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July 16: Financial Services Roundtable

Humio at Lix: Scalable, fast, and efficient log management in a Cloud Native environment

Lix is a study platform aimed at students in universities and others pursuing higher education. The company’s customers are primarily located throughout Europe and get their books through the subscription service offered by Lix.

Coursebooks are read via customers’ e-readers and the company also offers a number of different features that aid students in their studies. Rather than lug a heavy backpack from class to class, Lix streamlines studying while also giving users the ability to search, make notes, and highlights within their e-reader, all without marking up a textbook.

The Challenge

Everything paled compared to Humio... I’m still astonished on a regular basis how incredibly fast Humio is.
Simon Stender Boisen

CTO of Lix

Since November 2017, Lix has been running all of their services through Kubernetes. More recently, the company wanted to lower the overhead of maintaining that open source system, moving from bare metal to Google Cloud, primarily running Elixir/ Erlang with a number of other services implemented in NodeJS and Ruby. Additionally, Lix’s e-reader is an electronic application with a frontend implemented in React.

As Lix’s UX Team regularly conducts interviews with students to better understand how the app can improve their interface, they wanted to keep an agile mindset, emphasizing the customer-driven feature selection.

The Strategy

The company needed a purpose-built, all-in-one log management system. Logging is an integral part of Lix’s toolkit and it allows the company to both keep an eye on their system and understand how systems are behaving.

Utilizing Erlang platform’s superior debugging experience, Lix needed to quickly access their logs and metrics helped them find the root cause of system failures in case of emergencies. They needed something that was scalable, efficient, and fast.

The Solution

Humio’s superior dynamic querying and plotting capabilities are what really drew our attention.
Simon Stender Boisen

CTO of Lix

“Before Humio, we used Papertrail and explored a number of other products, but everything paled compared to Humio,” says Simon Stender Boisen, CTO of Lix.

Humio’s superior dynamic querying and plotting capabilities are what really caught Lix’s attention when they made the switch. When traversing the many gigabytes of log data that Lix generates on a weekly basis, Boisen says, “I’m still astonished on a regular basis how incredibly fast Humio is.”

The Results

Lix depends on their logs to keep abreast of the user experience and how efficiently their app is functioning. In the past, such logging data was a slog, hard to parse and analyze.

“Like Victor Frankenstein, Humio has brought our logs to life!” says Boisen.

Unlike Frankenstein’s monster however, what Humio brings to life is both beautiful and helpful. Providing its customers with clean, clear insight into logging data, Humio delivers an amalgamation of predefined and ad-hoc extracted data points, combined with stack traces and other log messages.

Kubernetes may have provided Lix with adequate support at the beginning, but as the company grew and scaled up, the switch to Humio was necessary to keep up with its data.

“Humio sits firmly as the backbone of our monitoring solution,” says Boisen.

Humio furnishes more information and more data at a much lower price point to Lix. As such, Humio makes logging data an integral part of Lix’s day-to-day workflows, imparting important insights into their systems.

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