Tech Tip: Make Spotlight Searches Faster on Mac OS X

One of the things I really like about Windows 10, is the ability to hit the Windows key and type the first few letters of the application name to find and open this application. Mac OS X in theory provides the same feature by hitting the Command Key + Space. This opens a spotlight search.

Unfortunately I found this search to be inferior to the one found in Windows since it works slower – even on my very powerful Mac machine, it often takes more than a two to three seconds to ‘find’ the application I try to open.

Last week, I found a way to somewhat mitigate this. Just head to the settings and in there to Spotlight. Disable all the categories apart from ‘applications’.

spotlight.png

While this does make the search faster, also note that it won’t search for the other types of content anymore.

Upgrade to Oracle JDK 10 on CentOS/RHEL

With the release of Java 10 only a few days ago, it seems only prudent to update to Java 10 on suitable systems since the support for Java 9 official ends with the release of Java 10. (Note that Java 8 still enjoys long-time support, so it might be the best choice to stick with that on systems which are difficult to change)

  • Go to the official download site and indicate you agree to their terms.
  • Copy the link for jdk-10_linux-x64_bin.rpm
  • Log into your CentOS machine
  • Download the RPM file using the following command (Don’t forget to provide the link you have copied)

wget --no-cookies --no-check-certificate --header "Cookie: gpw_e24=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oracle.com%2F; oraclelicense=accept-securebackup-cookie" [paste copied link here]

  • Install the JDK

sudo yum localinstall jdk-*_linux-x64_bin.rpm

  • Set the default Java version to 10 using alternatives

sudo alternatives --config java

  • Lastly, make sure you are running the correct version of Java:

java -version

 

Upload Elastic Beanstalk Application using Maven

AWS Elastic Beanstalk is well established service of the AWS cloud and can be used as a powerful platform to deploy applications in various languages. In this short tutorial, I will outline how to conveniently deploy a Tomcat application to AWS Elastic Beanstalk using the beanstalk-maven-plugin.

The following assumes that you already have a project which is configured to be deployed as WAR and provides a valid web.xml to start answering requests. If you are unsure of how to set this up, please have a look at the example project web-api-example-v2 (on GitHub).

Step 1: Create IAM User

  • Create a new user on IAM user AWS for programmatic access

iam

  • For Permissions, select ‘Attach existing policies directly’ and add the following policy

elastic

  • Save the access key and secret key

Step 2: Add Server to Local Maven Configuration

  • Add the following declaration in the element in your $HOME/.m2/settings.xml and provide the access key and secret key for the the user you’ve just created

<server>
  <id>aws.amazon.com</id>
  <username>[aws access key]</username>
  <password>[aws secret key]</password>
</server>

Step 3: Add Beanstalk Maven Plugin


<plugin>
  <groupId>br.com.ingenieux</groupId>
  <artifactId>beanstalk-maven-plugin</artifactId>
  <version>1.5.0</version>
</plugin>

  • Test your security credentials and connection to AWS

mvn beanstalk:check-availability -Dbeanstalk.cnamePrefix=test-war

Step 4: Create S3 Bucket for Application

  • Create a new S3 bucket with a name of your choice (e.g. the name of your application)

bucket

Step 5: Update Plugin Configuration

  • Provide the following configuration for the beanstalk-maven-plugin
<plugin>
  <groupId>br.com.ingenieux</groupId>
  <artifactId>beanstalk-maven-plugin</artifactId>  
  <version>1.5.0</version>
  <configuration>
    <applicationName>[Provide your application name]</applicationName>
    <!-- Path of the deployed application: cnamePrefix.us-east-1.elasticbeanstalk.com -->
    <cnamePrefix>${project.artifactId}</cnamePrefix>
    <environmentName>devenv</environmentName>
    <environmentRef>devenv</environmentRef>
    <solutionStack>64bit Amazon Linux 2015.03 v1.4.5 running Tomcat 8 Java 8</solutionStack>

    <!-- Bucket name here equal to artifactId - but this is not guaranteed      to be available, so therefore the bucket name is given statically -->
    <s3Bucket>[Provide your S3 bucket name]</s3Bucket>
    <s3Key>${project.artifactId}/${project.build.finalName}-${maven.build.timestamp}.war</s3Key>
    <versionLabel>${project.version}</versionLabel>
  </configuration>
</plugin>

