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syslog-ng Premium Edition 7.0.14 - 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) 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 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 (e-mail) 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

Displaying the contents of logstore files

To display the contents of a logstore file, use the lgstool (formerly called logcat) command supplied with syslog-ng, for example, lgstool cat /var/log/messages.lgs. Log messages available in the journal file of the logstore (but not yet written to the logstore file itself) are displayed as well.

To display the contents of encrypted log files, specify the private key of the certificate used to encrypt the file, for example lgstool cat -k private.key /var/log/messages.lgs. The contents of the file are sent to the standard output, so it is possible to use grep and other tools to find particular log messages, for example, lgstool cat /var/log/messages.lgs |grep 192.168.1.1. For further details, see The logstore tool manual page.

TIP:

The lgstool utility is available for Microsoft Windows operating systems at the Downloads page.

Caution:

For files that are in use by syslog-ng, the last chunk that is open cannot be read.

Journal files

The syslog-ng PE application processes log messages into a journal file before writing them to the logstore file. That way logstore files are consistent even if syslog-ng PE crashes unexpectedly, avoiding losing messages. Note that this does not protect against losing messages if the operating system crashes.

A journal file is automatically created for every logstore file that syslog-ng PE opens. A journal file consists of journal blocks which store the log messages. When a journal block fills up with messages, syslog-ng PE writes the entire block into the logstore file and starts to reuse the journal block (one journal block becomes one chunk in the logstore file).

If the messages cannot be written to the logstore file (for example, because the disk becomes inaccessible, or file operations are slow), messages are put to the next journal block (syslog-ng PE uses four blocks by default). When all journal blocks become full, syslog-ng PE will stop processing incoming traffic. syslog-ng PE starts accepting messages to the logstore file again when the first journal block is successfully written to the logstore file. If syslog-ng PE receives a HUP or STOP signal, or no new message arrives into the logstore for the period set in the time-reap() parameter, it writes every journal block to the logstore.

When syslog-ng PE is restarted, it automatically processes the journal files to the logstore files, unless a particular logstore file is not part of configuration of syslog-ng PE. Such orphaned journal files can be processed with the lgstool recover command. For details on processing orphaned journal files, see The logstore tool manual page.

Caution:
  • If a particular logstore destination receives messages at a constant but very low message rate (for example, a 100-byte message every 30 seconds), messages do not get written to the logstore file for a long time, because the journal block does not get full, and messages are more frequent than the time-reap() time. This becomes a problem when using logrotate to rotate the logstore files, because log messages will not be in the files they are expected. To avoid this situation, either use time-based macros in the filenames of the logstore files, or send a HUP signal to syslog-ng PE right before rotating the logstore files.

  • When every block of a journal becomes full and syslog-ng PE stops processing incoming traffic, it will not read new messages at all until a block is successfully written to the related logstore file. This is in contrast with flow-control, where only messages from the source related to the particular destination are not processed.

  • The messages in the journal file are in plain-text format: they are neither encrypted nor compressed. The journal file has the same permission as the logstore, by default, root privileges are required to access them. Make sure you consider this if you change the permissions of the journal file (owner, group, perm) in the syslog-ng PE configuration file.

NOTE:

Journal files are located in the same folder as the logstore file. The name of the journal file is the same as the logstore file with .jor suffix added. For example, the journal file for messages.lgs is messages.lgs.jor.

The syslog-ng PE application uses a separate journal file for every logstore file. Every journal file is processed by a separate thread. The journal files are mapped into the memory. The journal of an individual logstore file uses up to journal-block-size()*journal-block-count() memory address, which is 4MB by default. However, if you have several logstore files open in parallel (for example, you are collecting log messages from 500 hosts and storing them in separate files for every host, and the hosts are continuously sending messages) the memory requirements for journaling rise quickly (to ~2GB for the 500 hosts). To limit the memory use of journals, adjust the logstore-journal-shmem-threshold() global option (by default, it is 512 MB).

If the memory required for the journal files exceeds the logstore-journal-shmem-threshold() limit, syslog-ng PE will store only a single journal block of every journal file in the memory, and — if more blocks are needed for a journal — store the additional blocks on the hard disk. Opening new logstore files means allocating memory for one new journal block for every new file. In extreme situations involving large traffic, this can lead to syslog-ng PE consuming the entire memory of the system. Adjust the journal-block-size() and your file-naming conventions as needed to avoid such situations. For details on logstore journals, see Journal files.

Caution:

If you have a large amount of open logstore files in parrallel (for example, you are using the ${HOST} or ${PROGRAM} macros in your filenames) consider lowering the journal-block-size() to avoid syslog-ng PE consuming the entire memory of the system.

