Beginner

Mastering ELK stack

What is the ELK Stack?

The ELK stack is an acronym used to describe a stack that comprises three popular projects: Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana. Often referred to as Elasticsearch, the ELK stack gives you the ability to aggregate logs from all your systems and applications, analyze these logs, and create visualizations for application and infrastructure monitoring, faster troubleshooting, security analytics, and more.

E = Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch is a distributed search and analytics engine built on Apache Lucene. Support for various languages, high performance, and schema-free JSON documents makes Elasticsearch an ideal choice for various log analytics and search use cases. 

A lot of people thinks that ELK is open source but Elastic NV recently announced that they have changed their software licensing strategy and not release new versions of Elasticsearch and Kibana under the permissive Apache License, Version 2.0 (ALv2) license. Instead, new versions of the software will be offered under the Elastic license, with source code available under the Elastic License or SSPL. These licenses are not open source and do not offer users the same freedoms. 

L = Logstash

Logstash is an open-source data ingestion tool that allows you to collect data from various sources, transform it, and send it to your desired destination. With prebuilt filters and support for over 200 plugins, Logstash allows users to easily ingest data regardless of the data source or type. Logstash is a lightweight, open-source, server-side data processing pipeline that allows you to collect data from various sources, transform it on the fly, and send it to your desired destination. It is most often used as a data pipeline for Elasticsearch, an open-source analytics and search engine. Because of its tight integration with Elasticsearch, powerful log processing capabilities, and over 200 prebuilt open-source plugins that can help you easily index your data, Logstash is a popular choice for loading data into Elasticsearch.

Easily load unstructured data

Logstash allows you to easily ingest unstructured data from various data sources including system logs, website logs, and application server logs. 

Prebuilt filters

Logstash offers prebuilt filters, so you can readily transform common data types, index them in Elasticsearch, and start querying without having to build custom data transformation pipelines.

Flexible plugin architecture

With over 200 plugins already available on GitHub, it is likely that someone has already built the plugin that you need to customize your data pipeline. But if one is not available that suits your requirements, you can easily create one yourself.

K = Kibana

Kibana is a data visualization and exploration tool used for log and time-series analytics, application monitoring, and operational intelligence use cases. It offers powerful and easy-to-use features such as histograms, line graphs, pie charts, heat maps, and built-in geospatial support. Also, it provides tight integration with Elasticsearch, a popular analytics and search engine, which makes Kibana the default choice for visualizing data stored in Elasticsearch.

As mentioned before, Elastic NV announced that they have changed their software licensing strategy and not release new versions of Elasticsearch and Kibana under the permissive Apache License, Version 2.0 (ALv2) license. Instead, new versions of the software will be offered under the Elastic license, with source code available under the Elastic License or SSPL. These licenses are not open source and do not offer users the same freedoms. The OpenSearch suite consists of a search engine, OpenSearch, and a visualization and user interface, OpenSearch Dashboards.

You can run Kibana on premises, on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), or on Apache 2.0 licensed versions (up to version 7.10.2) of Amazon OpenSearch Service. OpenSearch Dashboards is an open-source alternative to Kibana, which is also available to self-manage. It was derived from the last open-source version of Kibana (7.10.2). It contains many advancements and is well supported through the OpenSearch Project. With on-premises or Amazon EC2 deployments, you are responsible for provisioning the infrastructure, installing Kibana or OpenSearch Dashboards software, and managing the infrastructure. With OpenSearch Service, Kibana or OpenSearch Dashboards are deployed automatically with your domain as a fully managed service, automatically taking care of all the heavy lifting to manage the cluster.

Interactive charts

Kibana offers intuitive charts and reports that you can use to interactively navigate through large amounts of log data. You can dynamically drag time windows, zoom in and out of specific data subsets, and drill down on reports to extract actionable insights from your data.

Mapping support

Kibana comes with powerful geospatial capabilities, so you can seamlessly layer in geographical information on top of your data and visualize results on maps.

Prebuilt aggregations and filters

Using Kibana’s prebuilt aggregations and filters, you can run various analytics like histograms, top-N queries, and trends in just a few steps.

Easily accessible dashboards

You can easily set up dashboards and reports and share them with others. All you need is a browser to view and explore the data.

How does the ELK stack work?

  1. Logstash ingests, transforms, and sends the data to the right destination.
  2. Elasticsearch indexes, analyzes, and searches the ingested data.
  3. Kibana visualizes the results of the analysis.

What does the ELK stack do?

The ELK stack is used to solve a wide range of problems, including log analytics, document search, security information and event management (SIEM), and observability. It provides the search and analytics engine, data ingestion, and visualization.

Why is the ELK stack important?

