Receiving Messages from a Remote System

This is a log-consolidation scenario. There exist at least two systems, a server and at least one client. The server is meant to gather log data from all the clients. Clients may (or may not) process and store messages locally. If they do doesn’t matter here. See recipe Sending Messages to a Remote Syslog Server for how to configure the clients.

Note that in this scenario, we just receive messages from remote machines but do not process them in any special way. Thus, messages from both the local and all remote systems show up in all log files that are written (as well, of course, in all other actions). While the log files contain the source, messages from all systems are intermixed. If you would like to record messages from remote systems to files different from the local system, please see recipe Storing Messages from a Remote System into a specific File for a potential solution.

This scenario provides samples for both UDP and TCP reception. There exist other choices (like RELP), but these are less frequently used. If in question what to use, check the rsyslog module reference and protocol documentation. Note that most devices send UDP messages by default. UDP is an unreliable transmission protocol, thus messages may get lost. TCP supports much more reliability, so if you can not accept message loss, you need to use TCP. Not all devices support TCP-based transports.

Things to think about

TCP and UDP recpetion are not build-in capabilities. You need to load the imtcp and/or imudp plugin in order to enable it. This needs to be done only once in rsyslog.conf. Do it right at the top. Also note that some distributions may package imtcp and/or imudp in separate packages. If so, you need to install them first.

Rsyslog versions prior to v3 had a command-line switch (-r/-t) to activate remote listening. This switch is still available by default and loads the required plugins and configures them with default parameters. However, that still requires the plugins are present on the system. It is recommended not to rely on compatibility mode but rather use proper configuration.

Note that the server port address specified in $InputTCPServerRun must match the port address that the clients send messages to.

Config Statements

# for TCP use:
module(load="imtcp") # needs to be done just once 
input(type="imtcp" port="514")
# for UDP use:
module(load="imudp") # needs to be done just once 
input(type="imudp" port="514")
# Log anything (except mail) of level info or higher.
# Don't log private authentication messages!
*.info;mail.none;authpriv.none;cron.none      /var/log/messages
# The authpriv file has restricted access.
authpriv.*                                    /var/log/secure
# Log all the mail messages in one place.
mail.*                                        /var/log/maillog
# Log cron stuff
cron.*                                        /var/log/cron
# Everybody gets emergency messages
*.emerg                                       *
# Save news errors of level crit and higher in a special file.
uucp,news.crit                                /var/log/spooler
# Save boot messages also to boot.log
local7.*                                      /var/log/boot.log

How it works

Note that loading the plugins is not sufficient. You also need to activate the listeners. Note the subtle difference between the two startup commands. If you need to have listeners for multiple ports, you can define the startup commands more than once. If you need only TCP or only UDP, you can comment out the other part.

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