Step 6: Deploy project

  • Run the following to upload the project to the S3 bucket:
mvn beanstalk:upload-source-bundle
  • If this succeeds, deploy the application

mvn beanstalk:upload-source-bundle beanstalk:create-application-version beanstalk:create-environment

Your application should now be deployed to Elastic Beanstalk. It will be available under


cname.us-east-1.elasticbeanstalk.com

Where cname is the cname you have specified in step 5

Good To Know

  • To find out, which solution stacks are available (to define the solutionStack environment variable), simply run

mvn beanstalk:list-stacks

References

PlantUML (Open Source Awesomeness)

I’ve always had a soft spot for diagrams. I think that representing information in various visual ways tremendously helps our thinking and understanding. Unfortunately it is often a big headache to create (and maintain) diagrams.

So I was very pleased today when I came across PlantUML. PlantUML is a Java library and web service which renders UML diagrams from text input. Take the following text definition for example:


@startuml
object Object01
object Object02
object Object03
object Object04
object Object05
object Object06
object Object07
object Object08

Object01 <|-- Object02
Object03 *-- Object04
Object05 o-- "4" Object06
Object07 .. Object08 : some labels
@enduml

This will be rendered into the following diagram:

diagram

PlantUML does not just support object diagrams but also many other types of diagrams. There is another service, called WebSequenceDiagrams which focusses on only sequence diagrams (and is not open source) but can be useful if more visually pleasing sequence diagrams are required,

Configuring an initd Service for node_exporter

I recently wrote an article showing how to configure Prometheus and Grafana for easy metrics collection. In that article, I assumed that the system which should be monitored would use the systemd approach for defining services.

I now had to set up the node_exporter utility on a system which uses the initd approach. Thus, I provide some simple instructions here on how to accomplish that.


wget https://github.com/prometheus/node_exporter/releases/download/v0.15.2/node_exporter-0.15.2.linux-amd64.tar.gz

  • Extract the archive

tar xvfz node_exporter-*.tar.gz

  • Create a link

ln -s node_exporter-* node_exporter

  • Create the file /opt/node_exporter/node_exporter.sh and add the following content:

#!/bin/sh

/opt/node_exporter/node_exporter --no-collector.diskstats


#!/bin/sh
### BEGIN INIT INFO
# Provides: node_exporter
# Required-Start: $local_fs $network $named $time $syslog
# Required-Stop: $local_fs $network $named $time $syslog
# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1 6
# Description:
### END INIT INFO

SCRIPT=/opt/node_exporter/node_exporter.sh
RUNAS=root

PIDFILE=/var/run/node_exporter.pid
LOGFILE=/var/log/node_exporter.log

start() {
if [ -f "$PIDFILE" ] && kill -0 $(cat "$PIDFILE"); then
echo 'Service already running' >&2
return 1
fi
echo 'Starting service…' >&2
local CMD="$SCRIPT &> \"$LOGFILE\" && echo \$! > $PIDFILE"
su -c "$CMD" $RUNAS > "$LOGFILE"
echo 'Service started' >&2
}

stop() {
if [ ! -f "$PIDFILE" ] || ! kill -0 $(cat "$PIDFILE"); then
echo 'Service not running' >&2
return 1
fi
echo 'Stopping service' >&2
kill -15 $(cat "$PIDFILE") && rm -f "$PIDFILE"
echo 'Service stopped' >&2
}

uninstall() {
echo -n "Are you really sure you want to uninstall this service? That cannot be undone. [yes|No] "
local SURE
read SURE
if [ "$SURE" = "yes" ]; then
stop
rm -f "$PIDFILE"
echo "Notice: log file is not be removed: '$LOGFILE'" >&2
update-rc.d -f  remove
rm -fv "$0"
fi
}

case "$1" in
start)
start
;;
stop)
stop
;;
uninstall)
uninstall
;;
retart)
stop
start
;;
*)
echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart|uninstall}"
esac

Note 1: This sample script runs the script as user root. For production environments, it is highly recommended to configure another user (such as ‘prometheus’) which runs the script.

Note 2: Also check out this init.d script made specifically for node_exporter: node.exporter.default by eloo.

  • Make both files executable

chmod +x /etc/init.d/node_exporter

chmod +x <em>/opt/node_exporter/node_exporter.sh</em>

  • Test the script

/etc/init.d/node_exporter start

/etc/init.d/node_exporter stop

  • Enable start with chkconfig

chkconfig --add node_exporter

All done! Now you can configure your Prometheus server to grab the metrics from the node_exporter instance.

