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Bugtraq archives for 4th quarter (Oct-Dec) 1997: Re: solaris 251 & syslogd

Re: solaris 251 & syslogd

Dave Kinchlea (securityKINCH.ARK.COM)
Sat, 15 Nov 1997 11:12:21 -0800

On Sat, 15 Nov 1997, M Shariful Anam wrote:

> On Wed, 12 Nov 1997, Dave Kinchlea wrote:
> | A small point but, with use of the `mark' facility in syslog, and proper
> | monitoring for it, you can and should be able to detect syslogd either
> | dying or refusing to write to files (amounts to the same thing). No ne
> hmm.. would you like to illustrate a bit more on it? man page on
> syslog.conf doesn't say much.

        With most (all?) syslogd implementations, there is an internal
facility called `mark'. While I am sure that the actual details of the
mark facility vary from one implementation to another, generally it is
used by syslogd to send a time stamp to the specified file and/or server
at specified time intervals (usually modifiable via command line args) as
long as no other syslog output has been generated since the last MARK.

        Assuming you have some real-time monitoring of syslog output, all
you need to do is adjust the monitoring so that you expect to see *some*
output within a specified time, if regular syslog traffic doesn't generate
any (ie: during a slow time), the `mark' facility will. When you do not
receive any output within the specified time, syslogd is down (or perhaps
the loghost and/or network is, in any case time to look into it).

        The `trick' here is to remember that many (all?) syslogd
implementations do NOT include the `mark' facility in wildcards. So,

        *.debug                 sysloghost

in /etc/syslog.conf does NOT forward any mark records. You must include it

        *.debug;mark.*          sysloghost

> Also, logging to the console could be one solution.

Doesn't scale well and it requires humans to do the monitoring. No, this
really isn't a good answer for those who truly need the logging, there is
just no way to automate it. Besides, many of us use a single screen as
console for many different servers.

cheers, kinch