Review: LogMeister

Technology Lighthouse
Glasgow, UK
+44 (0) 141 891 5884

There are some administrative tasks that developers really should pay attention to. For instance, go take a look at the event log on your computer. Eek! What are all those errors? And when was the last time you looked? If you're running Windows with a batch of software installed, you really need to periodically monitor the logs. This applies even more if you have a network of test machines and servers that you're responsible for.

Fortunately, there are plenty of applications out there to monitor logs. I recently took a look at some alternatives in this market for a customer of mine, and LogMeister is looking pretty promising. It's got an excellent mix of features at a reasonable price. For starters, it can monitor more than just event logs: it also handles plain text logs, Windows ICF logs, RSS feeds, and even some rudimentary Web site monitoring. You can combine multiple feeds into an aggregate feed (for example, all Exchange events from the various Exchange servers around your organizations).

Setting up LogMeister consists of creating feeds and notifications. A feed is anything you're keeping an eye on; there's a simple wizard-based interface for creating feeds. You can also add filters to any feed, so if you're only interested in (for example) errors from a particular servce in the system event log, it's easy to specify that. Setting up notifications is easy too. A notification can serve one or more feeds, and tells you when something new turns up in the feed. You can use application popups ("toast"), e-mail, or file output in various formats (including RSS) as notifications. Notifications can also run a batch file or application when they're invoked.

Other features here include HTML reporting, exports to XML, CSV, and other formats, and multiple "satellite windows" to let you display feeds on your desktop if you want to monitor them in real time. And the price is very good as well - for one license, you can monitor any number of servers; you only license the clients where you actually run the software. All in all, this is a superior entrant in the monitoring market.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.

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