Google Cloud Logging – Stackdriver

Google Cloud Logging

  • Cloud Logging is a service for storing, viewing and interacting with logs.
  • Answers the questions “Who did what, where and when” within the GCP projects
  • Maintains non-tamperable audit logs for each project and organizations
  • Logs buckets are a regional resource, which means the infrastructure that stores, indexes, and searches the logs are located in a specific geographical location. Google manages that infrastructure so that the applications are available redundantly across the zones within that region.
  • Cloud Logging is scoped by the project.

Cloud Logging Process

Google Cloud Logging Export

  • For each Google Cloud project, Logging automatically creates two logs buckets: _Required and _Default.
    • _Required bucket
      • holds Admin Activity audit logs, System Event audit logs, and Access Transparency logs
      • retains them for 400 days.
      • the retention period of the logs stored here cannot be modified.
      • aren’t charged for the logs stored in _Required, and
      • cannot delete this bucket.
    • _Default bucket
      • holds all other ingested logs in a Google Cloud project except for the logs held in the _Required bucket.
      • are charged
      • are retained for 30 days, by default, and can be customized from 1 to 3650 days
    • these buckets cannot be deleted
  • All logs generated in the project are stored in the _Required and _Default logs buckets, which live in the project that the logs are generated in
  • Logs buckets only have regional availability, including those created in the global region.

Cloud Logging Types

Cloud Platform Logs

  • Cloud platform logs are service-specific logs that can help troubleshoot and debug issues, as well as better understand the Google Cloud services.
  • Cloud Platform logs are logs generated by GCP services and vary depending on which Google Cloud resources are used in your Google Cloud project or organization.

Security Logs

  • Audit Logs
    • Cloud Audit Logs includes three types of audit logs:
      • Admin Activity,
      • Data Access, and
      • System Event.
    • Cloud Audit Logs provide audit trails of administrative changes and data accesses of the Google Cloud resources.
      • Admin Activity
        • captures user-initiated resource configuration changes
        • enabled by default
        • no additional charge
        • admin activity – administrative actions and API calls
        • have 400-day retention
      • System Events
        • captures system initiated resource configuration changes
        • enabled by default
        • no additional charge
        • system events – GCE system events like live migration
        • have 400-day retention
      • Data Access logs
        • Log API calls that create, modify or read user-provided data for e.g. object created in a GCS bucket.
        • 30-day retention
        • disabled by default
        • size can be huge
        • charged beyond free limits
        • Available for GCP-visible services only. Not available for public resources.
  • Access Transparency Logs
    • provides logs of actions taken by Google staff when accessing the Google Cloud content.
    • can help track compliance with the organization’s legal and regulatory requirements.
    • have 400-day retention

User Logs

  • User logs are generated by user software, services, or applications and written to Cloud Logging using a logging agent, the Cloud Logging API, or the Cloud Logging client libraries
  • Agent logs
    • produced by logging agent installed that collects logs from user applications and VMs
    • covers log data from third-party applications
    • charged beyond free limits
    • 30-day retention

Cloud Logging Export

  • Log entries are stored in logs buckets for a specified length of time i.e. retention period and are then deleted and cannot be recovered
  • Logs can be exported by configuring log sinks, which then continue to export log entries as they arrive in Logging.
  • A sink includes a destination and a filter that selects the log entries to export.
  • Exporting involves writing a filter that selects the log entries to be exported, and choosing a destination from the following options:
    • Cloud Storage: JSON files stored in buckets for long term retention
    • BigQuery: Tables created in BigQuery datasets. for analytics
    • Pub/Sub: JSON messages delivered to Pub/Sub topics to stream to other resources. Supports third-party integrations, such as Splunk
    • Another Google Cloud Cloud project: Log entries held in Cloud Logging logs buckets.
  • Every time a log entry arrives in a project, folder, billing account, or organization resource, Logging compares the log entry to the sinks in that resource. Each sink whose filter matches the log entry writes a copy of the log entry to the sink’s export destination.
  • Exporting happens for new log entries only, it is not retrospective

