Notes on Setting Up a Central Log Management Server (Logstash, Elasticsearch & Kibana)

REVISED on February 23, 2015 due to several minor changes with the new packages.

Overview of Setup:

Logstash Server:

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with 4gb of RAM

Part 1 > Install OpenJDK

  1. Install OpenJDK
    $ sudo apt-get update 
    $ sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre-headless

Part 2 > Install Logstash (The Indexer)

This is on the log server side. It indexers the logs and pipes them into elasticsearch.

  1. Download Logstash & install the files
    dpkg -i logstash_1.4.2-1-2c0f5a1_all.deb
  2. Generate SSL Certs
    mkdir -p /etc/pki/tls/certs
    mkdir /etc/pki/tls/private
  3. Add the host as a CA in the [v3_ca] section:
    nano /etc/ssl/openssl.cnf
    subjectAltName = IP:ipaddressofhost
  4. Next, generate the certificate and private key:
    cd /etc/pki/tls; sudo openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 3650 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout private/logstash-forwarder.key -out certs/logstash-forwarder.crt
  5. Later, we’ll copy that key to each server that will be forwarding logs to logstash.
  6. Next, we’ll configure Logstash. Config files should be placed in /etc/logstash/conf.d/
  7. First, create an input config, we’ll name it 01-lumberjack-input.conf, which 01 will place it first in line to be read by logstash.
    nano /etc/logstash/conf.d/01-lumberjack-input.conf
  8. Place this in the lumberack input conf:
    input {
      lumberjack {
        port => 5000
        type => "logs"
        ssl_certificate => "/etc/pki/tls/certs/logstash-forwarder.crt"
        ssl_key => "/etc/pki/tls/private/logstash-forwarder.key"
  9. Next, let’s create a filter for syslog messages:
    nano /etc/logstash/conf.d/10-syslog.conf
    filter {
      if [type] == "syslog" {
        grok {
          match => { "message" => "%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:syslog_timestamp} %{SYSLOGHOST:syslog_hostname} %{DATA:syslog_program}(?:\[%{POSINT:syslog_pid}\])?: %{GREEDYDATA:syslog_message}" }
          add_field => [ "received_at", "%{@timestamp}" ]
          add_field => [ "received_from", "%{host}" ]
        syslog_pri { }
        date {
          match => [ "syslog_timestamp", "MMM  d HH:mm:ss", "MMM dd HH:mm:ss" ]
  10. Grok will parse the messages based on the above specifications which will make the logs structured and searchable inside Kibana.
  11. For the last component, we’ll create the lumberjack output config file:
    nano /etc/logstash/conf.d/30-lumberjack-output.conf
    output {
      elasticsearch { host => localhost }
      stdout { codec => rubydebug }
  12. Additional filters need to be created for each type of log (e.g. Apache). You can created additional ones later, with a filename between 01 and 30 so that it’s sorted between the input and output configuration files.
  13. Restart logstash
    service logstash restart
  14. Disable logstash built in web frontend:
    service logstash-web stop
    update-rc.d -f logstash-web remove


Part 3 > Install Elasticsearch

  1. Download and install elasticsearch
    dpkg -i elasticsearch-1.4.2.deb
  2. Edit Elasticsearch config to allow Kibana to speak with it, add this at the end of /etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml
    http.cors.enabled: true
    http.cors.allow-origin: "/.*/"
    script.disable_dynamic: true
  3. Restart elasticsearch
    service elasticsearch restart

Part 4 > Install Kibana (Web Frontend)

  1. Download Kibana package, unpack and move to /var/www folder
    tar xvf kibana*
    mv kibana-3.1.2 /var/www/kibana
  2. Edit config.js in /var/www/kibana/ and replace port 9200 with 80:
     elasticsearch: "http://"+window.location.hostname+":80",
  3. Create a virtualhosts file for Kibana in Apache2 for /var/www/kibana

Part 5 > Install Logstash Forwarder

UPDATE: As of 2/16/2015, the deb repo was taken down. I need figure out the steps to compile from the master branch, since that seems to be the only way. Full discussion here.

UPDATE (02/23/2015): Here are the steps to compile from master. 

Do these steps on each server:

  1. Copy crt from Logstash server to each forwarding machine:
    scp /etc/pki/tls/certs/logstash-forwarder.crt username@remoteip:/tmp
  2. Compile from source:
    1.  Download from github the zip file:
    2. Unzip and cd to the directory.
    3. Make sure you have the compiling tools, if not:
      1. apt-get install gccgo-go
    4. # go build
      # mkdir -p /opt/logstash-forwarder/bin/
    5. # mv logstash-forwarder-master /opt/logstash-forwarder/bin/logstash-forwarder
  3. Install the init script to get Logstash Forwarded to start on bootup:
    cd /etc/init.d/; sudo wget -O logstash-forwarder
    sudo chmod +x logstash-forwarder
    sudo update-rc.d logstash-forwarder defaults
  4. Copy the certs over:
    mkdir -p /etc/pki/tls/certs
    cp /tmp/logstash-forwarder.crt /etc/pki/tls/certs/
  5. Create and edit the logstash forwarder config file:
    nano /etc/logstash-forwarder
     "network": {
     "servers": [ "logstashserverip:5000" ],
     "timeout": 15,
     "ssl ca": "/etc/pki/tls/certs/logstash-forwarder.crt"
     "files": [
     "paths": [
     "fields": { "type": "syslog" }
  6. Restart the service on each forwarding machine and check Kibana to see that they are successfully shipping their logs.
    service logstash-forwarder restart

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