Easy VPS Backup

I love VPS providers such as RamNode or ServerCheap which provide excellent performance at a low price point. Unfortunately, when going with most VPS providers, there are no easy built-in facilities for backing up and restoring the data of your servers (such as with AWS EC2 snapshots). Thankfully, there is some powerful, easy to use and open source software available to take care of the backups for us!

In this article, I am going to show how to easily do a backup of your VPS using restic. Another tool you might want to look at is Duplicity, which provides a higher level of security but which is also more difficult to use. (And there are a many, many other alternatives available as well.)

You will need to have access to two servers to follow the following. One server which should be backed up (in the following referred to as Backup Client) and one server which will host your backups (in the following referred to as Backup Server).

Installing Restic (on Backup Client)

  • Get the URL to the binary for you system from the latest restic release.
  • Log into the Backup Client
  • Download the binary using wget

wget https://github.com/restic/restic/releases/download/v0.8.1/restic_0.8.1_linux_amd64.bz2

  • Unzip the binary

bzip2 -dk restic_0.8.1_linux_amd64.bz2

  • Move restic to /opt

sudo mv restic_0.8.1_linux_amd64 /opt/restic

  • Make restic executable

chmod +x /opt/restic

Establishing SSH Connection

  • On the Backup Client generate an SSH private and public key (Confirm location `/root/.ssh/id_rsa` and provide no passphrase)
sudo su - root
ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096
  • Get the public key

cat /root/.ssh/id_rsa.pub 
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAACAQDG3en ...

  • On the Backup Server, create a new user called backup
  • Copy the public key from the Backup Client to the Backup Server so that Backup Client is authorised to access it via SSH. Just copy the output from above and paste it at the end of the authorized_keys file

sudo vi /home/backup/.ssh/authorized_keys

  • On the Backup Client, test the connection to the Backup Server.

sudo ssh backup@...

Perform Backup (on Backup Client)


/opt/restic -r sftp:backup@[backup-server]:/home/backup/[backup client host name] init

  • Backup the full hard disk (this may take a while!)

/opt/restic --exclude={/dev,/media,/mnt,/proc,/run,/sys,/tmp,/var/tmp} -r sftp:backup@[backup-server]:/home/backup/[backup client host name] backup /

 

Schedule Regular Backups (Backup Client)

  • On the Backup Client, create the file /root/restic_password. Paste your password into this file.
  • Create the script file /root/restic.sh (replace with the details of your servers)

#/bin/bash

/opt/restic -r sftp:backup@[backup-server]:/home/backup/[backup client host name] --password-file=/root/restic_password --exclude={/dev,/media,/mnt,/proc,/run,/sys,/tmp,/var/tmp} backup /
/opt/restic -r sftp:backup@[backup-server]:/home/backup/[backup client host name] --password-file=/root/restic_password forget --keep-daily 7 --keep-weekly 5 --keep-monthly 12 --keep-yearly 75
/opt/restic -r sftp:backup@[backup-server]:/home/backup/[backup client host name] --password-file=/root/restic_password prune
/opt/restic -r sftp:backup@[backup-server]:/home/backup/[backup client host name] --password-file=/root/restic_password check

  • Make script executable

chmod +x /root/restic.sh

  • Trail run this script: /root/restic.sh
  • If everything worked fine, schedule to run this script daily (e.g. with sudo crontab -e) or at whichever schedule you prefer (Note that the script might take 10 min or more to execute, so it is probably not advisable to run this very frequently. If you need more frequent updates, just run the first line of the script ‘backup’ which is faster than the following maintenance operations).

0 22 * * * /root/restic.sh

 

That’s it! All important files from your server will now be backed up regularly.

Java Logging – The Ultimate, Easy Guide

On first glance, logging looks like an exceedingly simple problem to solve. However, it is one of these problems which unfortunately become more and more complex the longer one looks at it.

I think because of this, there are many frameworks in Java to support logging (since everyone seems to have thought they have found a solution) with many of them being less than optimal, especially under load.

In effect, for someone who wants to start with logging in Java, there is an overwhelming, confusing and often contradictory wealth of resources available. In this guide, I will provide an introduction to Java logging in three simple steps: First, to choose the right framework. Second, to get your first log printed out onto the screen. And, third, to explore more advanced logging topics. So, without further ado, here the steps to get you started with Java logging:

Framework

The first question to sort out when considering logging for Java is to decide which logging framework to use. Unfortunately, there are quite a few to choose from.

