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syslog-ng Premium Edition 7.0.19 - 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 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 sentinel: Sending logs to the Microsoft Azure Sentinel cloud 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

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:

Parsing syslog messages

By default, syslog-ng PE parses every message using the syslog-parser as a syslog message, and fills the macros with values of the message. The syslog-parser does not discard messages: the message cannot be parsed as a syslog message, the entire message (including its header) is stored in the $MSG macro. If you do not want to parse the message as a syslog message, use the flags(no-parse) option of the source.

You can also use the syslog-parser to explicitly parse a message, or a part of a message as a syslog message (for example, after rewriting the beginning of a message that does not comply with the syslog standards).

Example: Using junctions

For example, suppose that you have a single network source that receives log messages from different devices, and some devices send messages that are not RFC-compliant (some routers are notorious for that). To solve this problem in earlier versions of syslog-ng PE, you had to create two different network sources using different IP addresses or ports: one that received the RFC-compliant messages, and one that received the improperly formatted messages (for example, using the flags(no-parse) option). Using junctions this becomes much more simple: you can use a single network source to receive every message, then use a junction and two channels. The first channel processes the RFC-compliant messages, the second everything else. At the end, every message is stored in a single file. The filters used in the example can be host() filters (if you have a list of the IP addresses of the devices sending non-compliant messages), but that depends on your environment.

log {
    source { syslog(ip( transport("tcp") flags(no-parse)); };
    junction {
        channel { filter(f_compliant_hosts); parser { syslog-parser(); }; };
        channel { filter(f_noncompliant_hosts); };
    destination { file("/var/log/messages"); };

Since every channel receives every message that reaches the junction, use the flags(final) option in the channels to avoid the unnecessary processing the messages multiple times:

log {
    source { syslog(ip( transport("tcp") flags(no-parse)); };
    junction {
        channel { filter(f_compliant_hosts); parser { syslog-parser(); }; flags(final); };
        channel { filter(f_noncompliant_hosts); flags(final); };
    destination { file("/var/log/messages"); };

Note that syslog-ng PE has several parsers that you can use to parse non-compliant messages. You can even write a custom syslog-ng parser in Python. For details, see parser: Parse and segment structured messages.

Note that by default, the syslog-parser attempts to parse the message as an RFC3164-formatted (BSD-syslog) message. To parse the message as an RFC5424-formatted message, use the flags(syslog-protocol) option in the parser.


Options of syslog-parser parsers

The syslog-parser has the following options.

Type: facility string
Default: kern
Type: priority string

Description: This parameter assigns an emergency level to the messages received from the file source, if the message does not specify one. For example, default-priority(warning)

Type: assume-utf8, empty-lines, expect-hostname, guess-timezone, kernel, no-hostname, no-multi-line, no-parse, sanitize-utf8, store-legacy-msghdr, store-raw-message, syslog-protocol, validate-utf8
Default: empty set

Description: Specifies the log parsing options of the source.

  • assume-utf8: The assume-utf8 flag assumes that the incoming messages are UTF-8 encoded, but does not verify the encoding. If you explicitly want to validate the UTF-8 encoding of the incoming message, use the validate-utf8 flag.

  • empty-lines: Use the empty-lines flag to keep the empty lines of the messages. By default, syslog-ng PE removes empty lines automatically.

  • expect-hostname: If the expect-hostname flag is enabled, syslog-ng PE will assume that the log message contains a hostname and parse the message accordingly. This is the default behavior for TCP sources. Note that pipe sources use the no-hostname flag by default.

  • kernel: The kernel flag makes the source default to the LOG_KERN | LOG_NOTICE priority if not specified otherwise.

  • no-hostname: Enable the no-hostname flag if the log message does not include the hostname of the sender host. That way syslog-ng PE assumes that the first part of the message header is ${PROGRAM} instead of ${HOST}. For example:

    source s_dell {
  • no-multi-line: The no-multi-line flag disables line-breaking in the messages: the entire message is converted to a single line. Note that this happens only if the underlying transport method actually supports multi-line messages. Currently the file() and pipe() drivers support multi-line messages.

  • no-parse: By default, syslog-ng PE parses incoming messages as syslog messages. The no-parse flag completely disables syslog message parsing and processes the complete line as the message part of a syslog message. The syslog-ng PE application will generate a new syslog header (timestamp, host, and so on) automatically and put the entire incoming message into the MESSAGE part of the syslog message (available using the ${MESSAGE} macro). This flag is useful for parsing messages not complying to the syslog format.

    If you are using the flags(no-parse) option, then syslog message parsing is completely disabled, and the entire incoming message is treated as the ${MESSAGE} part of a syslog message. In this case, syslog-ng PE generates a new syslog header (timestamp, host, and so on) automatically. Note that since flags(no-parse) disables message parsing, it interferes with other flags, for example, disables flags(no-multi-line).

  • dont-store-legacy-msghdr: By default, syslog-ng stores the original incoming header of the log message. This is useful if the original format of a non-syslog-compliant message must be retained (syslog-ng automatically corrects minor header errors, for example, adds a whitespace before msg in the following message: Jan 22 10:06:11 host program:msg). If you do not want to store the original header of the message, enable the dont-store-legacy-msghdr flag.

  • sanitize-utf8: When using the sanitize-utf8 flag, syslog-ng PE converts non-UTF-8 input to an escaped form, which is valid UTF-8.

  • store-raw-message: Save the original message as received from the client in the ${RAWMSG} macro. You can forward this raw message in its original form to another syslog-ng node using the syslog-ng() destination, or to a SIEM system, ensuring that the SIEM can process it. Available only in 7.0.9 and later.

  • syslog-protocol: The syslog-protocol flag specifies that incoming messages are expected to be formatted according to the new IETF syslog protocol standard (RFC5424), but without the frame header. Note that this flag is not needed for the syslog driver, which handles only messages that have a frame header.

  • validate-utf8: The validate-utf8 flag enables encoding-verification for messages formatted according to the new IETF syslog standard (for details, see IETF-syslog messages). If theBOM1character is missing, but the message is otherwise UTF-8 compliant, syslog-ng automatically adds the BOM character to the message.

Synopsis: template("${<macroname>}")

Description: The macro that contains the part of the message that the parser will process. It can also be a macro created by a previous parser of the log path. By default, the parser processes the entire message (${MESSAGE}).

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