Buffer calls to console.log, console.warn, etc. for high performance logging

Description

Calls to console.log, console.error, etc. are synchronous, and as such, will block the event loop while the data is being written to a file, terminal, socket, pipe, etc.

This module provides a seamless, drop-in buffer for all calls to these functions, and flushes them when the buffers exceed a certain size (8k by default).

See Known Issues for timing concerns with this module.

View the project on GitHub

Example

require('log-buffer');
console.log('Hello'); // buffered
console.log('world'); // buffered
// flushed at exit or 8k of data

Even though there are 2 calls to console.log, this example only writes to a file descriptor once.

Customization

You can specify an alternative buffer size to use for automatic flushing like this:

require('log-buffer')(4096); // buffer will flush at 4k

This module also exposes the flush function used to flush all buffers, so if you would like you can manually invoke a flush.

var logbuffer = require('log-buffer');
console.log('hello'); // buffered
console.log('world'); // buffered
logbuffer.flush(); // flushed

Also, you can specify an interval to automatically flush all buffers so logs don't get held in memory indefinitely.

var logbuffer = require('log-buffer');
setInterval(function() {
  logbuffer.flush();
}, 5000); // flush every 5 seconds

This will flush automatically at 8k of data as well as every 5 seconds.

Benchmark

Speed

Tested on a Joyent smartmachine in the Joyent Public Cloud (joyent_20120912T055050Z)

Counting to a million, logging each iteration, piping to dd, without buffering

$ time node benchmark/count.js | dd > /dev/null
0+982421 records in
13454+1 records out
6888890 bytes (6.9 MB) copied, 19.0066 s, 362 kB/s

real    0m19.111s
user    0m16.409s
sys     0m6.546s

Counting to a million, logging each iteration, piping to dd, with buffering (8k)

$ time node benchmark/bcount.js | dd > /dev/null
13446+841 records in
13454+1 records out
6888890 bytes (6.9 MB) copied, 3.46552 s, 2.0 MB/s

real    0m3.495s
user    0m3.390s
sys     0m0.136s

A 5.5x increase in speed with log buffering

syscalls

Using DTrace(1M) we can see how many times the system was asked to write

In the examples below, the output is redirected to /dev/null so we don't get a line printed for each iteration of the loop. DTrace is then told to output to stderr so its data doesn't get sent to /dev/null as well.

Counting to a million, logging each iteration to /dev/null, without buffering

$ dtrace -n 'syscall::write*:entry /pid == $target/ { @ = count(); }' -c 'node count.js' -o /dev/stderr > /dev/null
dtrace: description 'syscall::write*:entry ' matched 2 probes
dtrace: pid 33117 has exited

          1000000

Counting to a million, logging each iteration to /dev/null, with buffering (8k)

$ dtrace -n 'syscall::write*:entry /pid == $target/ { @ = count(); }' -c 'node bcount.js' -o /dev/stderr > /dev/null
dtrace: description 'syscall::write*:entry ' matched 2 probes
dtrace: pid 31513 has exited

              841

1,000,000 write(2) syscalls are fired without buffering, whereas only 841 are fired when the output is buffered.

A 1,189x decrease in the number of syscalls; 1 buffered syscall for every 1,189 unbuffered syscalls.

Install

npm install log-buffer

Tests

npm test

Known Issues

  • All buffers are flushed when flush is called (whether automatically or manually). Because of this, calls to different console family functions may return out of order.

Example:

require('log-buffer');
console.log(1);
console.error(2);
console.log(3);

yields

1
3
2

1 and 3 are both written to stdout and 2 is written stderr. The priority order in flushing is ['warn', 'log', 'error', 'info']