Hello Seq 4.0! Dashboards, alerts, more improvements

We're happy to announce the general availability of Seq 4.0, now with beautiful dashboards powered directly from application log data.

Seq 4.0 Dashboards

The full value of structured application logs has never been within such easy reach: Seq 4.0 provides log aggregation, search, advanced analysis, integration, dashboarding and alerting in a single easy-to-configure application.

Download Seq 4.0 now.

Dashboarding and Alerting with Seq 4.0

Since version 1.3, the Seq dashboard has provided simple counters, and histograms since 1.4; Seq apps have long been used to implement basic alerts by triggering notifications when events match a particular filter. What's new in Seq 4.0?

The Seq 4.0 dashboard is a completely new, much more powerful way of monitoring log data. In the early days of adopting structured logging and Seq, most of us focus on diagnostics and investigation when something goes wrong. Through this process of learning about application behavior, indicators start to emerge that can be used to spot issues early - sometimes in advance of anything actually failing. Latencies, error rates, free disk space - there are many more measurements to track than just simple presence of certain events.

This is the kind of flexible monitoring the new release enables. Seq 4.0 dashboards build on Seq's full query layer, so aggregate measurements like count(), sum(), mean(), min(), max() and percentile() can all be used to build visualizations.

Seq 4.0 Chart Building

As well as being a great way to keep on top of important indicators, you'll also enjoy the opportunity that dashboarding provides to share more information with others around the office. Dashboards can be shared within a team, and can be shown full-screen to make the most of screen real estate on overhead displays.

Alerts in Seq 4.0 are a natural counterpart of dashboards; on any dashboard chart - for example, one displaying percentile(ResponseTime, 99) as p99th - an alert condition such as p99th > 5000 can be set to trigger a notification. Alerts use the existing ecosystem of Seq apps, so you can immediately start alerting to email, Slack and many other destinations using one of the plug-ins from NuGet.

The Email+ plug-in app has been updated to display alerts in nicely-formatted HTML emails:

Seq 4 Alert Warning

You can learn more about dashboarding and alerting in the Seq documentation.

What else is new in 4.0?

This release cycle continues to refine Seq, from instance management improvements in the CLI, to performance improvements, to various query syntax extensions.

Don't miss the overhauled Diagnostics page in Seq 4.0, which is clearer and easier-to-use. The all-important Ingestion Log is given prominence, and the various system metrics are now organized in a streamlined list. Ingestion rate is helpfully tracked in kB/s as well as events/second.

Seq 4.0 also adds support for dynamic level control and input filtering for events without an API key. When ingestion without an API key is allowed, a new entry None will appear in the API Keys list, which can be used to track and configure ingestion of events that arrive without a valid API key provided.

What's next for Seq?

Broadly speaking, we're focused on two goals for the 4.1 and later series of milestones. First, there's a lot more to be built on the foundations we now have for dashboarding and alerting. There's an overview issue that sketches out some of the immediate plans.

Second, now that .NET Core tooling has reached 1.0, we're going to be making the first changes in support of getting Seq running nicely under Docker and on Linux. The 4.1 release won't complete this work, but we aim to include the option to use a cross-platform storage layer, which will underpin the full port in later milestone. You can track this work here on GitHub.

Release Notes

Upgrading from Seq 3.4: Seq 4.0 is a simple in-place upgrade: run the installer on the Seq server and step through the installation wizard. Our team is here to help if you have any trouble or need assistance upgrading.

You can learn more about the features in Seq 4.0 through our GitHub issue tracker.

  • Dashboarding #438
  • Alerting #537
  • Time slice caching #527
  • Control and track events ingested without an API key #551
  • Diagnostics - show ingested data rate in bytes #535
  • View and remove permalinks #559
  • Extend distinct() to handle array-valued items #545
  • Provide event query results from the API in CLEF format if requested #536
  • Relative timestamp predicates in queries (@Timestamp > Now() - 3d, etc.) #361
  • Avoid the need to specify --storage= from the CLI once an instance is installed #524
  • Provide a "backup now"/immediate backup download from the UI #522
  • Permit grouping columns to be used in order by/having #521
  • More readable event type filters #500
  • Under basic auth, require a password change on first login #520
  • Allow a minimum password length to be specified and enforced under basic auth #516
  • Use JSON for the internal log file #544
  • Saved multi-line SQL queries that end in newlines can't be edited (fix) #564
  • Automated repair command for "Disk I/O error" -1022 (fix) #560
  • Allow the start-of-week day to be configured #558
  • Only trigger the app manually should clear filters associated with the app instance (fix) #557
  • TooManySortsException from Microsoft.Isam.Esent.Interop.Api.GetColumnDictionary() at startup (fix) #550
  • Ingestion API fails with 500 on malformed event #542
  • Show progress when switching between time range views on the dash (fix) #529
  • LIKE operator internal regex evaluations are not affected by query timeout (fix) #532
  • User/View filter is erroneously populated by Firefox auto-complete; needs explicit opt-out (fix) #533
  • Secondary orderings not accepted when time() ordering is present (fix) #526
  • Button to "pin" a long sql query is unclickable (fix) #523
  • Diagnostics page "days cached" includes future cache segments (fix) #525
  • Ensure restore-from-backup works correctly with an un-initialized Seq instance (fix) #519
  • Seq Apps should prefer more recent binaries when packaged (4.5.2, 4.6) (fix) #517

We hope you enjoy using Seq 4.0! Please get in touch with your suggestions, experiences and questions through either our issue tracker or support email address support@getseq.net.

Download Seq 4.0 at the Seq website.

Nicholas Blumhardt

Read more posts by this author.