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syslog-ng Premium Edition 7.0.31 - Administration Guide

Preface Introduction to syslog-ng The concepts of syslog-ng Installing syslog-ng PE 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 google-pubsub: collecting messages from the Google Pub/Sub messaging service wildcard-file: Collecting messages from multiple text files linux-audit: Collecting messages from Linux audit logs mssql, oracle, sql: collecting messages from an SQL database 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 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 google_pubsub(): Sending logs to the Google Cloud Pub/Sub messaging service hdfs: Storing messages on the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) http: Posting messages over HTTP kafka(): Publishing messages to Apache Kafka (Java implementation) (DEPRECATED) kafka-c(): Publishing messages to Apache Kafka using the librdkafka client (C implementation) 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 sentinel(): Sending logs to the Microsoft Azure Sentinel cloud snmp: Sending SNMP traps 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 Transport 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

Versions and releases of syslog-ng Premium Edition

syslog-ng PE

The following release policy applies to syslog-ng Premium Edition (syslog-ng PE):

Long Term Support (LTS)

The initial release includes new features, bug fixes and security updates. After the initial release, only maintenance releases are published on this path, containing only bug fixes and security updates. The maintenance release frequency is typically four months.

Versioning: the first digit identifies the LTS main version (for example, 6.0.x), the second digit is always a 0, and the third digit designates the maintenance release (for example, 6.0.19). A long term support path is typically supported for three years after its original release.

Rolling release

Rolling releases include new features, bug fixes and security updates. Release frequency on this path is typically two months.

Versioning: the first digit identifies the main version of the rolling release path, the second digit is always a 0, and the third digit designates published on this path. Rolling releases are typically supported for a year.

For further information regarding the syslog-ng PE LTS and Rolling releases, see the syslog-ng Premium Edition Product Life Cycle Table.


Downgrading from a feature release to an earlier (and thus unsupported) feature release, or to the previous LTS release is officially not supported, but usually works as long as your syslog-ng PE configuration file is appropriate for the old syslog-ng PE version. However, persistent data like the position of the last processed message in a file source will be probably lost.

Logstore files created with a newer version of syslog-ng PE might not be readable with an older version of syslog-ng PE.

NOTE: Bug fixes and security updates are always issued in the latest & greatest releases, and never for previous releases. For example, in case of Long Term Support path, if a bug was reported by a customer for 6.0.17 LTS, the fix will be released in version 6.0.18 or in a later maintenance release. The same logic is true to rolling releases, for example, if a bug gets reported for 7.0.20, the fix will be issued in 7.0.21 or a later release.

NOTE: The LTS path for syslog-ng PE will contain support only for the Windows Agent and AIX components after 31-Jul-2020. All other platforms will be deprecated from the LTS path. One Identity advises customers to migrate to version 7.0.x where possible to be eligible for full support going forward.



License benefits

Buying a syslog-ng Premium Edition (syslog-ng PE) license permits you to perform the following:

  • Install one instance of the syslog-ng PE application in server mode to a single host. This host acts as the central log server of the network. You have to install the license file only on this host.

  • Install the syslog-ng PE application in relay or client mode on host computers within your organization (on any supported platform). You cannot redistribute the application to third parties. The total number of hosts permitted to run syslog-ng PE in relay or client mode is limited by the syslog-ng PE license. The client and relay hosts may use any operating system supported by syslog-ng PE. For details, see

The syslog-ng Premium Edition license determines the number of individual hosts (also called log source hosts) that can send log messages to syslog-ng PE.

License grants and legal restrictions are fully described in the Software Transaction, License and End User License Agreements. Note that the Software Transaction, License and End User License Agreements and the Product Guide apply only to scenarios where the Licensee (the organization who has purchased the product) is the end user of the product. In any other scenario — for example, if you want to offer services provided by syslog-ng Premium Edition to your customers in an OEM or a Managed Service Provider (MSP) scenario — you have to negotiate the exact terms and conditions with One Identity.

Licensing model and modes of operation

A Log Source Host (LSH) is any host, server, or device (including virtual machines, active or passive networking devices, syslog-ng clients and relays, and so on) that is capable of sending log messages. Log Source Hosts are identified by their IP addresses, so virtual machines and vhosts are separately counted.

The syslog-ng Premium Edition application has three distinct modes of operation: Client, Relay, and Server.

  • In Client mode syslog-ng Premium Edition collects local logs generated by the host it is running on, and forwards them through a network connection to the central syslog-ng PE server, a relay, or another network destination. If you install the syslog-ng Premium Edition application in Client mode on a host, it counts as a Log Source Host, even if it does not send log messages to a syslog-ng Premium Edition server.

  • In Relay mode syslog-ng Premium Edition receives logs through the network from Log Source Hosts and forwards them to the central syslog-ng PE server, a relay, or another network destination. If you install the syslog-ng Premium Edition application in Relay mode on a host, it counts as a Log Source Host, even if it does not send log messages to a syslog-ng Premium Edition server.

    Relays cannot store the received log messages in local files, except for the log messages of the relay host. Naturally, relays can use the disk-buffer option for every message.

  • In Server mode syslog-ng Premium Edition acts as a central log-collecting server that receives messages through a network connection, and stores them locally, or forwards them to other destinations or external systems (for example, a SIEM or a database). Installing the syslog-ng Premium Edition application in Server mode requires a license file, this license file determines the number of Log Source Hosts that can send log messages to the syslog-ng Premium Edition server.

Modes of operation in syslog-ng PE

Client mode Relay mode Server mode
Collect the local logs of the host
Forward local logs over the network
Store local messages in local files
Receive logs over the network no
Forward received logs over the network no
Store received logs in local files no no
Forward logs using special destinations (for example, databases) no no
Requires license file no no
Notes about counting the licensed hosts

Note that the number of source hosts is important, not the number of hosts that directly sends messages to syslog-ng Premium Edition: every host that send messages to the server (directly or using a relay) counts as a Log Source Host.

  • If the actual IP address of the host differs from the IP address received by looking up its IP address from its hostname in the DNS, the syslog-ng server counts them as two different hosts.

  • The chain-hostnames() option of syslog-ng can interfere with the way syslog-ng PE counts the log source hosts, causing syslog-ng to think there are more hosts logging to the central server, especially if the clients sends a hostname in the message that is different from its real hostname (as resolved from DNS). Disable the chain-hostnames() option on your log sources to avoid any problems related to license counting.
  • If the number of Log Source Hosts reaches the license limit, the syslog-ng PE server will not accept connections from additional hosts. The messages sent by additional hosts will be dropped, even if the client uses a reliable transport method (for example, ALTP).

    To make syslog-ng PE forget old clients that do not exist anymore, enable the reset-license-counter() global option.

  • If the no-parse flag is set in a message source on the syslog-ng PE server, syslog-ng PE assumes that the message arrived from the host (that is, from the last hop) that sent the message to syslog-ng PE, and information about the original sender is lost.

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