Introduction: The Open Source Logging Debate

There have been several discussions around open source logging software recently. While open source projects have their merits, it's essential to understand that they are not a free pass to an all-you-can-eat buffet. LogZilla began as an open source project called PHP-Syslog-NG, so we have experience on both sides of the field. This article examines the total cost of ownership of open source logging tools and why licensing is only a minuscule portion of the total solution.

Open Source vs. LogZilla: Total Cost of Ownership

If you're a DIY person with ample time, coding and admin skills, and want to take ownership of your solution, open source can be a good fit. However, there are cost savings from licensing and labor, and you should consider the opportunity cost. Our research shows that most open source solutions require external support and numerous add-ons to provide the functionality needed to solve problems. These add-ons are often provided by companies that charge licensing, maintenance, and support fees.

Unplanned expenses can impact your budget, and larger deployments tend to be more expensive. High messaging rates increase infrastructure costs for compute instances and storage, and you'll be managing more servers.

Factors to Consider when Choosing an Open Source Solution

When looking at open-source logging solutions, consider the following points:

  • Software license costs are generally a small component of the overall cost of a solution.
  • There are internal costs associated with architecture, deployment, and management of the solution. These include determining the scale of the deployment, tools for managing performance, and resources needed to effectively show value from the solution.

Tools like LogZilla are designed to save customers money. When compared to open source tools, we've found that LogZilla offers:

  • An average of 10-20 open source servers for each LogZilla server.
  • Approximately 60% more storage cost per day with open source.
  • Increased complexity with the administration and management of large open-source deployments.

In cloud environments, spinning up a compute instance is not free. In fact, you might spend more money on cloud instances than using a managed service. Consider the following for a 5TB per day logging solution:

  • LogZilla cost savings.
  • Open source is a DIY engagement, or you pay for support and services. You will allocate your internal resources going forward, just like software development companies. Extensive resources are required, especially with larger deployments and more complex architecture.

LogZilla: Scalability, Efficiency, and Ease of Use

Will the open source solution be easy for end users to learn? Will there be costs associated with training users and taking them out of their roles to train on usage? LogZilla can be learned in about 30 minutes of use.

Will the open source solution require any special programming language to query data? Many open source tools require learning SQL-like syntax for simple queries. LogZilla uses a simple Google-like search.

Open Source Support and Data Confidentiality Concerns

Open source support is either through the community or via a paid engagement. Running a high-availability solution generally requires support level agreements, which are not cheap. With LogZilla, all support and maintenance are included with the subscription.

Data confidentiality with open source solutions is a gray area. The community is very active with support, but there are no security or IP protections when sharing an issue. Anyone posting data for support might be violating corporate data agreements. Research on security and compliance requirements, as well as enforcement processes, need to be considered. LogZilla has operated a secure support infrastructure for years.

Performance Comparison: Open Source Tools vs. LogZilla

Performance of open source tools is often a running issue. Many open source tools are built with Java and other memory-inefficient tools. Larger processing loads require more dedicated resources, which directly impacts cost. LogZilla was built to be the most scalable log management solution available, and resource utilization is a fraction of what other tools require. Hardware, storage, management, and administration savings help to reduce the overall total cost of ownership of an enterprise-level technology.

LogZilla has a very high-performance engine, which allows for cost reductions in compute instances, storage, and system administration. It:

  • Parses unstructured data at rates considered impossible.
  • Is orders of magnitude more efficient than every other competitor.
  • Reduces capital cost on computing resources by 75%.
  • Reduces operating cost by up to 40%.
  • Does not use a storage-based licensing model.
  • Can be a complementary solution to competitive solutions by offering a "pre-processing" unit, saving the customer 40-90% on current licensing.

The Bottom Line: Evaluating the True Cost of Open Source Logging Solutions

Open source software licensing might be free, but there are actually costs associated with it. If you would like to learn more about how LogZilla can make your team more proactive and how you can look like a Network Hero, contact us, and we'll tell you how to install LogZilla in just a few minutes!

Real-World Use Cases

  1. Insurance: An insurance company used LogZilla to reduce storage costs and simplify log management, improving security and compliance.
  2. Healthcare: A healthcare provider implemented LogZilla to enhance data confidentiality, ensuring sensitive patient information is secure.
  3. Banking: A bank chose LogZilla for its scalability, efficiency, and ease of use, reducing capital and operating costs while improving system performance.
  4. Retail: A large retail chain adopted LogZilla to manage its extensive log data, streamlining administration and improving system stability.
  5. Telecom: A telecommunications company used LogZilla to efficiently parse unstructured data and improve network monitoring.
  6. Agriculture: An agribusiness implemented LogZilla to optimize resource utilization, reducing the overall cost of managing their log data.

April 11, 2017

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