The standard Java logging seems to be very unpopular. Further, it seems that Log4j and Logback both have architectural disadvantages to Log4j 2. In specific in respect to the performance impact which logging has on the host app. Loggly ran some tests on the different logging frameworks and the theoretical advantages of Log4j 2 also seem to be reflected in cold, hard data.

Thus, I think the prudent choice is to go with log4j2 in any but exceptional circumstances.

How To Get Started

The official documentation for Log4j 2 is not very approachable. Simply speaking, you only need to do two things to get ready for logging with Log4j 2.

The first is to add the following Maven dependency:

<dependency>
<groupId>org.apache.logging.log4j</groupId>
<artifactId>log4j-api</artifactId>
<version>2.10.0</version>
</dependency>
<dependency>
<groupId>org.apache.logging.log4j</groupId>
<artifactId>log4j-core</artifactId>
<version>2.10.0</version>
</dependency>

The second is to create the file src/main/resources/log4j2.properties in your project with the following content:

status = error
name = PropertiesConfig

filters = threshold

filter.threshold.type = ThresholdFilter
filter.threshold.level = debug

appenders = console

appender.console.type = Console
appender.console.name = STDOUT
appender.console.layout.type = PatternLayout
appender.console.layout.pattern = %d{yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss} %-5p %c{1}:%L - %m%n

rootLogger.level = debug
rootLogger.appenderRefs = stdout
rootLogger.appenderRef.stdout.ref = STDOUT

(Note, you may also provide the configuration in XML format. In that case, simply create file named log4j2.xml in src/main/resources)

Now you are ready to start logging!

import org.apache.logging.log4j.LogManager;
import org.apache.logging.log4j.LogManager;
import org.apache.logging.log4j.Logger;

public class OutputLog { 
  public static void main(String[] args) { 
    Logger logger = LogManager.getLogger(); 
    logger.error("Hi!"); 
  } 
}

Master Class

The real power of using a logging framework is realised by modifying the properties file created earlier.

You can, for instance, configure it to log into a file and rotate this log file automatically (so it doesn’t just keep on growing and growing). The following presents a properties file to enable this:


status = error
name = PropertiesConfig

property.filename = ./logs/log.txt

filters = threshold

filter.threshold.type = ThresholdFilter
filter.threshold.level = debug

appenders = rolling

appender.rolling.type = RollingFile
appender.rolling.name = RollingFile
appender.rolling.fileName = ${filename}
appender.rolling.filePattern = ./logs/log-backup-%d{MM-dd-yy-HH-mm-ss}-%i.log.gz
appender.rolling.layout.type = PatternLayout
appender.rolling.layout.pattern = %d{yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss} %-5p %c{1}:%L - %m%n
appender.rolling.policies.type = Policies
appender.rolling.policies.time.type = TimeBasedTriggeringPolicy
appender.rolling.policies.time.interval = 1
appender.rolling.policies.time.modulate = true
appender.rolling.policies.size.type = SizeBasedTriggeringPolicy
appender.rolling.policies.size.size=10MB
appender.rolling.strategy.type = DefaultRolloverStrategy
appender.rolling.strategy.max = 20

loggers = rolling

logger.rolling.name = file
logger.rolling.level = debug
logger.rolling.additivity = false
logger.rolling.appenderRef.rolling.ref = RollingFile

#rootLogger.level = debug
#rootLogger.appenderRefs = stdout
rootLogger.appenderRef.stdout.ref = RollingFile

This configuration will result in a log file being written into the logs/ folder. If the application is run multiple times, previous log files will be packed into gzipped files:

output

For even more sophisticated logging, you would want to set up a Graylog server and then send the logs there. This can be achieved using the logstash-gelf library. Add the following Maven dependency:

<dependency>
<groupId>biz.paluch.logging</groupId>
<artifactId>logstash-gelf</artifactId>
<version>1.11.1</version>
</dependency>

And then provide a log4j.xml configuration file like the following (replace yourserver.com with your Graylog server):


<Configuration>
<Appenders>
<Gelf name="gelf" host="udp:yourserver.com" port="51401" version="1.1" extractStackTrace="true"
filterStackTrace="true" mdcProfiling="true" includeFullMdc="true" maximumMessageSize="8192"
ignoreExceptions="true">
<Field name="timestamp" pattern="%d{dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss,SSS}" />
<Field name="level" pattern="%level" />
<Field name="simpleClassName" pattern="%C{1}" />
<Field name="className" pattern="%C" />
<Field name="server" pattern="%host" />
<Field name="server.fqdn" pattern="%host{fqdn}" />

