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syslog-ng Premium Edition 7.0.20 - 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 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 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

Using name resolution in syslog-ng

The syslog-ng application can resolve the hostnames of the clients and include them in the log messages. However, the performance of syslog-ng is severely degraded if the domain name server is inaccessible or slow. Therefore, it is not recommended to resolve hostnames in syslog-ng. If you must use name resolution from syslog-ng, consider the following:

  • Use DNS caching. Verify that the DNS cache is large enough to store all important hostnames. (By default, the syslog-ng DNS cache stores 1007 entries.)

    options { dns-cache-size(2000); };
  • If the IP addresses of the clients change only rarely, set the expiry of the DNS cache large.

    options { dns-cache-expire(87600); };
  • If possible, resolve the hostnames locally. For details, see Resolving hostnames locally.


Domain name resolution is important mainly in relay and server mode.

Resolving hostnames locally

Resolving hostnames locally enables you to display hostnames in the log files for frequently used hosts, without having to rely on a DNS server. The known IP address – hostname pairs are stored locally in a file. In the log messages, syslog-ng will replace the IP addresses of known hosts with their hostnames.

To configure local name resolution

  1. Add the hostnames and the respective IP addresses to the file used for local name resolution. On Linux and UNIX systems, this is the /etc/hosts file. Consult the documentation of your operating system for details.

  2. Instruct syslog-ng to resolve hostnames locally. Set the use-dns() option of syslog-ng to persist_only.

  3. Set the dns-cache-hosts() option to point to the file storing the hostnames.

    options {
            dns-cache-hosts(/etc/hosts); };

Collecting logs from chroot

The following describes how to collect logs from a chroot using a syslog-ng client running on the host.

Figure 42: Collecting logs from chroot

To collect logs from a chroot using a syslog-ng client running on the host

  1. Create a /dev directory within the chroot. The applications running in the chroot send their log messages here.

  2. Create a local source in the configuration file of the syslog-ng application running outside the chroot. This source should point to the /dev/log file within the chroot (for example, to the /chroot/dev/log directory).

  3. Include the source in a log statement.


    You need to set up timezone information within your chroot as well. This usually means creating a symlink to /etc/localtime.

Configuring log rotation

The syslog-ng PE application does not rotate logs by itself. To use syslog-ng PE for log rotation, consider the following approaches:

Use logrotate together with syslog-ng PE
  • It is ideal for workstations or when processing fewer logs.

  • It is included in most distributions by default.

  • Less scripting is required, only logrotate has to be configured correctly.

  • Requires frequent restart (syslog-ng PE must be reloaded/restarted when the files are rotated). 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 statistics collected by syslog-ng PE, and the correlation information gathered with Pattern Database, are lost with each restart.

Separate incoming logs based on time, host or other information
  • It is ideal for central log servers, where regular restart of syslog-ng PE is unfavorable.

  • Requires shell scripts or cron jobs to remove old logs.

  • It can be done by using macros in the destination name (in the filename, directory name, or the database table name).

Example: File destination for log rotation

This sample file destination configuration stores incoming logs in files that are named based on the current year, month and day, and places these files in directories that are named based on the hostname:

destination d_sorted { file("/var/log/remote/${HOST}/${YEAR}_${MONTH}_${DAY}.log" create-dirs(yes)); };
Example: Logstore destination for log rotation

This sample logstore destination configuration stores incoming logs in logstores that are named based on the current year, month and day, and places these logstores in directories that are named based on the hostname:

destination d_logstore { logstore("/var/log/remote/${HOST}/${YEAR}_${MONTH}_${DAY}.lgs" create-dirs(yes)); };
Example: Command for cron for log rotation

This sample command for cron removes files older than two weeks from the /var/log/remote directory:

find /var/log/remote/ -daystart -mtime +14 -type f -exec rm {} \;
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