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Graylog is a powerful open-source log management and security information and event management (SIEM) technology. Learn how to use Graylog and Graylog SIEM with online courses delivered through edX.

What is Graylog?

Graylog is an open-source log management tool used for collecting, centralizing, indexing, and analyzing unstructured and structured data. Logs are time-stamped data files that document activity within a software or an application. These activities can range from system errors and user activity to cyberattacks and performance issues.Footnote 1

Because systems can produce millions of logs, organizations employ log management tools like Graylog to administer, store, index, and analyze these massive volumes of data.Footnote 2 Log management tools act as valuable security and performance monitoring technologies that provide teams in IT, DevOps, quality assurance, and other disciplines with a detailed snapshot of what’s happening behind the scenes in a system. DevOps and DevSecOps teams integrate Graylog in CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous deployment) pipelines to identify errors and vulnerabilities in a software before it’s released to production. Meanwhile, IT teams analyze data collected by log management tools to assess the state of IT infrastructures and ensure they remain operational.

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Features of Graylog 

Graylog’s platform makes it easy for users to find data with customizable search workflows and dashboards that organizations can modify to meet their unique needs. It also features real-time monitoring, which generates alerts for abnormal behavior. The platform generates an alert whenever it detects an anomaly, enabling faster response times and preventing problems from escalating. Graylog offers three platforms, each one with a different focus:

  • Graylog Operations: Graylog’s log management tool is designed to help IT and DevOps professionals gain better visibility into their systems. Graylog Open is the free, unlicensed version of Graylog Operations.

  • Graylog Security: Graylog Security combines log management with a security information and event management (SIEM) tool that gives IT teams expanded cybersecurity capabilities.

  • Graylog Open: Graylog Open is Graylog’s free, open-sourced version of their log management tool. It’s intended for smaller businesses and can process a maximum of 2GB of data per day.

Graylog tutorial course curriculum

Graylog is a straightforward and user-friendly tool with a relatively shallow learning curve.Footnote 3 If you like to learn independently, Graylog's website provides a wealth of information and educational resources. Learners looking for a more structured approach can opt to take a Graylog tutorial for beginners that provides them with a more in-depth look into this technology. 

To properly work with Graylog, you’ll need to understand the following concepts:

  • Graylog architectural components (Graylog, MongoDB, and Elasticsearch)Footnote 4

  • Graylog Docker

  • Graylog search interface and syntaxFootnote 5

  • Dashboards 

  • Search action items 

  • Events and alerts

  • Pipelines, streams, and indicesFootnote 6

Jobs that use Graylog 

Jobs that require applicants to use log management systems like Graylog can be found in IT, DevOps, software engineering, and their related disciplines:

  • DevOps: DevOps teams use log files to gain better visibility into CI/CD pipelines and quickly identify and fix software bugs.

  • ITOps: ITOps professionals use log files to assess the health of IT infrastructures, perform routine maintenance, and manage incidents.Footnote 7

  • DevSecOps: DevSecOps teams use logs to identify vulnerabilities in a software before it goes to production.Footnote 8

  • IT analysts: IT analysts use logs to ensure that IT systems are meeting operational and business goals.

  • SecOps: SecOps teams use logs to derive valuable data for incident response, perform root cause analyses of security events, and develop threat prevention strategies.Footnote 9

Each of these roles can have different educational and skills requirements. If you are interested in advancing your knowledge of how to work with log management or other related topics in the field, consider online learning. edX offers a wide range of educational pathways, from specialized boot camps that allow you to focus on specific skills to full programs that enable you to earn a bachelor’s degree or pursue a master’s degree. Find the right fit for your personal and professional goals.  

How to use Graylog in IT operations

Log management tools are essential for gaining visibility into what goes on in an IT environment. ITOps teams leverage insights gleaned from log files to ensure that IT systems remain safe, efficient, and operational.Footnote 10 Some of the tasks that a tool like Graylog can assist ITOps teams with are:

  • Monitoring and optimizing IT infrastructure: Data from log management systems like Graylog helps ITOps teams analyze anomalies in an IT system and identify improvement areas.Footnote 11

  • Root cause analysis: Whether an IT team is handling a routine ticket or searching for the cause of a security breach, logs are one of their most valuable tools for effective troubleshooting.

  • Incident prevention and management: Graylog’s alert system enables fast detection and response to security threats. In addition, ITOps teams can employ data from logs to develop more effective security strategies.Footnote 12