<DynamicMdcFields regex="mdc.*" />
<DynamicMdcFields regex="(mdc|MDC)fields" />
</Gelf>
</Appenders>
<Loggers>
<Root level="INFO">
<AppenderRef ref="gelf" />
</Root>
</Loggers>
</Configuration>

Then create a new GELF UDP input in Graylog (& don’t forget to open the firewall for udp port 51401) and you are ready to receive messages!

message

Finally, I personally find the logging frameworks with all their dependencies and insistence on configuration files exactly where they expected them a bit intrusive. Thus, I developed delight-simple-log – this very simply project can be used as a dependency in your reusable component; and then linked with Log4j 2 in the main package for an app. That way, the Log4j dependencies will only be present in one of your modules.

 

 

Setting up Prometheus and Grafana for CentOS / RHEL 7 Monitoring

As mentioned in my previous post, I have long been looking for a centralised solution for collecting logs and monitoring metrics. I think my search was unsuccessful since I was looking for too many things in one solution. Instead I found now two separate solutions, one for log management (using Graylog) and one for metrics (using Prometheus and Grafana). I deployed both of these on very inexpensive VPS machines and so far I am very happy with them.

In this post, I provide some pointers how to set up the metrics solution based on Prometheus and Grafana. I assume you are using a RHEL / CentOS system as the server hosing Prometheus and Grafana and you are interested in the OS metrics for a CentOS system. This tutorial will guide you through setting up the Prometheus server, collecting metrics for it using node_exporter and finally how to create dashboards and alerts using Grafana for the collected metrics.

Installing Prometheus Server

  • Follow the excellent instructions here with the following modifications.
    • Make sure to download the latest version of Prometheus (the link can be obtained on the Prometheus download page, this guide works with version 2.1.0)
    • For the systemd service, use the following file:

[Unit]
Description=Prometheus Server
Documentation=https://prometheus.io/docs/introduction/overview/
After=network-online.target
[Service]
User=root
Restart=on-failure
ExecStart=/opt/prometheus/prometheus --config.file=/opt/prometheus/prometheus.yml
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Note: This configuration will run the Prometheus server as root. In a production environment, it is highly recommended to run it as another user (e.g. ‘prometheus’)

  • If you are using a firewall, add the following rule to /etc/sysconfig/iptables and restart service iptables:

-A INPUT -p tcp -m state --state NEW -m tcp --dport 9090 -j ACCEPT

Viewing a Metric

You should the data of http requests served by the Prometheus server itself. If you click on the tab graph, you can see the data as a graph.

Installing Node Exporter on the Server to be Monitored

tar xvfz node_exporter-*.tar.gz
  • Create link (replace 0.15.2 with the version you have downloaded)

ln -s node_exporter-0.15.2.linux-amd64 node_exporter

  • Define a service for node_exporter in /etc/systemd/system/node_exporter.service

(or if you are using init.d, please see this article).


[Unit]
Description=Node Exporter

[Service]
User=root
ExecStart=/opt/node_exporter/node_exporter --no-collector.diskstats

[Install]
WantedBy=default.target

Note: This configuration will run the Grafana server as root. In a production environment, it is highly recommended to run it as another user (e.g. ‘prometheus’)

(The –no-collector.diskstats is added above since diskstats often does not work in virtualized environments. If that is not an issue for you, be free to leave this argument out.)

  • Enable and start service

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl start node_exporter
systemctl enable node_exporter

  • Tell Prometheus to scrape these metrics by adding the following to /opt/prometheus/prometheus.yml
 - job_name: "node"
static_configs:
- targets: ['localhost:9100']

Now if you got to yourserver.com:9090/graph you can for instance enter the expression node_memory_MemFree and see the free memory available on the server.

You can also install node_exporter on another server. Simply point the job definition then to this servers address; and of course remember to open port 9100 on the server.

Installing Grafana

The default Prometheus interface is quite basic. Thankfully Grafana offers excellent integration with Prometheus and will result in a much nicer UI.

You can easily install Grafana on your own server or use a free cloud-based instance (limited to one user and five dashboards).

