syslog-ng Open Source Edition 3.16 - Administration Guide

Preface Introduction to syslog-ng The concepts of syslog-ng Installing syslog-ng The syslog-ng OSE quick-start guide The syslog-ng OSE configuration file source: Read, receive, and collect log messages
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 network: Collecting messages using the RFC3164 protocol (network() driver) nodejs: Receiving JSON messages from nodejs applications mbox: Converting local e-mail messages to log messages osquery: Collect and parse osquery result logs pipe: Collecting messages from named pipes pacct: Collecting process accounting logs on Linux program: Receiving messages from external applications 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— OBSOLETE unix-stream, unix-dgram: Collecting messages from UNIX domain sockets stdin: Collecting messages from the standard input stream
destination: Forward, send, and store log messages
amqp: Publishing messages using AMQP elasticsearch: Sending messages directly to Elasticsearch version 1.x elasticsearch2: Sending logs directly to Elasticsearch and Kibana 2.0 or higher file: Storing messages in plain-text files graphite: Sending metrics to Graphite Sending logs to Graylog hdfs: Storing messages on the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) Posting messages over HTTP http: Posting messages over HTTP without Java kafka: Publishing messages to Apache Kafka loggly: Using Loggly logmatic: Using mongodb: Storing messages in a MongoDB database network: Sending messages to a remote log server using the RFC3164 protocol (network() driver) osquery: Sending log messages to osquery's syslog table pipe: Sending messages to named pipes program: Sending messages to external applications pseudofile() redis: Storing name-value pairs in Redis riemann: Monitoring your data with Riemann smtp: Generating SMTP messages (e-mail) from logs Splunk: Sending log messages to Splunk sql: Storing messages in an SQL database stomp: Publishing messages using STOMP syslog: Sending messages to a remote logserver using the IETF-syslog protocol syslog-ng: Forwarding messages and tags 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) Telegram: Sending messages to Telegram unix-stream, unix-dgram: Sending messages to UNIX domain sockets usertty: Sending messages to a user terminal: usertty() destination Write your own custom destination in Java or Python
log: Filter and route log messages using log paths, flags, and filters Global options of syslog-ng OSE TLS-encrypted message transfer template and rewrite: Format, modify, and manipulate log messages parser: Parse and segment structured messages db-parser: Process message content with a pattern database (patterndb) Correlating log messages Enriching log messages with external data Statistics of syslog-ng Multithreading and scaling in syslog-ng OSE Troubleshooting syslog-ng Best practices and examples The syslog-ng manual pages Third-party contributions Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) License About us

What syslog-ng is

The syslog-ng application is a flexible and highly scalable system logging application that is ideal for creating centralized and trusted logging solutions. Among others, syslog-ng OSE allows you the following.

Secure and reliable log transfer

The syslog-ng OSE application enables you to send the log messages of your hosts to remote servers using the latest protocol standards. You can collect and store your log data centrally on dedicated log servers. Transfer log messages using the TCP protocol ensures that no messages are lost.

Disk-based message buffering

To minimize the risk of losing important log messages, the syslog-ng OSE application can store messages on the local hard disk if the central log server or the network connection becomes unavailable. The syslog-ng application automatically sends the stored messages to the server when the connection is reestablished, in the same order the messages were received. The disk buffer is persistent – no messages are lost even if syslog-ng is restarted.

Secure logging using TLS

Log messages may contain sensitive information that should not be accessed by third parties. Therefore, syslog-ng OSE supports the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol to encrypt the communication. TLS also allows you to authenticate your clients and the logserver using X.509 certificates.

Flexible data extraction and processing

Most log messages are inherently unstructured, which makes them difficult to process. To overcome this problem, syslog-ng OSE comes with a set of built-in parsers, which you can combine to build very complex things.

Filter and classify

The syslog-ng OSE application can sort the incoming log messages based on their content and various parameters like the source host, application, and priority. You can create directories, files, and database tables dynamically using macros. Complex filtering using regular expressions and boolean operators offers almost unlimited flexibility to forward only the important log messages to the selected destinations.

