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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

Regular expressions

Filters and substitution rewrite rules can use regular expressions. In regular expressions, the characters ()[].*?+^$|\ are used as special symbols. Depending on how you want to use these characters and which quotation mark you use, these characters must be used differently, as summarized below.

  • Strings between single quotes ('string') are treated literally and are not interpreted at all, you do not have to escape special characters. For example, the output of '\x41' is \x41 (characters as follows: backslash, x(letter), 4(number), 1(number)). This makes writing and reading regular expressions much more simple: it is recommended to use single quotes when writing regular expressions.

  • When enclosing strings between double-quotes ("string"), the string is interpreted and you have to escape special characters, that is, to precede them with a backslash (\) character if they are meant literally. For example, the output of the "\x41" is simply the letter a. Therefore special characters like \(backslash) or "(quotation mark) must be escaped (\\ and \"). The following expressions are interpreted: \a, \n, \r, \t, \v. For example, the \$40 expression matches the $40 string. Backslashes have to be escaped as well if they are meant literally, for example, the \\d expression matches the \d string.

    TIP:

    If you use single quotes, you do not need to escape the backslash, for example, match("\\.") is equivalent to match('\.').

  • Enclosing alphanumeric strings between double-quotes ("string") is not necessary, you can just omit the double-quotes. For example, when writing filters, match("sometext") and match(sometext) will both match for the sometext string.

    NOTE:

    Only strings containing alphanumerical characters can be used without quotes or double quotes. If the string contains whitespace or any special characters (()[].*?+^$|\ or ;:#), you must use quotes or double quotes.

    When using the ;:# characters, you must use quotes or double quotes, but escaping them is not required.

By default, all regular expressions are case sensitive. To disable the case sensitivity of the expression, add the flags(ignore-case) option to the regular expression.

filter demo_regexp_insensitive { host("system" flags(ignore-case)); };

The regular expressions can use up to 255 regexp matches (${1} ... ${255}), but only from the last filter and only if the flags("store-matches") flag was set for the filter. For case-insensitive searches, use the flags("ignore-case") option.

Types and options of regular expressions

By default, syslog-ng uses PCRE-style regular expressions. To use other expression types, add the type() option after the regular expression.

The syslog-ng PE application supports the following expression types:

pcre

Description: Use Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE). Starting with syslog-ng PE version 3.1, PCRE expressions are supported on every platform. If the type() parameter is not specified, syslog-ng uses PCRE regular expressions by default.

PCRE regular expressions have the following flag options:

global

Usable only in rewrite rules: match for every occurrence of the expression, not only the first one.

ignore-case

Disable case-sensitivity.

store-matches:

Store the matches of the regular expression into the $0, ... $255 variables. The $0 stores the entire match, $1 is the first group of the match (parentheses), and so on. Named matches (also called named subpatterns), for example, (?<name>...), are stored as well. Matches from the last filter expression can be referenced in regular expressions.

unicode

Use Unicode support for UTF-8 matches: UTF-8 character sequences are handled as single characters.

utf8

An alias for the unicode flag.

Example: Using PCRE regular expressions
rewrite r_rewrite_subst
        {subst("a*", "?", value("MESSAGE") flags("utf8" "global"));  };
string

Description: Match the strings literally, without regular expression support. By default, only identical strings are matched. For partial matches, use the flags("prefix") or the flags("substring") flags.

glob

Description: Match the strings against a pattern containing '*' and '?' wildcards, without regular expression and character range support. The advantage of glob patterns to regular expressions is that globs can be processed much faster.

  • *
  • matches an arbitrary string, including an empty string

  • ?
  • matches an arbitrary character

NOTE:
  • The wildcards can match the / character.

  • You cannot use the * and ? literally in the pattern.

Optimizing regular expressions

The host(), match(), and program() filter functions and some other syslog-ng objects accept regular expressions as parameters. But evaluating general regular expressions puts a high load on the CPU, which can cause problems when the message traffic is very high. Often the regular expression can be replaced with simple filter functions and logical operators. Using simple filters and logical operators, the same effect can be achieved at a much lower CPU load.

Example: Optimizing regular expressions in filters

Suppose you need a filter that matches the following error message logged by the xntpd NTP daemon:

xntpd[1567]: time error -1159.777379 is too large (set clock manually);

The following filter uses regular expressions and matches every instance and variant of this message.

filter f_demo_regexp {
    program("demo_program") and
    match("time error .* is too large .* set clock manually"); };

Segmenting the match() part of this filter into separate match() functions greatly improves the performance of the filter.

filter f_demo_optimized_regexp {
    program("demo_program") and
    match("time error") and
    match("is too large") and
    match("set clock manually"); };

parser: Parse and segment structured messages

The filters and default macros of syslog-ng work well on the headers and metainformation of the log messages, but are rather limited when processing the content of the messages. Parsers can segment the content of the messages into name-value pairs, and these names can be used as user-defined macros. Subsequent filtering or other type of processing of the message can use these custom macros to refer to parts of the message. Parsers are global objects most often used together with filters and rewrite rules.

The syslog-ng PE application provides the following possibilities to parse the messages, or parts of the messages:

The syslog-ng PE application provides built-in parsers for the following application logs:

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