Many IIS administrators want to produce detailed log analysis reports for their Web sites, but are stymied by how expensive many log analysis packages are. A program such as Webtrends can cost upwards of several hundred dollars, and might be overkill for many people. Fortunately there's a free and relatively simple alternative for most admins: the Analog logfile analyzer.
Analog has been popular for a long time on Linux and other UNIX-type platforms, but also exists in a Windows binary version. Its current revision is 5.32, but a 5.90 beta is in the works, which includes exports to XML and XHTML. The program can reside anywhere on the system and works with all logfile formats supported by IIS (and can be instructed to use other logfile formats if needed).
The default output for Analog should be detailed enough for most administrators, but the program's main strength is its massive customizability. Almost every aspect of the output, from formatting to ranking of stats, can be controlled. Reports can be hierarchical (so that, for instance, a report of referring domains can be broken out by subdomain as well) or "flat". The statistics generated by the program can be maintained incrementally, so that the system does not take more and more time to process the entire collection of logs available. Analog can also produce graphs and tables to illustrate usage at a glance.
The program, including original source code and documentation (both on-line and off) can be downloaded at www.analog.cx. For an example of some Analog output, see www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/webstats/stats.html (for the Statistical Laboratory at Canbridge, in England).
Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog at www.thegline.com/win2kblog/ for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – please share your thoughts as well!
This was first published in April 2003