Example: Calculating memory usage of logstore journals

If you are using the default settings (4 journal blocks for every logstore journal, one block is 1MB, logstore-journal-shmem-threshold() is 512MB), this means that syslog-ng PE will allocate 4MB memory for every open logstore file, up to 512MB if you have 128 open logstore files. Opening a new logstore file would require 4 more megabytes of memory for journaling, bringing the total required memory to 516MB, which is above the logstore-journal-shmem-threshold(). In this case, syslog-ng PE switches to storing only a single journal block in the memory, lowering the memory requirements of journaling to 129MB. However, opening more and more logstore files will require more and more memory, and this is not limited, except when syslog-ng PE reaches the maximum number of files that can be open (as set in the --fd-limit command-line option).

logstore() destination options

The logstore driver stores log messages in binary files that can be encrypted, compressed, checked for integrity, and timestamped by an external Timestamping Authority (TSA). Otherwise, it is very similar to the file() destination.

Caution:

When creating several thousands separate log files, syslog-ng might not be able to open the required number of files. This might happen for example when using the ${HOST} macro in the filename while receiving messages from a large number of hosts. To overcome this problem, adjust the --fd-limit command-line parameter of syslog-ng or the global ulimit parameter of your host. For setting the --fd-limit command-line parameter of syslog-ng see the The syslog-ng manual page manual page. For setting the ulimit parameter of the host, see the documentation of your operating system.

NOTE:

When using this destination, update the configuration of your log rotation program to rotate these files. Otherwise, the log files can become very large.

Also, after rotating the log files, reload syslog-ng PE using the syslog-ng-ctl reload command, or use another method to send a SIGHUP to syslog-ng PE.

The logstore() has a single required parameter that specifies the filename that stores the log messages.

Declaration
logstore(filename options());

The logstore() destination has the following options:

cipher()
Type: string
Default: aes-128-cbc

Description: Set the cipher method used to encrypt the logstore. The following cipher methods are available: aes-128-cbc, aes-128-cfb, aes-128-cfb1, aes-128-cfb8, aes-128-ecb, aes-128-ofb , aes-192-cbc, aes-192-cfb, aes-192-cfb1, aes-192-cfb8, aes-192-ecb, aes-192-ofb , aes-256-cbc, aes-256-cfb, aes-256-cfb1, aes-256-cfb8, aes-256-ecb, aes-256-ofb , aes128 , aes192 , aes256, bf , bf-cbc , bf-cfb, bf-ecb , bf-ofb , blowfish, cast , cast-cbc , cast5-cbc , cast5-cfb, cast5-ecb, cast5-ofb , des, des-cbc, des-cfb , des-cfb1 , des-cfb8 , des-ecb , des-ede, des-ede-cbc, des-ede-cfb , des-ede-ofb, des-ede3 , des-ede3-cbc, des-ede3-cfb, des-ede3-ofb, des-ofb , des3 , desx , desx-cbc, rc2, rc2-40-cbc , rc2-64-cbc, rc2-cbc, rc2-cfb, rc2-ecb , rc2-ofb, rc4, and rc4-40. By default, syslog-ng PE uses the aes-128-cbc method.

Note that the size of the digest hash must be equal to or larger than the key size of the cipher method. For example, to use the aes-256-cbc cipher method, the digest method must be at least SHA-256.

chunk-size()
Type: number (kilobytes)
Default: 128

Description: This option is obsolete. Use the journal-block-size() option instead.

Size of a logstore chunk in kilobytes. Note that this size refers to the compressed size of the chunk. Also, the gzip library used for compressing the messages has a 32k long buffer, so messages may not appear in the actual logfile until this buffer is not filled. Logstore chunks are closed when they reach the specified size, or when the time limit set in chunk-time() expires.

chunk-time()
Type: number (seconds)
Default: 5

Description: This option is obsolete.

Time limit in seconds: syslog-ng PE closes the chunk if no new messages arrive until the time limit expires. Logstore chunks are closed when the time limit expires, or when they reach the size specified in the chunk-size() parameter. If the time limit set in the time-reap() parameter expires, the entire file is closed.

compress()
Type: number (between 0-9)
Default: 3

Description: Compression level. 0 means uncompressed files, while 1-9 is the compression level used by gzip (9 means the highest but slowest compression, 3 is usually a good compromise).

create-dirs()
Type: yes or no
Default: no

Description: Enable creating non-existing directories.

digest()
Type: string
Default: SHA1

Description: Set the digest method to use. The following digest methods are available: MD4, MD5, SHA0 (SHA), SHA1, RIPEMD160, SHA224, SHA256, SHA384, and SHA512. By default, syslog-ng PE uses the SHA1 method.

