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syslog-ng Premium Edition 7.0.18 - Administration Guide

Preface Introduction to syslog-ng The concepts of syslog-ng Installing syslog-ng The syslog-ng PE quick-start guide The syslog-ng PE configuration file Collecting log messages — sources and source drivers
How sources work default-network-drivers: Receive and parse common syslog messages internal: Collecting internal messages file: Collecting messages from text files wildcard-file: Collecting messages from multiple text files linux-audit: Collecting messages from Linux audit logs network: Collecting messages using the RFC3164 protocol (network() driver) office365: Fetching logs from Office 365 osquery: Collect and parse osquery result logs pipe: Collecting messages from named pipes program: Receiving messages from external applications python: writing server-style Python sources python-fetcher: writing fetcher-style Python sources snmptrap: Read Net-SNMP traps sun-streams: Collecting messages on Sun Solaris syslog: Collecting messages using the IETF syslog protocol (syslog() driver) system: Collecting the system-specific log messages of a platform systemd-journal: Collecting messages from the systemd-journal system log storage systemd-syslog: Collecting systemd messages using a socket tcp, tcp6, udp, udp6: Collecting messages from remote hosts using the BSD syslog protocol udp-balancer: Receiving UDP messages at very high rate unix-stream, unix-dgram: Collecting messages from UNIX domain sockets windowsevent: Collecting Windows event logs
Sending and storing log messages — destinations and destination drivers
elasticsearch2: Sending messages directly to Elasticsearch version 2.0 or higher (DEPRECATED) elasticsearch-http: Sending messages to Elasticsearch HTTP Event Collector file: Storing messages in plain-text files hdfs: Storing messages on the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) http: Posting messages over HTTP kafka: Publishing messages to Apache Kafka logstore: Storing messages in encrypted files mongodb: Storing messages in a MongoDB database network: Sending messages to a remote log server using the RFC3164 protocol (network() driver) pipe: Sending messages to named pipes program: Sending messages to external applications python: writing custom Python destinations smtp: Generating SMTP messages (email) from logs splunk-hec: Sending messages to Splunk HTTP Event Collector sql: Storing messages in an SQL database stackdriver: Sending logs to the Google Stackdriver cloud syslog: Sending messages to a remote logserver using the IETF-syslog protocol syslog-ng(): Forward logs to another syslog-ng node tcp, tcp6, udp, udp6: Sending messages to a remote log server using the legacy BSD-syslog protocol (tcp(), udp() drivers) unix-stream, unix-dgram: Sending messages to UNIX domain sockets usertty: Sending messages to a user terminal — usertty() destination Client-side failover
Routing messages: log paths, flags, and filters Global options of syslog-ng PE TLS-encrypted message transfer Advanced Log Transfer Protocol Reliability and minimizing the loss of log messages Manipulating messages parser: Parse and segment structured messages Processing message content with a pattern database Correlating log messages Enriching log messages with external data Monitoring statistics and metrics of syslog-ng Multithreading and scaling in syslog-ng PE Troubleshooting syslog-ng Best practices and examples The syslog-ng manual pages Glossary

Collecting debugging information with strace, truss, or tusc

To properly troubleshoot certain situations, it can be useful to trace which system calls syslog-ng PE performs. How this is performed depends on the platform running syslog-ng PE. In general, note the following points:

  • When syslog-ng PE is started, a supervisor process might stay in the foreground, while the actual syslog-ng daemon goes to the background. Always trace the background process.

  • Apart from the system calls, the time between two system calls can be important as well. Make sure that your tracing tool records the time information as well. For details on how to do that, refer to the manual page of your specific tool (for example, strace on Linux, or truss on Solaris and BSD).

  • Run your tracing tool in verbose mode, and if possible, set it to print long output strings, so the messages are not truncated.

  • When using strace, also record the output of lsof to see which files are accessed.

The following are examples for tracing system calls of syslog-ng on some platforms. The output is saved into the /tmp/syslog-ng-trace.txt file, sufficed with the PID of the related syslog-ng process.The path of the syslog-ng binary assumes that you have installed syslog-ng PE from the official syslog-ng PE binaries available at the One Identity website — native distribution-specific packages may use different paths.

  • Linux: strace -o /tmp/trace.txt -s256 -ff -ttT /opt/syslog-ng/sbin/syslog-ng -f /opt/syslog-ng/etc/syslog-ng.conf -Fdv

  • HP-UX: tusc -f -o /tmp/syslog-ng-trace.txt -T /opt/syslog-ng/sbin/syslog-ng

  • IBM AIX and Solaris: truss -f -o /tmp/syslog-ng-trace.txt -r all -w all -u libc:: /opt/syslog-ng/sbin/syslog-ng -d -d -d


To execute these commands on an already running syslog-ng PE process, use the -p <pid_of_syslog-ng> parameter.

Running a failure script

You can create a failure script that is executed when syslog-ng PE terminates abnormally, that is, when it exits with a non-zero exit code. For example, you can use this script to send an automatic email notification.


The failure script must be the following file: /opt/syslog-ng/sbin/syslog-ng-failure, and must be executable.

To create a sample failure script

  1. Create a file named /opt/syslog-ng/sbin/syslog-ng-failure with the following content:

    #!/usr/bin/env bash
    cat >>/tmp/test.txt <<EOF
    Chroot dir......$2
    Pid file dir....$3
    Pid file........$4
  2. Make the file executable: chmod +x /opt/syslog-ng/sbin/syslog-ng-failure

  3. Run the following command in the /opt/syslog-ng/sbin directory: ./syslog-ng --process-mode=safe-background; sleep 0.5; ps aux | grep './syslog-ng' | grep -v grep | awk '{print $2}' | xargs kill -KILL; sleep 0.5; cat /tmp/test.txt

    The command starts syslog-ng PE in safe-background mode (which is needed to use the failure script) and then kills it. You should see that the relevant information is written into the /tmp/test.txt file, for example:

    Thu May 18 12:08:58 UTC 2017
    Chroot dir......NULL
    Pid file dir....NULL
    Pid file........NULL
  4. You should also see messages similar to the following in system syslog. The exact message depends on the signal (or the reason why syslog-ng PE stopped):

    May 18 13:56:09 myhost supervise/syslog-ng[10820]: Daemon exited gracefully, not restarting; exitcode='0'
    May 18 13:57:01 myhost supervise/syslog-ng[10996]: Daemon exited due to a deadlock/signal/failure, restarting; exitcode='131'
    May 18 13:57:37 myhost supervise/syslog-ng[11480]: Daemon was killed, not restarting; exitcode='9'

    The failure script should run on every non-zero exit event.

Stopping syslog-ng

To avoid problems, always use the init scripts to stop syslog-ng (/etc/init.d/syslog-ng stop), instead of using the kill command. This is especially true on Solaris and HP-UX systems, here use /etc/init.d/syslog stop.

Reporting bugs and finding help

If you need help, want to open a support ticket, or report a bug, we recommend using the syslog-debun tool to collect information about your environment and syslog-ng PE version. For details, see The syslog-debun manual page. For support contacts, see About us.

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