The ELK stack fulfills a need in the log analytics space. As more and more of your IT infrastructure moves to public clouds, you need a log management and analytics solution to monitor this infrastructure and process any server logs, application logs, and clickstreams. The ELK stack provides a simple yet robust log analysis solution for your developers and DevOps engineers to gain valuable insights on failure diagnosis, application performance, and infrastructure monitoring—at a fraction of the price.

Openstack Certification

What is Opemstack?

OpenStack, a cloud operating system, controls large pools of computing, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard. OpenStack is free and open-source, but if you are going for a vendor-specific version, it might cost you. This revolutionary platform addresses the need of organizations to have flexible and automated resource provisioning and orchestration devices. OpenStack aims to promote open source cloud platforms which are believed to be the future of Cloud Computing.

As the market share for OpenStack keeps increasing (expected to reach 5.38 billion U.S dollars by 2020) and because of the huge benefits it offers businesses, the demand for OpenStack qualified engineers and developers is hitting the roof. OpenStack provides an attractive solution for end-users who seek to build an inexpensive cloud and for system vendors looking to transition to a services model. OpenStack is well supported in the industry, and has also grown dramatically in scope.

Unless you’ve been living in another dimension, you know that OpenStack has grown to be one of the most popular cloud computing platforms, and that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. 

Same as with any popular technology, businesses are investing in OpenStack because it allows them to do so many otherwise unattainable things.‍

The importance of OpenStack lies in its flexibility, scalability, and adaptability. Plus, by being an open-source platform, it helps businesses minimize their infrastructure costs, and what’s something they constantly look for other than reducing costs?

All in all, OpenStack helps improve business agility, increases the efficiency of crucial processes, and makes resources more available. 

All that being said, you’re right to think that businesses who want to stay relevant (I mean, what kind of business doesn’t?) will want to embrace this technology. Or, more precisely, they will NEED to.

And you, if you want to keep your skills relevant (I mean, why would you not?), you’ll want to have the expertise and the practical experience needed to work with OpenStack.

So stay with me, as I’ll be talking to you about four of the many reasons you should learn OpenStack.

Reason 1: You Have To

Okay… that was a little aggressive. 

What I wanted to say is, because of the deep involvement of OpenStack, no matter what path you take, you’re so likely to encounter it at any point in your career. This makes having this skill in your pocket a great power. Because as you know, knowledge is power.

Reason 2: It Will Open The Doors For You

With more and more businesses using open source software to support their operations (up to 78% in 2015), the skills needed to support the company’s needs have become more in demand than ever before. 

This can mean that your dream company is looking for you.

Well, not yet. Not until you learn OpenStack.

What I’m saying is, that learning an in-demand skill can grant you the keys to doors you always wanted to open (I know, poetry isn’t my thing. But you got my point, right?)

Reason 3: The Elephant In The Room.

Yes, money. 

While I don’t encourage anyone to do something just because of the money, I don’t mind doing something you enjoy that also makes you good money. And although it may seem like an unreachable daydream for so many people, it may not be the case for you.

Reason 4: Because You Can

Now, I understand that learning and especially practicing OpenStack isn’t as accessible or affordable as you’d like to. The training available to you is mostly theory-based and so expensive, not to mention that there aren’t OpenStack labs for you to practice, and you’ll most likely need to set up your own lab if you want to practice what you learned, and who has time to do that?

After I depressed you with what I just said, it’s time for the ray of sunshine.

Because the good news is, that LabLabee is launching a new OpenStack training that has been designed with all those concerns in mind. 

In this training, you will:

  • Have access to LabLabee’s OpenStack labs.
  • Gain practical experience, as we focus on practice and not only theory.
  • Be trained by an industry professional. 
  • And of course, not pay a fortune.

Azure fundamentals

 

Today, cloud computing applications and platforms are rapidly growing across all industries, serving as the IT infrastructure that drives new digital businesses. These platforms and applications have revolutionized the ways in which businesses function, and have made processes easier. In fact, more than 77 percent of businesses today have at least some portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud.

While there are many cloud computing platforms available, two platforms dominate the cloud computing industry. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are the two giants in the world of cloud computing.

While AWS is the largest cloud computing platform, Microsoft Azure is the fastest-growing and second-largest.

Before diving into what is Azure, you should first know what cloud computing is.

 

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a technology that provides access to various computing resources over the internet. All you need to do is use your computer or mobile device to connect to your cloud service provider through the internet. Once connected, you get access to computing resources, which may include serverless computing, virtual machines, storage, and various other things.

Basically, cloud service providers have massive data centers that contain hundreds of servers, storage systems and components that are crucial for many kinds of organizations. These data centers are in secure locations and store a large amount of data. The users connect to these data centers to collect data or use it when required. Users can take advantage of various services; for example, if you want a notification every time someone sends you a text or an email, cloud services can help you. The best part about cloud platforms is that you pay only for the services you use, and there are no charges upfront.