To install Grafana locally:

  • First follow these instructions.
  • Graphana by default runs on port 3000, so make sure you add the following firewall rule after you install it:

-A INPUT -p tcp -m state --state NEW -m tcp --dport 3000 -j ACCEPT

  • In the file /etc/grafana/grafana.ini, provide details for an SMTP connection which can be used for sending emails (section [smtp]).
  • Also update the host name in the field domain to the address at which your server can be reached on the internet.

Configuring Grafana

  • Go to yourserver.com:3000
  • The default login is username ‘admin’ and password ‘admin’. Create a new user with a good password and delete the admin user.
  • First connect with your Prometheus instance as a data source.
  • Then go to Dashboards and select import

dashboards

Done! You should now be able to see the metrics for your server such as CPU usage or free memory.

dashboard

If you monitor multiple servers, you can switch between them by clicking next to the text ‘node’.

switch

Additional servers will appear here if you add them to the Prometheus configuration:

- job_name: "node"
 static_configs:
 - targets: ['localhost:9100', 'xxxxx']

Configure Alerting

While Prometheus has some build in alerting facilities, alerting in Grafana is much easier to use. To set up altering for the dashboard you have created:

  • Go to Alerting / Notification Channels
  • Click on New Channel
  • Provide a name for the channel and your email address and click Save.

channel

  • Next go to the dashboard you have created: Node Exporter Server Metrics
  • Click on the first panel to select it

panel

  • Next click on Edit in the menu which is shown above the panel
  • Go to the Alert tab and click on Create Alert

create alert

  • Configure the following condition(for more details about this, please see this page):

condition

  • Select the Notification page on the right
  • In Send to, select the notification channel you have created earlier.
  • Provide a message such as: CPU usage high.
  • Save the dashboard (Ctrl+S)

Done! You should now receive notifications if the CPU usage on any of the servers monitored on this dashboard is too high.

Further Reading

Setting Up Graylog Server

I have been looking around for an easy to use and reasonable priced solution for managing logs distributed among many servers and system metrics for these servers. I had a brief look into setting up an ELK system but I found that looked quite cumbersome. Recently I came across Graylog and I found it looked quite promising. I thus set up a little sample system.

While the documentation for Graylog is generally quite good, I found it a bit difficult to piece together the various steps in setting up a minimal working system. Thus I have documented these steps below!

Installing Graylog and Dependencies

Just follow the excellent CentOS installation instructions from the Graylog documetation.

Make sure to provide details for sending emails under the header # Email transport.

If you are using a firewall, open ports 9000 for TCP and 51400 for UPD. For instance, by assuring the following lines are in /etc/sysconfig/iptables.


-A INPUT -p tcp -m state --state NEW -m tcp --dport 9000 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p udp -m state --state NEW -m udp --dport 51400 -j ACCEPT

Don’t forget to restart the iptables service: sudo systemctl restart iptables.

Collecting the Logs from Another CentOS System

  • Install rsyslog on the system

sudo yum install rsyslog

  • Enable and start rsyslog service (also see this guide)

sudo systemctl enable rsyslog

sudo systemctl start rsyslog

  • Edit the file /etc/rsyslog.conf and put the following line at the end, into the section marked as # ### begin forwarding rule ### (replace yourserver.com with your graylog server address.

*.* @yourserver.com:51400;RSYSLOG_SyslogProtocol23Format

  • Restart rsyslog

sudo systemctl restart rsyslog

The rsyslog log messages should now be getting send to your server. Give it a few minutes if you don’t see the messages in graylog immediately. Otherwise, check the system log for any errors (sudo cat /var/log/messages).

Also, you can test the connection by entering the following on the monitored system:


nc -u yourserver.com 51400
Hi

This should result in the message Hi being received by graylog.

Analysing Logs

The next steps are quite easy to to since they can be done in the excellent graylog user interface.

critical errors

  • Create an alert. Trigger it when there is ‘more than 0’ messages in the stream you have just created.

Done! You are now collecting logs from a server and you will receive an email notification whenever there is a serious issue reported on the server!

Git Versioning: Beyond Revisr

Some time ago, I have written an article about how to set up versioning for WordPress using git. I now came across an article by Newt Labs which have created an infographic about the justification for using git for WordPress. I think this infographic is quite insightful, so I will provide it below (with the kind permission of Newt Labs).

One thing which was of particular interest to me was that there was a handy list of alternatives to Revisr in the graphic. The alternatives are the following:

Personally I have only used Revisr, which worked fine for me. However, I am a bit concerned by their website greeting visitors with a warning about an expired SSL certificate. This should really have been fixed by now and is not building my trust in the tool.

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