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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

Client-side failover

syslog-ng PE can detect if the remote server of a network destination becomes inaccessible, and start sending messages to a secondary server. You can configure multiple failover servers, so if the secondary server becomes inaccessible as well, syslog-ng PE switches to the third server in the list, and so on. If there are no more failover servers left, syslog-ng PE returns to the beginning of a list and attempts to connect to the primary server.

The primary server is the address you provided in the destination driver configuration and it has a special role. syslog-ng PE nominates this destination over the failover servers, and handles it as the primary address.

When syslog-ng PE starts up, it always connects to the primary server first. In the failover() option there is a possibility to customize the failover modes.

Depending on how you set the failback() option, syslog-ng PE behaves as follows:

  • round-robin mode: If failback() is not set, syslog-ng PE does not attempt to return to the primary server even if it becomes available. In case the failover server fails, syslog-ng PE attempts to connect the next failover server in the list in round-robin fashion. This is the default behavior in syslog-ng PE version 7.0.9 and earlier.

    Example: round-robin mode

    In the following example syslog-ng PE handles the logservers in round-robin fashion if the primary logserver becomes inaccessible (therefore failback() option is not set).

    destination d_network {
              failover( servers("failover-server1", "failover-server2") )
  • failback mode: If failback() is set, syslog-ng PE attempts to return to the primary server.

    After syslog-ng PE connects a secondary server during a failover, it sends a probe every tcp-probe-interval() seconds towards the primary server. If the primary logserver responds with a TCP ACK packet, the probe is successful. When the number of successful probes reaches the value set in the successful-probes-required() option, syslog-ng PE tries to connect the primary server using the last probe.

    NOTE:syslog-ng PE always waits for the result of the last probe before sending the next message. So if one connection attempt takes longer than the configured interval, that is, it waits for connection time out, you may experience longer intervals between actual probes.

    Example: failback mode

    In the following example syslog-ng PE attempts to return to the primary logserver, as set in the failback() option: it will check if the server is accessible every tcp-probe-interval() seconds, and reconnect to the primary logserver after three successful connection attempts.

    destination d_network_2 {
    		servers("failover-server1", "failover-server2")

If syslog-ng PE is restarted, it attempts to connect the primary server.

If syslog-ng PE uses TLS-encryption to communicate with the remote server, syslog-ng PE checks the certificate of the failover server as well. The certificates of the failover servers should match their domain names or IP addresses — for details, see Encrypting log messages with TLS. Note that when mutual authentication is used, the syslog-ng PE client sends the same certificate to every server.

The primary server and the failover servers must be accessible with the same communication method: it is not possible to use different destination drivers or options for the different servers.


Client-side failover works only for TCP-based connections (including TLS-encrypted connections), that is, the syslog() and network() destination drivers (excluding UDP transport).

Client-side failover is not supported in the sql() driver, even though it may use a TCP connection to access a remote database.

For details on configuring failover servers, see network() destination options and syslog() destination options.

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