Cloud computing can be used for various purposes: machine learning, data analysis, storage and backup, streaming media content and so much more. Here’s an interesting fact about the cloud: all the shows and movies that you see on Netflix are actually stored in the cloud. Also, the cloud can be beneficial for creating and testing applications, automating software delivery, and hosting blogs.

Why is Cloud Computing Important?

Let’s assume that you have an idea for a revolutionary application that can provide great user experience and can become highly profitable. For the application to become successful, you will need to release it on the internet for people to find it, use it, and spread the word about its advantages. However, releasing an application on the internet is not as easy as it seems.

To do so, you will need various components, like servers, storage devices, developers, dedicated networks, and application security to ensure that your solution works the way it is intended to. These are a lot of components, which can be problematic.

Buying each of these components individually is very expensive and risky. You would need a huge amount of capital to ensure that your application works properly. And if the application doesn’t become popular, you would lose your investment. On the flip side, if the application becomes immensely popular, you will have to buy more servers and storage to cater to more users, which can again increase your costs. This is where cloud computing can come to the rescue. It has many benefits, including offering safe storage and scalability all at once.

What is Microsoft Azure?

Azure is a cloud computing platform and an online portal that allows you to access and manage cloud services and resources provided by Microsoft. These services and resources include storing your data and transforming it, depending on your requirements. To get access to these resources and services, all you need to have is an active internet connection and the ability to connect to the Azure portal.

Things that you should know about Azure:

  • It was launched on February 1, 2010, significantly later than its main competitor, AWS.
  • It’s free to start and follows a pay-per-use model, which means you pay only for the services you opt for.
  • Interestingly, 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies use Azure services for their cloud computing needs.
  • Azure supports multiple programming languages, including Java, Node Js, and C#.
  • Another benefit of Azure is the number of data centers it has around the world. There are 42 Azure data centers spread around the globe, which is the highest number of data centers for any cloud platform. Also, Azure is planning to get 12 more data centers, which will increase the number of data centers to 54, shortly.
  •  

What are the Various Azure Services and How does Azure Work?

Azure provides more than 200 services, are divided into 18 categories. These categories include computing, networking, storage, IoT, migration, mobile, analytics, containers, artificial intelligence, and other machine learning, integration, management tools, developer tools, security, databases, DevOps, media identity, and web services. Let’s take a look at some of the major Azure services by category:

Compute Services  

  • Virtual Machine

    This service enables you to create a virtual machine in Windows, Linux or any other configuration in seconds.

  • Cloud Service

    This service lets you create scalable applications within the cloud. Once the application is deployed, everything, including provisioning, load balancing, and health monitoring, is taken care of by Azure. 

  • Service Fabric

    With service fabric, the process of developing a microservice is immensely simplified. Microservice is an application that contains other bundled smaller applications.

  • Functions

    With functions, you can create applications in any programming language. The best part about this service is that you need not worry about hardware requirements while developing applications because Azure takes care of that. All you need to do is provide the code.

 

Networking

  • Azure CDN

    Azure CDN (Content Delivery Network) is for delivering content to users. It uses a high bandwidth, and content can be transferred to any person around the globe. The CDN service uses a network of servers placed strategically around the globe so that the users can access the data as soon as possible.

  • Express Route 

    This service lets you connect your on-premise network to the Microsoft cloud or any other services that you want, through a private connection. So, the only communications that will happen here will be between the enterprise network and the service that you want. 

  • Virtual network

    The virtual network allows you to have any of the Azure services communicate with one another privately and securely. 

  • Azure DNS

    This service allows you to host your DNS domains or system domains on Azure.

Storage

  • Disk Storage 

    This service allows you to choose from either HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or SSD (Solid State Drive) as your storage option along with your virtual machine.

  • Blob Storage 

    This service is optimized to store a massive amount of unstructured data, including text and even binary data. 

  • File Storage

    This is a managed file storage service that can be accessed via industry SMB (server message block) protocol. 

  • Queue Storage 

    With queue storage, you can provide stable message queuing for a large workload. This service can be accessed from anywhere in this world.

Next in this what is Azure article, let’s look at what are the uses of Azure.

Why Use Azure?

Now that you know more about Azure and the services it provides, you might be interested in exploring the various uses of Azure.

  • Application development: You can create any web application in Azure.
  • Testing: After developing an application successfully on the platform, you can test it.
  • Application hosting: Once the testing is done, Azure can help you host the application.
  • Create virtual machines: You can create virtual machines in any configuration you want with the help of Azure. 
  • Integrate and sync features: Azure lets you integrate and sync virtual devices and directories. 
  • Collect and store metrics: Azure lets you collect and store metrics, which can help you find what works. 
  • Virtual hard drives: These are extensions of the virtual machines; they provide a huge amount of data storage.
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