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Using stack traces to detect application errors

Scenario: Applications and services that run or support the business can experience errors during runtime. These errors are called exceptions and are often handled by the application, but sometimes they are not. If they are serious enough, the application will stop running and, generally, dump a stack trace into the logs as it exits. A stack trace reveals many details about the error and shows the path the error took as it propagated through the various functions in the code stack. This is a rich source of application troubleshooting information. You want to develop some useful searches based on stack traces that you can use to investigate errors as needed.

Prerequisites

To succeed in implementing this use case, you need the following dependencies, resources, and information.

  • People: Site reliability engineer
  • Technologies: Splunk Enterprise or Splunk Cloud Platform
  • Data: Application server data

How to use Splunk software for this use case

Depending on what information you have available, you might find it useful to identify some or all of the following: 

Results

Measuring impact and benefit is critical to assessing the value of IT operations. The following are example metrics that can be useful to monitor when implementing this use case:

  • Error rates by software version 
  • Error rate trends over time 
  • Reduction in outage or slowdowns identified by users 

Additional resources

This use case is also included in the IT Essentials Learn app, which provides more information about how to implement the use case successfully in your IT maturity journey. In addition, these Splunk resources might help you understand and implement this use case:

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