Note that the size of the digest hash must be equal to or larger than the key size of the cipher method. For example, to use the aes-256-cbc cipher method, the digest method must be at least SHA256.

dir-group()
Type: string
Default: Use the global settings

Description: The group of the directories created by syslog-ng. To preserve the original properties of an existing directory, use the option without specifying an attribute: dir-group().

dir-owner()
Type: string
Default: Use the global settings

Description: The owner of the directories created by syslog-ng. To preserve the original properties of an existing directory, use the option without specifying an attribute: dir-owner().

Starting with version 7.0.9, the default value of this option is -1, so syslog-ng PE does not change the ownership, unless explicitly configured to do so.

dir-perm()
Type: number
Default: Use the global settings

Description: The permission mask of directories created by syslog-ng. Log directories are only created if a file after macro expansion refers to a non-existing directory, and directory creation is enabled (see also the create-dirs() option). For octal numbers prefix the number with 0, for example use 0755 for rwxr-xr-x.

To preserve the original properties of an existing directory, use the option without specifying an attribute: dir-perm(). Note that when creating a new directory without specifying attributes for dir-perm(), the default permission of the directories is masked with the umask of the parent process (typically 0022).

encrypt-certificate()
Type: filename
Default: none

Description: Name of a file, that contains an X.509 certificate (and the public key) in PEM format. The syslog-ng PE application uses this certificate to encrypt the logstore files which can be decrypted using the private key of the certificate.

flags()
Type: serialized
Default: empty set

Description: Flags influence the behavior of the destination driver.

  • The serialized flag instructs the driver to store the log messages in a serialized format. When using the lgstool utility to display messages from the logstore, the messages can be reformatted with a template only if the serialized flag has been enabled on the logstore.

frac-digits()
Type: number
Default: 0

Description: The syslog-ng application can store fractions of a second in the timestamps according to the ISO8601 format. The frac-digits() parameter specifies the number of digits stored. The digits storing the fractions are padded by zeros if the original timestamp of the message specifies only seconds. Fractions can always be stored for the time the message was received. Note that syslog-ng can add the fractions to non-ISO8601 timestamps as well.

group()
Type: string
Default: Use the global settings

Description: Set the group of the created file to the one specified. To preserve the original properties of an existing file, use the option without specifying an attribute: group().

log-fifo-size()
Type: number
Default: Use global setting.

Description: The number of messages that the output queue can store.

journal-block-count()
Type: number (1-255)
Default: 4

Description: The number of blocks in the journal file. If set to 0, syslog-ng will set it to the default value (4). The maximal value is 255. If journal-block-count() is set higher than 255, syslog-ng will use the maximum value.

NOTE:

By default, journal files are mapped into the memory of the host. To influence the amount of memory addresses used by journal files, see the logstore-journal-shmem-threshold() global option.

Example: Setting journal block number and size

The following example sets the size of a journal block to 512KB and increases the number of blocks to 5.

destination d_logstore {
    logstore("/var/log/messages-logstore.lgs"
        encrypt-certificate ("/opt/syslog-ng/etc/syslog-ng/keys/public-server-certificate.pem")
        journal-block-size(524288)
        journal-block-count(5)
    );
};
journal-block-size()
Type: number (bytes)
Default: 1048576

Description: The size of blocks (in bytes) in the journal file. The size of the block must be a multiple of the page size: if not, syslog-ng PE automatically increases it to the next multiple of the page size. The maximum size of a journal block is 32MB, the minimum size is 256KB. If the value specified as journal-block-size() is lower than minimum size or higher than the maximum size, syslog-ng PE will use the minimum or maximum size, respectively.

NOTE:
  • At least one journal block for every logstore file open is mapped into the memory. For details on logstore journals, see Journal files.

  • The size of the journal block is not equal with the size of logstore chunks, because the records in the logstore file can be encrypted or compressed.

Example: Setting journal block number and size

The following example sets the size of a journal block to 512KB and increases the number of blocks to 5.

destination d_logstore {
    logstore("/var/log/messages-logstore.lgs"
        encrypt-certificate ("/opt/syslog-ng/etc/syslog-ng/keys/public-server-certificate.pem")
        journal-block-size(524288)
        journal-block-count(5)
    );
};
owner()
Type: string
Default: Use the global settings

Description: Set the owner of the created file to the one specified. To preserve the original properties of an existing file, use the option without specifying an attribute: owner().

perm()
Type: number
Default: Use the global settings

Description: The permission mask of the file if it is created by syslog-ng. For octal numbers prefix the number with 0, for example use 0755 for rwxr-xr-x.

