Tag Archives: change history

Strategies to Log & Retain Activity Data

My previous article The Need to Log & Retain Activity Data argued the very need of logging & retaining data. In this post, I am listing out various logging strategies along with some brief explanation, utility, associated constraints and effectiveness of each method. As highlighted before, most people fail to understand the difference between logs/traces, audit trails and database time-stamps. Each of Log/Trace, Audit Trail & Timestamping has its purpose, pros and cons.

Log or Trace

When I think of a log, the first thing that comes to my mind is a trace consisting of developer injected SOPs (SysOuts), messages/exceptions generated by the server or any third-party component used. This trace could be written to a flat file or a database table.


2009-31-12 23:59:59 ::: LoginServlet >>> john.doe >>> Incorrect Password – 10/Nov/09:13:55:36 -0700 “GET /logo.gif HTTP/1.0” 200 2326
instantiated Bean: com.detangle.ejbs.whatever
Java.Lang.NullPointerException at …..
Connected to ProductionDB: Saved record #862
Executed Query: INSERT INTO SUPPLIERS… : 1 row affected
inside getSuppliersForCategory: Category = “Laptops” Continue reading Strategies to Log & Retain Activity Data

The Need to Log & Retain Activity Data

In the current age of On-Demand & SaaS combined with multi-tenant hosting, we are likely to generate tons of activity data every hour. For this data to be useful to administration & support teams, IT has to plan for its conversion to information. The strategy to implement information logging should be built right into the development process.

The Confusion

However, to most people, that I have communicated with while developing systems,

  • the terms Audit log, server log, audit trail, time-stamping, change history are synonymous
  • implementing ‘soft-delete’ probably appears a development overhead

I don’t know if it is because of exposure to ERP or otherwise, but unlike these people, I am overly sensitive to recording audit trails. Are you one of these? Are you not convinced about implementing a logging strategy? Then this post was written thinking about you. Continue reading The Need to Log & Retain Activity Data