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Aggregating logs from numerous FreeBSD machines

From: Mark Johnston (mjohnstonskyweb.ca)
Date: Thu Jan 13 2005 - 12:32:44 CST


Hi folks,

My stack of trusty FreeBSD servers always seems to be growing, and it's
getting to the point where the daily and security output mail is too much to
make good use of. I'm looking for suggestions for log monitoring and
aggregation tools, especially from a monitoring-for-security perspective.

If I had to imagine an ideal system, it would be a central server that
securely collects syslog messages from all my servers, indexes them by server
and severity, and gives a reasonable management interface. Given expressions
based on facility, severity, log message, and the like, it could throw away
useless messages, or page me for critical ones. This would tie into
AIDE/Samhain/Tripwire (haven't picked one yet) and maybe even different
flavors of IDS. It could even warn me when processes run away with the CPU
or RAM, or disks get too full.

I've found a variety of things that almost do this. Nagios is good at paging
for service failures, disk full warnings, and that sort of thing, but it
doesn't seem well-suited for aggregating log messages. The Prelude IDS seems
to have some kind of console, as does Samhain, but I want to try to avoid
having different interfaces for each service type.

I realize this is something that could be had using IPSec-protected remote
logging with some greps and interface stuff bolted on, but if there's a
ready-made tool, it'd save me a fair bit of implementation time. What kind
of things are other security-minded admins using to stay on top of all the
logs?

Thanks,
Mark
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