Category Archives: Sysadmin


Using Docker and ELK to Analyze WebSphere Application Server SystemOut.log

I often get SystemOut.log files from customers or friends to help them analyzing a problem. Often it is complicated to find the right server and application which generates the real error, because most WebSphere Applications (like IBM Connections or Sametime) are installed on different Application Servers and Nodes. So you need to open multiple large files in your editor, scroll each to the needed timestamps and check the lines before for possible error messages.

Klaus Bild showed on several conferences and in his blog the functionality of ELK, so I thought about using ELK too. I started to build a virtual machine with ELK Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash & Kibana) and imported my local logs and logs i got mailed. This way is cool to analyze your environment, but adding just some SystemOut.logs from outside is not the best way. It’s hard to remove this stuff after analyzing from a ELK instance.

Then I found a tutorial to install ELK with Docker, there is even a great Part 2 of this post, which helps us installing an ELK Cluster. Just follow this blog posts, install Docker and Docker-compose. It’s really fast deployed. In my case i do not use flocker, it’s enough to use a local data container for the elasticsearch data.

Why do I use Docker instead of a virtual machine? It’s super easy to just drop the data container and begin with an empty database.

My setup

I created a folder on my Mac to put all needed stuff for the Docker images to it:

mkdir elk
cd elk