Visualizing trends in your logs is critical when troubleshooting an issue with your application. Using the histogram in Logs Explorer, you can quickly visualize log volumes over time to help spot anomalies, detect when errors started and see a breakdown of log volumes. But static visualizations are not as helpful as having more options for customization during your investigations. 

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we recently added three new query controls along with separate colors for log severity to the histogram. These new features make it even easier to refine and analyze your logs by time range. The new histogram controls help find logs before or after the current period, jump to a specific time range represented in a histogram bar and zoom in/out of the current time window in the histogram.

Histogram colors

The histogram now makes it easier to view the breakdown of logs by severity with the introduction of color coding. For example, the severity colors make it easy to spot an increasing number of errors even when the volume of requests is relatively constant. Looking at the histogram below, the red vs blue shading makes it clear that there has been an increase in overall log volume and provides a visual breakdown of errors within that log volume.

Histogram- Logging
A screenshot of the new color coding for logs in the histogram

Pan left/right to scroll through time

Sometimes in your troubleshooting journey, you may want to look at the logs directly before or after the current set of logs. Perhaps there was an unexpected spike in errors at the beginning of the time range and you need to see the logs in the time period directly preceding the current time range. Pressing the left arrow on the left side of the histogram shifts the time range earlier while the arrow on the right side of the histogram shifts the time range ahead. Either arrow will refine the time range in the query and rerun the query to return the logs in the new time range.

histogram panning gif
An example of the right and left scrolling to adjust which time frame you are viewing in the histogram 

Zooming in or out 

Zooming in or out from a given time range may be useful to visualize fine-grained details or a broader trend Clicking the zoom in or out icons in the upper right corner of the histogram refines the time range in the query and then reruns the query, returning the logs in the newly defined time range.

histogram zoom
A view of the zoom in and zoom out feature to adjust the time scale of the histogram

Scrolling to time 

If you see a large spike in logs volume in the histogram, it’s useful to quickly review the logs generated during that spike. Clicking on the histogram bar that contains the spike now scrolls you to the logs generated during that time period.

histogram scrolling
Click on the histogram bar to filter the logs view

Where to find the histogram 

The histogram is a panel in Logs Explorer that can be displayed or hidden using the controls in the Page Layout menu. When you no longer want to display the histogram, click the “X” button in the upper right corner to quickly close it. To open it again, use the same Page Layout menu to enable the histogram display.

Enable histogram
A view of where to find the histogram in the Page Layout menu in Logs Explorer

Get started with the histogram

These improvements move the histogram from a utility for visualization to an integral part of the troubleshooting journey. We are continuously working to launch new features that make Cloud Logging the best place to troubleshoot your Google Cloud logs. If you are not already a Cloud Logging user, review this getting started documentation or watch a quick video ontroubleshooting services on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)to learn more. If you have specific questions or feedback, please join the discussion on our Google Cloud Community, Cloud Operations page.

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Source: Google Cloud Blog