NLog: writing log entries to Azure Table Storage

January 05, 2012


In August last year, I blogged about how to get Log4Net log entries written to Azure Table Storage. In this article, I will show how the same thing can be easily achieved using NLog.

The concepts in NLog is very similar to Log4Net. More or less, replace the word “appender” in Log4Net lingo with “target”, and you’re game.

First, let’s create a class for log entries:

public class LogEntry : TableServiceEntity
    public LogEntry()
        var now = DateTime.UtcNow;
        PartitionKey = string.Format("{0:yyyy-MM}", now);
        RowKey = string.Format("{0:dd HH:mm:ss.fff}-{1}", now, Guid.NewGuid());
    #region Table columns
    public string Message { get; set; }
    public string Level { get; set; }
    public string LoggerName { get; set; }
    public string RoleInstance { get; set; }
    public string DeploymentId { get; set; }
    public string StackTrace { get; set; }

Next, we need to do is to create a class that represents the table storage service. It needs to inherit from TableServiceContext:

public class LogServiceContext : TableServiceContext
    public LogServiceContext(string baseAddress, StorageCredentials credentials) : base(baseAddress, credentials) { }
    internal void Log(LogEntry logEntry)
        AddObject("LogEntries", logEntry);
    public IQueryable<LogEntry> LogEntries
            return CreateQuery<LogEntry>("LogEntries");

Finally, as far as code is concerned, a class that is a custom NLog target that gets called when the NLog framework needs to log something:

public class AzureStorageTarget : Target
    private LogServiceContext _ctx;
    private string _tableEndpoint;
    public string TableStorageConnectionStringName { get; set; }
    protected override void InitializeTarget()
        var cloudStorageAccount =
        _tableEndpoint = cloudStorageAccount.TableEndpoint.AbsoluteUri;
        CloudTableClient.CreateTablesFromModel(typeof(LogServiceContext), _tableEndpoint, cloudStorageAccount.Credentials);
        _ctx = new LogServiceContext(cloudStorageAccount.TableEndpoint.AbsoluteUri, cloudStorageAccount.Credentials);
    protected override void Write(LogEventInfo loggingEvent)
        Action doWriteToLog = () =>
                _ctx.Log(new LogEntry
                    RoleInstance = RoleEnvironment.CurrentRoleInstance.Id,
                    DeploymentId = RoleEnvironment.DeploymentId,
                    Timestamp = loggingEvent.TimeStamp,
                    Message = loggingEvent.FormattedMessage,
                    Level = loggingEvent.Level.Name,
                    LoggerName = loggingEvent.LoggerName,
                    StackTrace = loggingEvent.StackTrace != null ? loggingEvent.StackTrace.ToString() : null
            catch (DataServiceRequestException e)
                InternalLogger.Error(string.Format("{0}: Could not write log entry to {1}: {2}",
                    GetType().AssemblyQualifiedName, _tableEndpoint, e.Message), e);
        doWriteToLog.BeginInvoke(null, null);

So, to make it work, we need to register the target with the NLog framework. This is done in the NLog.config file:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<nlog xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="">
    <add assembly="Demo.NLog.Azure" />
    <target name="azure" type="AzureStorage" tableStorageConnectionStringName="Log4Net.ConenctionString" />
    <logger name="*" minlevel="Info" writeTo="azure" />

For information about how to set your ServiceDefinition.csdef and ServiceConfiguration.cscfg files, see my previous post. You can find the code for this example on GitHub. Suggestions for improvement are very welcome.

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Written by Vidar Kongsli who is a software professional living in Oslo, Norway. Works as a consultant, system architect and developer at Bredvid. You should follow him on Twitter