The Best log monitoring tools in 2022

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March 10, 2022

DNS Log Viewers, what is logging?, tasks, legal requirements

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The best log monitoring tools (log viewers)

Log monitoring software monitors the log files generated by the servers, applications, and network by detecting patterns in these files and alerting users to them. In doing so, the software helps identify performance and security issues and resolve them. Administrators use log monitoring software to detect important events that appear in the log files.


Splunk is well known in system administration and monitoring. Log file sources (whether text file data originating from a remote system, syslog, trap, or other data stream) are aggregated, indexed, and stored on the server running Splunk. A data sorting and filtering utility is built in, as are functions for alerting, writing to files, and more.

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Paessler PRTG

By using additional sensors, PRTG can extend its network monitor solution to monitor a variety of other targets. Two different sensors are available for log monitoring and management. The Event Log Windows API sensor is designed to capture Windows event log messages, as its name suggests. However, instead of triggering based on a specific message type or keyword pattern, this sensor monitors the rate of log messages and issues an alert when the rate reaches a critical threshold. The other log-related sensor is for syslog. This sensor aggregates messages and sends a warning message when either a specific message type is received or when the rate of specific messages exceeds a threshold.

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XpoLog aggregates log files from selected sources and then monitors the locations / files that fall within that scope. Once the data is centralized, it is merged into the XpoLog database for processing. These records can be searched and filtered for analysis and the results can be written to files and analyzed by date or by other criteria. XpoLog analyzes data from a variety of sources, including Apache server logs, AWS, Windows and Linux event logs, and Microsoft IIS. It can be installed on systems running Mac OS X 10.11 through 10.13, Windows 8 through 10, Windows Server 2008 R2 through 2016, and all Linux distributions with kernel 2.6 or higher. In addition, there is a cloud-based option.

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Graylog is a free open-source log management tool that can be used to analyze, normalize and enrich logs and event data. Processing rules allow you to set multiple options for routing messages, blacklisting, and whitelisting, and modifying log messages before they move to the next processing stage. Graylog also has a robust dashboard feature that allows you to filter out readings from log messages and then display them in a variety of ways, including graphs and charts. Of course, alerts and notifications are also possible. The only difference between the open-source version (free) and the paid version is the additional offline archiving, user audit logs, support and an “implementation quick start” to help you get up and running faster.

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ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer

ManageEngine is another network management tool vendor known among IT professionals. This utility collects, manages, analyzes, correlates and searches log data from over 700 sources. To do this, it uses a combination of agentless and agent-based log collection, but also gives you the option to import logs directly if desired. With a frequency of 25,000 messages per second and real-time attack detection, it can also quickly perform forensic analysis and reduce the potential impact of a breach. Note that the free version is limited to five log sources.

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What is logging?

In IT terminology, logging stands for the automated recording of events and status messages that are continuously generated during the operation of IT systems or the execution of software processes. These can be error or status messages. The task of log management is to collect, summarize and store all this log data. This is what makes it possible to search, analyze and create reports in the first place. The log files created by logging contain information and events that are time-stamped and arranged chronologically in the file. Since the files are often limited in size, either several files are created, or the content is overwritten after a certain time.

Security Configuration Management (SCM) or File Integrity Monitoring (FIM), for example, can help minimize such risks and reduce the attack surface. However, the greatest possible protection of your own infrastructure can only be achieved if you have an overview of what is going on in the environment. This is where log management with so called log viewers comes into play.

Tasks of a log management

In summary, log management basically must fulfill numerous requirements. These are the following tasks:

  • Collecting the log data supplied by the various systems
  • Unifying the log data in a central location
  • Saving, archiving and retaining the log data
  • Providing analysis, search and reporting functions

For this purpose, the logging systems send their log data to the log management (active collection) or the log management retrieves the data from the systems (passive collection).

Legal requirements for log management

Besides technical requirements, legal requirements must also be met for some industries, such as in the financial environment or in healthcare. Legal obligations can be compliance guidelines or the traceability of transactions, which must be ensured. Standards such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) or the DSGVO (General Data Protection Regulation) are among them.

Log management and SIEM

When talking about log management, the term SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) comes up often. This allows security-relevant events, security incidents or discrepancies in IT infrastructures to be detected and thus actions to be taken for automated alerting. SIEM solutions enable events to be secured forensically and also provide an overview of the IT security situation and give security experts insights into the activities of the systems.