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Set Up Logging on Google Compute Engine in Less Than 5 Minutes

The need for comprehensive log data management for these platforms has grown

This blog was written by Logentries intern Russell Johnson, a student at MIT studying mechanical engineering and business.

As developers continue to rely more and more on cloud computing services like Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, and Microsoft Azure, the need for comprehensive log data management for these platforms has grown as well  This post gives a quick overview of setting up Logentries on Google Compute Engine.

Although Google offers its own logging service, users seeking additional capabilities such as comprehensive tagging, real-time alerts, and shareable dashboards and graphs might want to forward their logs to a SaaS logging service like Logentries. In addition the Google logging capabilities can only be used on applications deployed through the Google AppEngine, so if you are running workloads on Google Compute Engine you will need to look elsewhere. The screenshot below shows the Google logging service connected to an elementary ‘Hello World' program deployed through the Google AppEngine. As you can see in these logs, Google's service provides some basic tags (Debug/Info/Warning/Error/Critical) and features (autofilled searching) that help provide valuable insight into the basic operational metrics of your application but for users who need to dig deeper into their logs by creating more personalized tags and more sophisticated sorting techniques, the service might seem limited. That's where Logentries comes in.

Google Compute Engine

Here's how you can send Logs to a logging service if you are using Google Compute Engine.

To get started with Google Compute, create a new project in your Google Developer's Console.  Once you've initiated and enabled billing for your project. You can easily clicking the blue ‘Create Instance' button on your project homepage.

Create a project

The available instances that can be created in the Google Compute engine are primarily Linux operating systems but they do offer a paid Windows option. For this post, we will examine a Linux instance but installing Logentries on a Google Windows instance is as easy as running the Logentries Windows Agent. Besides operating systems, Google allows you to choose other specs for your instance before you create it (i.e. amount of memory, number of virtual CPUs, and operating system). Once you've specified those details and created  your instance, it should appear under the Compute > Compute Engine tab in your project's sidebar. Once you've located the project you can SSH into the instance by clicking the SSH button under the ‘Connect' column.

SSH

To connect from your computer's local terminal (in this case I used a Mac running OSX), you'll need to install the Google SDK cloud computing tools, the instructions for which are linked to the window once you click the SSH button. Once you've run the specified SDK download commands in your local terminal, Google will prompt you to enter ‘gcloud auth login' which initiates the process of connecting your local terminal to your virtual machine. Once you've completed this process, which is as simple as following a link in your browser and copying down an identification code, you should be logged into your virtual machine.

Next log into your Logentries account and select ‘add a log' and following the Linux installation instructions.

Install Logentries in minutes

The simplest setup option is to use the Logentries Linux agent to forward logs to your Logentries account. The Linux agent installation is as easy as a one line command in the terminal. The agent will prompt you to input your Logentries account information and after a short installation should start sending logs to your account immediately (its always a good idea to refresh your Logentries Logs page). The installation should look something like this in your terminal:

Once you've checked that the host, and logs are up and running on your Logentries page, the set up is complete. You can explore other tutorials on the Logentries site to help you set up useful tags and alerts to make sure you get the most utility out of your logs.

Check out Logentries free 30-day trial and happy Google logging!

More Stories By Trevor Parsons

Trevor Parsons is Chief Scientist and Co-founder of Logentries. Trevor has over 10 years experience in enterprise software and, in particular, has specialized in developing enterprise monitoring and performance tools for distributed systems. He is also a research fellow at the Performance Engineering Lab Research Group and was formerly a Scientist at the IBM Center for Advanced Studies. Trevor holds a PhD from University College Dublin, Ireland.

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