Good tip here in a post from the Chief Monkey about a new open source log visualization tool called Logstalgia. It basically shows web access logs visualized as a pong game. So all of you folks in my age bracket will really appreciate it. Here is the description from the project page:

Logstalgia is a website traffic visualization that replays or streams web-server access logs as a pong-like battle between the web server and an never ending torrent of requests.

Requests appear as colored balls (the same color as the host) which travel across the screen to arrive at the requested location. Successful requests are hit by the paddle while unsuccessful ones (eg 404 – File Not Found) are missed and pass through.

The paths of requests are summarized within the available space by identifying common path prefixes. Related paths are grouped together under headings. For instance, by default paths ending in png, gif or jpg are grouped under the heading Images. Paths that don’t match any of the specified groups are lumped together under a Miscellaneous section.

So how do you use it? Basically figuring out if you have an issue is about seeing weird patterns. This pong looking visualization is definitely interesting. For example, if you are getting hammered by a small set of IP addresses, then that will be pretty easy to see using the tool. If your site is dropping a lot of traffic, then you’ll see that too. Check out the video. Not only does it have cool music, but your mind should be racing in terms of how you’d use the tool in your day to day troubleshooting.

Does it provide a smoking gun? Nope. But it gives you a way to visualize sessions in an interesting way, and the price is right.

Good tip Chief. Thanks.