depending on individual needs.
  • Integrates seamlessly with Amazon Kinesis and Norikra.
  • Supports common destinations such as InfluxDB, Splunk, and Elasticsearch.
  • Great performance and resource usage.
  • Good plugin ecosystems.
  • Easy to use and configure.
  • Comprehensive documentation that makes it easy for new users to analyse logs efficiently.

Cons of Fluentd

  • No buffering before parsing, which may result in backpressure within the logging pipeline.
  • Limited support for extract, transform, and load functionalities.

14. Logstash

Logstash is among the most popular log collection and processing engines for log events and data. The tool collects and parses logs from multiple sources across your system and transfers them to your preferred destination. Logstash dynamically transforms data regardless of how complex it is. It converts data from an unstructured to a structured format. This tool has a highly extensible architecture that features over 200 plugins.

Since it is a component of Elastic Stack, it is most commonly used together with Kibana and Elasticsearch. This combination makes for a very strong log analysis solution, where Kibana enables you to explore and visualize data you collected with Logstash. At the same time, Elasticsearch offers you full text search and analytics functionalities.

Pros of Logstash

  • Logstash is flexible and can function in different logging use cases
  • Has pipeline and monitoring viewers feature that provides full visibility into all deployments
  • Has multiple outputs that enable you to route data to your choice of destination
  • Easy data processing regardless of schema, format, or data source
  • You can manage log data analysis without using complex query language

Cons of Logstash

  • High resource usage when compared to other solutions.
  • Low performance, especially when working with log data from many sources.

15. Datadog

Datadog is a log analysis software that lets you record, filter, search, and analyse logs from your applications and devices in real time. One Datadog records log data so you use filters to choose relevant information for your use case.

Datadog has rich and advanced log analytics dashboards that you can customize by drag and drop. It enables you to correlate logs and metrics. Also request traces to get an overview of your systems and easily track performance trends. The solution also has a smart alerting feature that uses machine learning to detect errors and abnormal log patterns quickly.

Pros of Datadog

  • Simple search functionality with great autocomplete.
  • Suitable for improving app efficiency and throughput.
  • Customizable views tailored to each application.
  • Has a highly configurable UI that helps visualize the entire system.

Cons of Datadog

  • The process of ingesting, indexing, and retaining logs is complex.
  • Does not detect devices automatically.
  • The agent based architecture complicates the setup process.

16. ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer

EventLog Analyzer is a log management solution that combines the primary functionalities of a SIEM product with impressive log capabilities. EventLog Analyzer collects, analyses and parses event logs from every device within your network. Its other features include file integrity monitoring, event correlation, privileged user monitoring, and real time alerting. All these features help you to detect and prevent attacks and server errors.

With the ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer, you instantly create several reports, such as historical data trends and user activity reports. Basically, it is one of the best software for conducting forensic log analysis to ensure regulatory compliance. The platform is compliant ready for various standards such as PCI DSS, GLBA, HIPAA, FISMA, and SOX.

Pros of EventLog Analyzer

  • Provides powerful insights on firewall security policy and rule changes to improve system security.
  • Identifies malicious domain interactions, URLs, and IP addresses in your network and sends alerts in real time.
  • Designed to help you drill down terabytes of raw data and fid the exact information you are looking for.
  • Advanced query builder to help you construct complex queries.
  • Provides great support for Windows logging.
  • Provides support for common log format parsing.

Cons of EventLog Analyzer

  • Only available on windows and on premises.
  • Deploying EvenLog Analyzer across multiple servers can be relatively expensive.

17. Sumo Logic

Sumo Logic is a log management solution that provides real time insights into your applications and systems by combining logs and metrics into one platform. Features include advanced analytics that use indexing and filtering to process data. Predictive algorithms and Machine Learning allow you to process over 100 petabytes of data per day. Meanwhile, its user friendly interface enables you to identify trends and patterns faster.

Sumo Logic’s robust search language enables you to execute advanced operations, extract important values and metrics, and identify crucial messages. This allows you to quickly sort through numerous logs across your network and identify the one causing your app to fail. Sumo Logic uses LogReduce algorithms to distil hundreds of thousands of log lines into a collection of human digestible log patterns so you know which new trends are affecting your infrastructure.