Parse and rewrite

The syslog-ng OSE application can segment log messages to named fields or columns, and also modify the values of these fields. You can process JSON messages, key-value pairs, and more.

To get the most information out of your log data, syslog-ng OSE allows you to correlate log messages and aggregate the extracted information into a single message. You can also use external information to enrich your log data.

Big data clusters

The log data that your organization has to process, store, and review increases daily, so many organizations use big data solutions for their logs. To accomodate this huge amount of data, syslog-ng OSE natively supports storing log messages in HDFS files and Elasticsearch clusters.

Message queue support

Large organizations increasingly rely on queuing infrastructure to transfer their data. syslog-ng OSE supports Apache Kafka, the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP), and the Simple Text Oriented Messaging Protocol (STOMP).

SQL, NoSQL, and monitoring

Storing your log messages in a database allows you to easily search and query the messages and interoperate with log analyzing applications. The syslog-ng application supports the following databases: MongoDB, MSSQL, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and SQLite.

syslog-ng OSE also allows you to extract the information you need from your log data, and directly send it to your Graphite, Redis, or Riemann monitoring system.

Wide protocol and platform support

syslog protocol standards

syslog-ng not only supports legacy BSD syslog (RFC3164) and the enhanced RFC5424 protocols but also JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and journald message formats.

Heterogeneous environments

The syslog-ng OSE application is the ideal choice to collect logs in massively heterogeneous environments using several different operating systems and hardware platforms, including Linux, Unix, BSD, Sun Solaris, HP-UX, Tru64, and AIX.

IPv4 and IPv6 support

The syslog-ng application can operate in both IPv4 and IPv6 network environments, and can receive and send messages to both types of networks.

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What syslog-ng is not

The syslog-ng application is not log analysis software. It can filter log messages and select only the ones matching certain criteria. It can even convert the messages and restructure them to a predefined format, or parse the messages and segment them into different fields. But syslog-ng cannot interpret and analyze the meaning behind the messages, or recognize patterns in the occurrence of different messages.

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Why is syslog-ng needed?

Log messages contain information about the events happening on the hosts. Monitoring system events is essential for security and system health monitoring reasons.

The original syslog protocol separates messages based on the priority of the message and the facility sending the message. These two parameters alone are often inadequate to consistently classify messages, as many applications might use the same facility, and the facility itself is not even included in the log message. To make things worse, many log messages contain unimportant information. The syslog-ng application helps you to select only the really interesting messages, and forward them to a central server.

Company policies or other regulations often require log messages to be archived. Storing the important messages in a central location greatly simplifies this process.

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What is new in syslog-ng Open Source Edition 3.16?

Version 3.16 of syslog-ng Open Source Edition includes the following main features.

Easily receive and parse messages from remote hosts

The default-network-drivers() source is a special source that uses multiple source drivers to receive and parse several different types of syslog messages from the network. For details, see "default-network-drivers() source options" in the Administration Guide.

Transfer log messages and their key-value pairs between syslog-ng nodes

The Enterprise-wide message model or EWMM allows you to deliver structured messages from the initial receiving syslog-ng component right up to the central log server, through any number of hops. It does not matter if you parse the messages on the client, on a relay, or on the central server, their structured results will be available where you store the messages. Optionally, you can also forward the original raw message as the first syslog-ng component in your infrastructure has received it, which is important if you want to forward a message for example to a SIEM system. To make use of the enterprise-wide message model, you have to use the syslog-ng() destination on the sender side, and the default-network-drivers() source on the receiver side.

Clearer configuration using if, else, elif conditions

You can use if {}, elif {}, and else {} blocks to configure conditional expressions. For details, see Administration Guide.

Message parsing

syslog-ng OSE version 3.16 includes parsers for the sudo and iptables applications.

For a more detailed list, see Version 3.14 - 3.15 and the syslog-ng Releases page.

Execute external programs during startup

The hook-commands() option makes it possible to execute external programs when the relevant driver is initialized or torn down. It can be used with all source and destination drivers with the exception of the usertty() and internal() drivers. For details, see the option descriptions in the Administration Guide, and the hook-commands blog post.

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