Log-based Metrics

  • Log-based metrics are based on the content of log entries for e.g., the metrics can record the number of log entries containing particular messages, or they can extract latency information reported in log entries.
  • Log-based metrics can be used in Cloud Monitoring charts and alerting policies.
  • Log-based metrics apply only to a single Google Cloud project. You can’t create them for Logging buckets or for other Google Cloud resources such as Cloud Billing accounts or organizations.
  • Log-based metrics are of two kinds
    • System-defined log-based metrics
      • provided by Cloud Logging for use by all Google Cloud projects.
      • System log-based metrics are calculated from included logs only i.e. they are calculated only from logs that have been ingested by Logging. If a log has been explicitly excluded from ingestion by Logging, it isn’t included in these metrics.
    • User-defined log-based metric
      • user-created to track things in the Google Cloud project for e.g. a log-based metric to count the no. of log entries that match a given filter.
      • User-defined log-based metrics are calculated from both included and excluded logs. i.e. are calculated from all logs received by the Logging API for the Cloud project, regardless of any inclusion filters or exclusion filters that may apply to the Cloud project.
  • Log-based metrics support the following types
    • Counter metrics count the number of log entries matching a given filter.
    • Distribution metrics accumulate numeric data from log entries matching a filter.

Cloud Logging Agent

  • Cloud Logging agent streams logs from VM instances and from selected third-party software packages to Cloud Logging.
  • Cloud Logging Agent helps capture logs from GCE and AWS EC2 instances
  • VM images for GCE and Amazon EC2 don’t include the Logging agent and must be installed explicitly.
  • Cloud Logging Agent uses fluentd for capturing logs
  • Logging features include:
    • Standard system logs (/var/log/syslog and /var/log/messages for Linux, Windows Event Log) collected with no setup.
    • High throughput capability, taking full advantage of multi-core architecture.
    • Efficient resource (e.g. memory, CPU) management.
    • Custom log files.
    • JSON logs.
    • Plain text logs.
    • Regex-based parsing.
    • JSON-based parsing.
  • Logging agent is pre-configured to send logs from VM instances to Cloud Logging which include syslogs, and other third-party applications like Redis,
  • Cloud Logging Agent provides additional plugins and configurations like filter_record_transformer that can help modify, delete log entries before the logs are pushed to Cloud Logging for e.g. masking of sensitive PII information
  • Ops Agent doesn’t directly support automatic log parsing for third-party applications, but it can be configured to parse these files.

Cloud Logging IAM Roles

  • Logs Viewer – View logs except Data Access/Access Transperancy logs
  • Private Logs Viewer – View all logs
  • Logging Admin – Full access to all logging actions
  • Project Viewer – View logs except Data Access/Access Transperancy logs
  • Project Editor – Write, view, and delete logs. Create log based metrics. However, it cannot create export sinks or view Data Access/Access Transperancy logs.
  • Project Owner – Full access to all logging actions

GCP Certification Exam Practice Questions

  • Questions are collected from Internet and the answers are marked as per my knowledge and understanding (which might differ with yours).
  • GCP services are updated everyday and both the answers and questions might be outdated soon, so research accordingly.
  • GCP exam questions are not updated to keep up the pace with GCP updates, so even if the underlying feature has changed the question might not be updated
  • Open to further feedback, discussion and correction.
  1. Your organization is a financial company that needs to store audit log files for 3 years. Your organization has hundreds of Google Cloud projects. You need to implement a cost-effective approach for log file retention. What should you do?
    1. Create an export to the sink that saves logs from Cloud Audit to BigQuery.
    2. Create an export to the sink that saves logs from Cloud Audit to a Coldline Storage bucket.
    3. Write a custom script that uses logging API to copy the logs from Stackdriver logs to BigQuery.
    4. Export these logs to Cloud Pub/Sub and write a Cloud Dataflow pipeline to store logs to Cloud SQL.
  2. Your organization is a financial company that needs to store audit log files for 3 years. Your organization has hundreds of Google Cloud projects. You need to implement a cost-effective approach for log file retention. What should you do?
    1. Create an export to the sink that saves logs from Cloud Audit to BigQuery.
    2. Create an export to the sink that saves logs from Cloud Audit to a Coldline Storage bucket.
    3. Write a custom script that uses logging API to copy the logs from Stackdriver logs to BigQuery.
    4. Export these logs to Cloud Pub/Sub and write a Cloud Dataflow pipeline to store logs to Cloud SQL.

Reference

Google_Cloud_Logging

2 thoughts on “Google Cloud Logging – Stackdriver

  1. Is there any way to know how much monitoring data is generated by our cloud platform in stackdriver daily ? if possible in GB/day.

    I need this to evaluate the cost option for our monitoring programme.

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