Tag Archives: Lager

Basho and Open Source

July 23, 2013

This week is O’Reilly OSCON, a conference dedicated to all things open source. Basho is a sponsor and Basho engineer, Eric Redmond, will be delivering a presentation entitled “Distributed Patterns In Action“.

Basho first open sourced Riak in 2009. It’s a decision that helped us grow our business, and become a leader in newer, agile enterprise environments. Our participation in the open source community benefits our culture, our development process, and our business.

In honor of OSCON, we thought it important to explore the commercial aspects of our open source decision.

The Business of Open Source

Open source is in the DNA of our company, with both Riak and Riak CS available under the Apache 2 license. (It is worth noting that these products are but a few of our open source contributions, which also include Webmachine and Lager.) To turn this great code into a business, we chose to stay true to our roots as a software company, instead of just selling services. The enterprise versions of Riak and Riak CS offer the entirety of our open source software, with the addition of multi-datacenter replication and monitoring capabilities.

The decision to sell licenses to the enterprise, rather than to rely just on services, makes Basho unique. It allows us to engage with our enterprise customers in the transformation of their application architecture. They can be confident in the software’s availability and in Basho’s commitments to support them – as customers. Enterprises need an alternative to traditional database vendors, but one that can still fit — in license structure, operational management, and process integration — into a traditional organization.

Our licensing model for Riak Enterprise and Riak CS Enterprise lets us balance agility with tradition. Our community helps us develop groundbreaking software, while the enterprise license helps corporate IT and Operations sleep at night.

Open source drives adoption (a concept discussed at length in Stephen O’Grady’s book The New Kingmakers). That means Riak is used across many different industries, powering thousands of applications. That commercial validation — our success in production deployments — is accelerated due to the open source availability.

We remain keenly aware, and tremendously appreciative, that our community (from the individuals to the large organizations) guides Riak and Riak CS updates, and has been crucial to the refinement and forward momentum of this software.

Basho’s success is open source’s success. Our strengths reside both in our team and in our community, as their combined efforts improve our technology and its utilization. We are excited to see what other open source showcases are in view at OSCON 2013.

Greg Collins

Syslog and Riak 1.3

April 8, 2013

Logs are an important part of understanding the health of any system. They provide historic records of events with information that may not be seen when running ad-hoc commands like riak-admin or reviewing the data gathered and trended from riak-admin status or http://$riakNode/stats.

When used correctly, logs can forewarn of an issue as well as provide forensic evidence to use after the event.

By default, Riak’s logging is split sensibly into different files for different types of log data: errors, crash and console. Take a look in /var/log/riak or /var/log/riak-cs to explore further.

Since you may have five to 50 nodes in your Riak cluster (we recommend that you have at least five nodes), reviewing those logs by hand would be a timely and repetitive task. This makes it unlikely that you’d catch any events as they’re happening.

Gathering logs centrally for analysis is the best way to resolve this and make this easier. Riak has Syslog support through its logging framework – Lager.


Lager is another great open source project from Basho. We recommend checking out the project page for full details, but a summary of its features are:

  • Custom formatting
  • Runtime changes
  • Internal log rotation (yes, sysadmin, we already have you covered)
  • AMQP support
  • SMTP support
  • Syslog Support
  • Loggly Support
  • Tracing

Configuring Lager to use Syslog is as easy as opening your /etc/riak/app.config then navigating down to Lager’s configuration section. Here, you can replace the existing handlers section with

{handlers, [
{lager_syslog_backend, ["riak", local1, info]},
] },

Then, in your local syslog.conf you may add the following: (Please remember Syslog likes tabs between sections, not spaces. If you copy and paste, you will need to edit the line accordingly.)

local1.info             /var/log/riak_info.log

Both Riak and Syslog will require restarting to apply the changes.

You can add multiple handlers for the various levels you wish to configure. You can also use a hybrid approach, leaving Lager managing some levels while Syslog manages others. Check out the Lager Syslog project page for more information.

The next step in your logging solution would be to redirect the logs to your central Syslog server. Doing so is outside the scope of this post, but there are many great guides available that describe the process.

Analysis Tools

There are some excellent tools out there for log file anaylsis. These include: Splunk and Logstash, which can both be run locally, and Loggly and Papertrail, which are Software as a Service.

What am I seeing?

When using one of these tools, we recommend that you set up alerts for common, frequent, and important messages. Check our online documentation for descriptions of common messages to get started.

Further Help

If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact the team and community:

IRC – irc.freenode.net #riak

Email – http://lists.basho.com/mailman/listinfo/riak-users_lists.basho.com

Or, if you’re an enterprise customer, contact us through your support account.

Team Client Services