To preserve the original properties of an existing file, use the option without specifying an attribute: perm().

template()
Type: string
Default: A format conforming to the default logfile format.

Description: Specifies a template defining the logformat to be used in the destination. Macros are described in Macros of syslog-ng PE. Please note that for network destinations it might not be appropriate to change the template as it changes the on-wire format of the syslog protocol which might not be tolerated by stock syslog receivers (like syslogd or syslog-ng itself). For network destinations make sure the receiver can cope with the custom format defined.

throttle()
Type: number
Default: 0

Description: Sets the maximum number of messages sent to the destination per second. Use this output-rate-limiting functionality only when using the disk-buffer option as well to avoid the risk of losing messages. Specifying 0 or a lower value sets the output limit to unlimited.

timestamp-freq()
Type: number (seconds)
Default: Use global setting.

Description: The minimum time (in seconds) that should expire between two timestamping requests. When syslog-ng closes a chunk, it checks how much time has expired since the last timestamping request: if it is higher than the value set in the timestamp-freq() parameter, it requests a new timestamp from the authority set in the timestamp-url() parameter.

By default, timestamping is disabled: the timestamp-freq() global option is set to 0. To enable timestamping, set it to a positive value.

timestamp-policy()
Type: string
Default:

Description: If the Timestamping Server has timestamping policies configured, specify the OID of the policy to use with this parameter. syslog-ng PE will include this ID in the timestamping requests sent to the TSA. This option is available in syslog-ng PE 3.1 and later.

timestamp-url()
Type: string
Default: Use global setting.

Description: The URL of the Timestamping Authority used to request timestamps to sign logstore chunks. Note that syslog-ng PE currently supports only Timestamping Authorities that conform to RFC3161 Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Time-Stamp Protocol, other protocols like Microsoft Authenticode Timestamping are not supported.

time-zone()
Type: name of the timezone, or the timezone offset
Default: unspecified

Description: Convert timestamps to the timezone specified by this option. If this option is not set, then the original timezone information in the message is used. Converting the timezone changes the values of all date-related macros derived from the timestamp, for example, HOUR. For the complete list of such macros, see Date-related macros.

The timezone can be specified as using the name of the (for example time-zone("Europe/Budapest")), or as the timezone offset in +/-HH:MM format (for example +01:00). On Linux and UNIX platforms, the valid timezone names are listed under the /usr/share/zoneinfo directory.

ts-format()
Type: rfc3164, bsd, rfc3339, iso
Default: rfc3164

Description: Override the global timestamp format (set in the global ts-format() parameter) for the specific destination. For details, see ts-format().

mongodb: Storing messages in a MongoDB database

The mongodb() driver sends messages to a MongoDB database. MongoDB is a schema-free, document-oriented database. For the list of available optional parameters, see mongodb() destination options.

NOTE:

In order to use this destination, syslog-ng Premium Edition must run in server mode. Typically, only the central syslog-ng Premium Edition server uses this destination. For details on the server mode, see Server mode.

Declaration
mongodb(parameters);

The mongodb() driver does not support creating indexes, as that can be a very complex operation in MongoDB. If needed, the administrator of the MongoDB database must ensure that indexes are created on the collections.

The mongodb() driver does not add the _id field to the message: the MongoDB server will do that automatically, if none is present. If you want to override this field from syslog-ng PE, use the key() parameter of the value-pairs() option.

The syslog-ng PE mongodb() driver is compatible with MongoDB server version 1.4 and newer.

NOTE:

By default, syslog-ng PE handles every message field as a string. For details on how to send selected fields as other types of data (for example, handle the PID as a number), see Specifying data types in value-pairs.

Example: Using the mongodb() driver

The following example creates a mongodb() destination using only default values.

destination d_mongodb {
    mongodb();
};

The following example displays the default values.

destination d_mongodb {
    mongodb(
        uri("mongodb://localhost:27017/syslog")
        collection("messages")
        value-pairs(
            scope("selected-macros" "nv-pairs" "sdata")
        )
    );
};

The following example shows the same setup using the deprecated libmongo-client syntax, and is equivalent with the previous example.

destination d_mongodb {
    mongodb(
        servers("localhost:27017")
        database("syslog")
        collection("messages")
        value-pairs(
            scope("selected-macros" "nv-pairs" "sdata")
        )
    );
};
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