Chapter 14. Logging and Analyzing Activity in a VoltDB Database


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Chapter 14. Logging and Analyzing Activity in a VoltDB Database

VoltDB uses Log4J, an open source logging service available from the Apache Software Foundation, to provide access to information about database events. By default, when using the VoltDB shell commands, the console display is limited to warnings, errors, and messages concerning the status of the current process. A more complete listing of messages (of severity INFO and above) is written to log files in the subfolder /log, relative to the user's current default location.

The advantages of using Log4J are:

  • Logging is compiled into the code and can be enabled and configured at run-time.

  • Log4J provides flexibility in configuring what events are logged, where, and the format of the output.

  • By using Log4J in your client applications, you can integrate the logging and analysis of both the database and the application into a single consistent output stream.

  • By using an open source logging service with standardized output, there are a number of different applications, such as Chainsaw, available for filtering and presenting the results.

Logging is important because it can help you understand the performance characteristics of your application, check for abnormal events, and ensure that the application is working as expected.

Of course, any additional processing and I/O will have an incremental impact on the overall database performance. To counteract any negative impact, Log4J gives you the ability to customize the logging to support only those events and servers you are interested in. In addition, when logging is not enabled, there is no impact to VoltDB performance. With VoltDB, you can even change the logging profile on the fly without having to shutdown or restart the database.

The following sections describe how to enable and customize logging of VoltDB using Log4J. This chapter is not intended as a tutorial or complete documentation of the Log4J logging service. For general information about Log4J, see the Log4J web site at

14.1. Introduction to Logging

Logging is the process of writing information about application events to a log file, console, or other destination. Log4J uses XML files to define the configuration of logging, including three key attributes:

  • Where events are logged. The destinations are referred to as appenders in Log4J (because events are appended to the destinations in sequential order).

  • What events are logged. VoltDB defines named classes of events (referred to as loggers) that can be enabled as well as the severity of the events to report.

  • How the logging messages are formatted (known as the layout),