Pros of Sumo Logic

  • Provides comprehensive monitoring for CI/CD pipelines with actionable insights.
  • Generates deep security insights via the use case driven queries and dashboards.
  • Easy to read charts and graphs so you identify spikes at any time.
  • Intuitive interface and a simple setup procedure.

Cons of Sumo Logic

18. SolarWinds Security Event Manager

SolarWinds Security Event Manager is one of the most popular log management solutions. It allows you to gather and normalize data from multiple applications, network devices, and servers in real time. The tool lets you store and analyze historical data for automatic audits. The software learns from previous events and alerts you before an incident happens. SolarWinds’s log analyzer employs a proactive approach to guarantee compliance, security, and troubleshooting.

Its key features include file integrity monitoring, real time event correlation, threat intelligence feed, scheduled searches, and a configurable dashboard.

Pros of SolarWinds Security Event Manager

  • Categorize events in different buckets i.e authentication, change management, compliance, IT operations, security, etc
  • Has configuration wizards that provide interactive help and examples to Create rules and set up actions for select events using predefined templates.
  • Easy to filter log data when looking for specific information in your systems.

Cons of SolarWinds Security Event Manager

  • Log and Event manager grows too large very quickly.
  • Configuring the settings and filters for different operating systems can be challenging.

19. Sematext Logs

Sematext Logs is a log management solution that displays the Elasticsearch API, a component of  Sematext’s Cloud full stack monitoring software. Transfer data using Syslog or any tool that interoperates with Elasticsearch, such as Filebeat and Logstash. You can achieve visualization through the native Sematext Logs UI or with Kibana. If you want a self hosted solution, Sematex logs are available through its on premise service, Sematext Enterprise.

Sematext’s auto discovery of services and logs allows you to automatically begin monitoring and forwarding logs from containers and log files directly through the UI. Besides, this tool is agent free. It works with any logging library or shipper that works with Elasticsearch or Syslog. Elasticsearch’s API provides access beyond indexing. Create custom templates, run searches, export data, and more. Its additional features include alerting, role based access control, and anomaly detection.

Pros of Sematext Logs

  • Provides you with the flexibility of ELK stack without having to scale/manage Elasticsearch.
  • Integrates seamlessly with various Sematext Cloud elements, like Infrastructure monitoring.
  • Provides intuitive dashboards that can have widgets from any component so you determine which error caused a CPU spike.
  • Stops accepting logs to prevent costs from spiralling out of control based on set limits.
  • Flexible pricing to enable you to manage various activities such as Production and QA.

Cons of Sematext Logs

  • Only parses JSON and Syslog on the server side; custom parsing is only possible in the log shipper.
  • You can’t combine Kibana with native UI widgets in one dashboard.

20. FirstWave opEvents

FirstWave opEvents is a log and event manager focusing on event automation and remediation. OpEvents completely manages logs from FirstWave’s Open source Network Management System, active directory, applications, cloud infrastructure, devices, or any custom location.

The opEvents dashboard features utilities to analyze log records as they load in from file storage and reach the log consolidator. The analyzer has features that sort, search and filter records. Enables you to configure notification rules depending on organizational hierarchy and operational hours.

OpEvents parses all records and presents them in a user friendly format. Normalizes and filters every event while grouping events. This helps the system to withstand an event storm. The console also offers attractive graphical data visualizations.

Pros of FirstWave opEvents

  • Cloud based platform that’s highly scalable regardless of the amount of logs generated.
  • Sleek user interface that is easy to navigate.
  • Power log consolidation to help sysadmins manage logs easily.
  • Supports manual event investigation.

Cons of FirstWave opEvents

  • Not very beginner friendly.
  • Gets complex when using automated features.

Thank you for reading Top 20 Best Log Analysis Tools and Log Analyzer. We shall conclude this article. 

Top 20 Best Log Analysis Tools and Log Analyzers (Pros and Cons)

To manually parse and analyse large amounts of log data from your system is time consuming and error prone. Fortunately, the above log analysis tools help you to better understand your log file data and parse it more effectively. This helps you to streamline your DevOps workflow and save you time the next time a problem occurs. Implement any of the above log analysis tools to help you detect issues in your systems before they get out of control.

Avatar for Dennis Muvaa
Dennis Muvaa

Dennis is an expert content writer and SEO strategist in cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. He's also experienced in cybersecurity, big data, and AI.

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