Aggregate System and Application Logs with Papertrail

Frustration-free log management

I’ve been using Papertrail for a few months now, and absolutely love it. Being able to search logs across all my servers at once is crazy nice.

I can even get alerts when someone logs in via SSH, which, by itself, has made Papertrail well worth it.

A non-production server was compromised, due to a since-rectified configuration issue. Papertrail notified me almost immediately, allowing for immediate action to be taken.

There’s a variety of pricing plans, and there’s even a free for life plan, which includes plenty of features for most folks. I’m currently on the free plan, but plan on upgrading soon. Adding more servers and will need the extra space at Papertrail.

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In addition to collecting logs from your servers, you can also send logs from your applications. Got a PHP application that’s erroring out for some reason? You can send that error to Papertrail for later investigation.

Same deal with Apache logs, MySQL logs, and pretty much every other piece of software that generates logs.

Not many limits on what you can configure Papertrail to do for you. It’s very powerful.

I suggest you give it a try. Installation is super easy, especially if you’re using rsyslog. Below is a screenshot of their installation instructions. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
papertrail-install

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Introducing Kegplan.io

I recently made a post over at the VPSstat.us blog just letting folks know what’s going on and why there’s bee such a delay in getting our product out there for everyone to use. Rather than go into that again, just checkout the post at the VPSstat.us Blog.

The gist of it is, a friend and I have been working on a new startup idea. Kegplan.io, a SaaS business that helps liquor stores to better manage their kegs, with many additional features in the pipeline. Ace (the friend), who runs I-35 Spirits in Ankeny, IA, was the inspiration for the idea. Managing kegs, such as pick up dates, return dates, weather or not the customer needs a tapper, etc, can be a real time drain. Most liquor store owners have much, much better things they could be doing.

We’re almost ready to release a private beta and invite some local liquor stores to try it out. “Local” being in Iowa, Central Iowa preferably, but that doesn’t mean we won’t leave Iowa if we can get a few potential customers lined up out of state.

There’s a very, very basic homepage up now at http://kegplan.io. Please forgive me for it’s ugliness, most of my time so far has been spent developing the software that’s installed on customer sites. I’ll be hitting kegplan.io pretty hard in the next few weeks, including incorporating Pure CSS to make development a bit faster, and also provide full responsiveness.

Below is an overview of how to integrate kegplan.io into your website:

  1. Signup for a kegplan.io account
  2. Choose a plan (beta will be totally free, no cc details required)
  3. Choose the keg beers that your store has available from our admin interface, or send us a spreadsheet and we’ll import it just for you
  4. Install our script on the page on your site you’d like to have the keg request form
  5. That’s it! Direct customers to the page you installed the script on and they’ll be able to submit keg requests. Requests are sent to your email and also stored in a database so you can have all sorts of neat reports and graphs.

Since this is a service that can immediately have a positive impact on businesses, and a friends business specifically, I’m focusing on getting kegplan.io launched before putting more work into VPSstat.us. Kegplan is a relatively simple piece of software so getting it production ready shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks.

All the scripts that are installed on customer websites are hosted on Heroku for maximum availability. The customer control panel is hosted on a pretty beefy VPS from DigitalOcean. We may eventually switch to using DigitalOcean’s private networking with a few different VPS’s in different locations, but I have a feeling Heroku will be plenty sufficient.

Shortly before the private beta release, we’ll be integrating kegplan.io into i35spirits.com. Once it’s been thoroughly tested on i35spirits.com, we’ll drop the private beta. If you’re interested in more info or if you want to get in the private beta right away, email me (Tyler) at tyler at kegplan dot io.

If you’ve got any suggestions on the best, most secure way to deliver scripts for installation on third-party websites, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Right now I’m including a script on customer sites that’s delivered via HTTPS, and basically prints the form on the customer website. And I’m using jQuery and AJAX to send the results back to an SSL enabled domain for storage in a database and to send the necessary notification emails.

Anyway, keep checking kegplan.io for updates. There’ll be a official kegplan.io blog eventually, but right now all announcements will be made here at longren.org, and maybe at the I-35 Spirits website.

Would love to hear any comments. If you know anyone who runs a liquor store or other establishment that sells kegs, please tell them about us! We’re new at this too, so we’ll be helping beta users through every step of the on-boarding process.

Please bear with us as we finish out the customer-facing http://kegplan.io website. I don’t have a lot of time to work on it, other than nights and some weekends, but there’s not a whole lot to do.

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VPSstat.us VPS Monitoring & Control Beta

I’m slowly launching a startup business. I’ve been working on it as a side project for a month or so. but am ready to get some initial users for testing purposes. I think entire thing is about 95% ready to go, but I’m sure there’s some things that I haven’t tested for.

So, I’m looking for people who have a VPS that runs on a SolusVM implementation. All you’ll need it your hosts SolusVM API URL, API key, and API hash.

If you’ve got a VPS from FlipHost, your API URL will be http://solus.fliphost.net/api/client, and your API key and API hash can be found by logging your VPS control panel at http://solus.fliphost.net.

A LOT of webhosts out there use SolusVM. If you’re interested and have a VPS but aren’t sure if yours is run on SolusVM, drop a comment here and we’ll figure it out.

If you know you’re on a SolusVM VPS, sign-up for the beta at http://launch.vpsstat.us/. If you sign up, I’ll contact you via email the evening after you sign up (I do have a day job) with details on how to get setup. Those who participate in the beta will forever have a free account. Once public, 3 different plans will be available, all paid, but cheap.

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