Sentry - Monitoring and Tracking Application Error

Engineering
Mohan Khadka
by Mohan Khadka 

Sentry in its literal meaning is defined as a guard to protect something. 

In I.T world, Sentry is a tool developed by FUNCTIONAL SOFTWARE, INC, initially used as error monitoring software, but they also brand themselves as a performance monitoring system. Due to its support availability for more than 30 major programming languages, it provides visibility across the entire stack, giving developers the details they need to fix their bugs. Even any engineer/developer with basic knowledge can use Sentry service to resolve problems, well before their users encounter them. Sentry lets users track, prioritize, identify, reproduce, and fix production errors across every application in their stack.

One can ask, we have a built-in infrastructure for logging events in our organization, is there even the need for an application like Sentry? This question can be answered by simple logic that states the most important difference between one’s general logging infrastructure and Sentry is how events are stored. Logging is very much intended to capture the entirety of data, and give maximum audibility. Systems like Sentry lose a lot of data when computing roll ups and transformations. For example, Sentry won’t store the full details of every error that comes in if it’s one that already exists. This effectively means that Sentry doesn’t make guarantees of allowing you to find an exact historical error. Because of this, it’s important that in cases where one needs to be able to trace events they maintain them in their existing logging infrastructure.

Another important differentiator between Sentry and generic logging is the amount of context captured. This context is extremely valuable when debugging an issue, but matters a lot less in many situations where one would use traditional logging. This is important because of the large cost associated with storing that context. It’s simply something that one generally wouldn’t want to pay for all logging, but is absolutely critical for crash analysis.

Logging provides you with a trail of events. Often those events are errors, but many times they’re simply informational. Sentry is fundamentally different because it focuses on exceptions, or in other words, captures application crashes.

At Gurzu we are using a self hosted sentry to log application errors and send error reports via email to know the reason for the caused error and treat the report accordingly. Self Hosted sentry itself is no different than cloud server, but it provides assurance of our application code not being published to the cloud and/or any third party. Also self hosted sentry provides the freedom to integrate plugins to assist in various features. Applicable with mobile as well as web application, sentry captures errors for us produced by the application and sends a detailed report to the desired/configured messaging platform. 

  • Realtime Error Tracking in Production Environment 
  • Provides Web Dashboard for organized error viewing
  • Can Capture Specific Errors and Report back to the developers 
  • Recording trails of the cause of the errors
  • Detailed Bug Fixing

To summarize, Sentry works with pre-built application logging infrastructure, often integrating directly. It does not replace the need for those logs, and it’s also not a destination for things that aren’t actionable errors or crashes.

With the help of self hosted sentry, we ensure applications developed and maintained by Gurzu are well monitored and maintained in a cost effective manner.

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