Copying Yesterday’s Exceptions with Stack Traces from Logs, Then Emailing To Administrators

When you have a java appli­ca­tion serv­er which gen­er­ates a great deal of logs, it can be tricky to find the most impor­tant infor­ma­tion, espe­cial­ly if you have detailed log­ging. For­tu­nate­ly grep is capa­ble of doing this very well.

The fol­low­ing com­mand will gath­er all WARN, ERROR, FATAL, and Excep­tion stack traces. This com­mand can be very use­ful for Java log mon­i­tor­ing scripts.

cat /jboss-4.0.2/server/default/log/server.log | grep "ERROR\|FATAL\|Exception\|at.*\.java\:.*"

Understanding this expression

In this expres­sion ‘\|’ is used as an OR oper­a­tor to look for dif­fer­ent pat­terns. ‘WARN’, ‘ERROR’, and ‘FATAL’ pat­terns are used to fil­ter first line of the log event that can pos­si­bly con­tain an excep­tion at WARN, ERROR and FATAL log­ging lev­els. We lat­er fil­ter the first line of the stack trace with ‘Excep­tion’ as the first line of the stack trace usu­al­ly has the Excep­tion name fol­lowed by the excep­tion mes­sage e.g. ‘java.lang.NullPointerException’.

After this you will have the stack trace ele­ments which start with ‘at’ and end with pat­tern ‘(’ e.g. at These stack trace ele­ments are fil­tered with ‘at.*\.java\:.*’. All these pat­tern’s OR’ed togeth­er can fil­ter the com­plete stack trace in log at WARN, ERROR and FATAL log lev­el. Some false pos­i­tives may also get fil­tered out with this com­mand if the log com­ment has words like WARN, ERROR, FATAL, Exception. 

source: com­put­er tech­nol­o­gy roller

Filtering by Date: Yesterday’s Logs

If you want to fil­ter the log­files after a cer­tain date, the fol­low­ing com­mand is very use­ful. It gets the date for yes­ter­day, using the date for­mat yyyy-mm-dd, then is uses sed to print all of the lines after the spec­i­fied date. This is a good com­mand to run after mid­night, to retrieve the pre­vi­ous day’s logs.

cat /jboss-4.0.2/server/default/log/server.log | sed "1,/$(date --date='yesterday' '+%Y-%m-%d')/d"

Putting it All Together

Daily Log Monitor Script to Email Error Stack Traces to the Administrator

Here is a com­plete mon­i­tor­ing script I wrote, which emails me all of the pre­vi­ous days errors stack traces. I have it run­ning in cron.daily in order to reg­u­lar­ly send me the jboss error stack traces.


# email addresses to send the message to

# determine the number of running instances
errors=$(cat /jboss-4.0.2/server/default/log/server.log | sed "1,/$(date --date='yesterday' '+%Y-%m-%d')/d" | grep "ERROR\|FATAL\|Exception\|at.*\.java\:.*")

subject="JBOSS DAILY ERROR DIGEST FOR: $(hostname)"

echo "$errors" | /bin/mail -s "$subject" "$email"