Flux Research Group / School of Computing

Spell: Streaming Parsing of System Event Logs

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Min Du and Feifei Li

16th IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM) 2016.

DOI: 10.1109/ICDM.2016.0103


System event logs have been frequently used as a valuable resource in data-driven approaches to enhance system health and stability. A typical procedure in system log analytics is to first parse unstructured logs, and then apply data analysis on the resulting structured data. Previous work on parsing system event logs focused on offline, batch processing of raw log files. But increasingly, applications demand online monitoring and processing. We propose an online streaming method Spell, which utilizes a longest common subsequence based approach, to parse system event logs. We show how to dynamically extract log patterns from incoming logs and how to maintain a set of discovered message types in streaming fashion. Evaluation results on large real system logs demonstrate that even compared with the offline alternatives, Spell shows its superiority in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness.