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Data at Cloudflare just got a lot faster: Announcing Live-updating Analytics and Instant Logs


5 min read

Today, we’re excited to introduce Live-updating Analytics and Instant Logs. For Pro, Business, and Enterprise customers, our analytics dashboards now update live to show you data as it arrives. In addition to this, Enterprise customers can now view their HTTP request logs instantly in the Cloudflare dashboard.

Cloudflare’s data products are essential for our customers’ visibility into their network and applications. Having this data in real time makes it even more powerful — could you imagine trying to navigate using a GPS that showed your location a minute ago? That’s the power of real time data!

Real time data unlocks entirely new use cases for our customers. They can respond to threats and resolve errors as soon as possible, keeping their applications secure and minimising disruption to their end users.

Lightning fast, in-depth analytics

Cloudflare products generate petabytes of log data daily and are designed for scale. To make sense of all this data, we summarize it using analytics — the ability to see time series data, tops Ns, and slices and dices of the data generated by Cloudflare products. This allows customers to identify trends and anomalies and drill deep into problems.

We take it a step further from just showing you high-level metrics. With Cloudflare Analytics you have the ability to quickly drill down into the most important data — narrow in on a specific time period and add a chain of filters to slice your data further and see all the reflecting analytics.

Video of Cloudflare analytics showing live updating and drill down capabilities
Video of Cloudflare analytics showing live updating and drill down capabilities

Let’s say you’re a developer who’s made some recent changes to your website, you’ve deleted some old content and created new web pages. You want to know as soon as possible if these changes have led to any broken links, so you can quickly identify them and make fixes. With live-updating analytics, you can monitor your traffic by status code. If you notice an uptick in 404 errors add a filter to get details on all 404s and view the top referrers causing the errors. From there, take steps to resolve the problem whether by creating a redirect page rule or fixing broken links on your own site.

Instant Logs at your fingertips

While Analytics are a great way to see data at an aggregate level, sometimes you need event level information, too. Logs are powerful because they record every single event that flows through a network, so you can figure out what occurred on a granular level.

Our Logpush system is already able to get logs from our global edge network to a customer’s storage destination or analytics provider within seconds. However, setting this up has a lot of overhead and often customers incur long processing times at their destination. We wanted logs to be instant — instant to set up, deliver and take action on.

It’s that easy.

With Instant Logs, customers can actively monitor the traffic that's flowing through their network and make key decisions that affect their applications now. Real time data unlocks totally new use cases:

  • For Security Engineers: Stop an attack as it’s developing. For example, apply a Firewall rule and see it’s impact — get answers within seconds. If it’s not what you were intending, try another rule and check again.
  • For Developers: Roll out a config change — to Cloudflare, or to your origin — and have piece of mind to watch as your error rates stay flat (we hope!).

(By the way, if you’re a fan of Workers and want to see real time Workers logging, check out the recently released dashboard for Workers logs.)

Logs at the speed of sight

“Real time” or “instant” can mean different things to different people in different contexts. At Cloudflare, we’re striving to make it as close to the speed of sight as possible. For us, this means we wanted the “glass-to-glass” time — from when you hit “enter” in your browser until when the logs appear — to be under one second.

How did we do?

Today, Cloudflare’s Instant Logs have an average delay of two seconds, and we’re continuing to make improvements to drive that down.

“Real-time” is a very fuzzy term. Looking at other services we see Akamai talking about real-time data as “within minutes” or “latency of 10 minutes”, Amazon talks about “near real-time” for CloudWatch, Google Cloud Logging provides log tailing with a configurable buffer “up to 60 seconds” to deal with potential out-of-order log delivery, and we benchmarked Fastly logs at 25 seconds.

Our goal is to drive down the delay as much as possible (within the laws of physics). We’re happy to have shipped Instant Logs that arrive in two seconds, but we’re not satisfied and will continue to bring that number down.

In time sensitive scenarios such as an attack or an outage, a few minutes or even 30 seconds of delay can have a big impact on customers. At Cloudflare, our goal is to get our customer’s data into their hands as fast as possible  — and we’re just getting started.

How to get access?

Live-updating Analytics is available now on all Pro, Business, and Enterprise plans. Select the “Last 30 minutes” view of your traffic in the Analytics tab to start monitoring your analytics live.

We’ll be starting our Beta for Instant Logs in a couple of weeks. Join the waitlist to get notified about when you can get access!

If you’re eager for details on the inner workings of Instant Logs, check out our blog post about how we built Instant Logs.

What’s next

We’re hard at work to make Instant Logs available for all Enterprise customers — stay tuned after joining our waitlist. We’re also planning to bring all of our datasets to Instant Logs, including Firewall Events. In addition, we’re working on the next set of features like the ability to download logs from your session and compute running aggregates from logs.

For a peek into what we have our sights on next, we know how important it is to perform analysis on not only up-to-date data, but also historical data. We want to give customers the ability to analyze logs, draw insights and perform forensics straight from the Cloudflare platform.

If this sounds cool, we’re hiring engineers for our data team in Lisbon, London and San Francisco — would love to have you help us build the future of data at Cloudflare.

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We protect entire corporate networks, help customers build Internet-scale applications efficiently, accelerate any website or Internet application, ward off DDoS attacks, keep hackers at bay, and can help you on your journey to Zero Trust.

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Jon Levine|@jplevine
Tanushree Sharma|@_tanushreeeee

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