Roberto Rodriguez edited this page Sep 17, 2018 · 11 revisions


Kafka Ecosystem


Producers publish data to the topics of their choice. The producer is responsible for choosing which record to assign to which partition within the topic.Kafka HELK currently works with machines (producers) running Winlogbeat as their log shipper. Most labs might have Winlogbeat installed on all the endpoints and sending data to the HELK directly. However, it is recommended, for scalability reasons, to use WEF servers to collect your windows logs first. Then, you can have Winlogbeat or NXlog installed on your WEF servers to ship the logs to your HELK. Using WEF servers has not been tested yet with the HELK. This is coming soon..!

The following Winlogbeat config is recommended:

  - name: Application
    ignore_older: 30m
  - name: Security
    ignore_older: 30m
  - name: System
    ignore_older: 30m
  - name: Microsoft-windows-sysmon/operational
    ignore_older: 30m
  - name: Microsoft-windows-PowerShell/Operational
    ignore_older: 30m
    event_id: 4103, 4104
  - name: Windows PowerShell
    event_id: 400,600
    ignore_older: 30m
  - name: Microsoft-Windows-WMI-Activity/Operational
    event_id: 5857,5858,5859,5860,5861

  hosts: ["<HELK-IP>:9092","<HELK-IP>:9093"]
  topic: "winlogbeat"
  max_retries: 2
  max_message_bytes: 1000000

You can check how your logs are being sent to the HELK by running the following command in your systems (producers):

winlogbeat.exe -e

Producers send data directly to the broker that is the leader for the partition without any intervening routing tier. To help the producer do this all Kafka nodes can answer a request for metadata about which servers are alive and where the leaders for the partitions of a topic are at any given time to allow the producer to appropriately direct its requests.

Kafka Cluster (Brokers)

HELK uses a kafka cluster conformed of 2 brokers. Each broker has its own ID number and topic log partitions. Connecting to one broker bootstraps a client to the entire Kafka cluster.

Each HELK broker has the following custom configurations:

Name Description Type Value The broker id for this server. If unset, a unique broker id will be generated.To avoid conflicts between zookeeper generated broker id's and user configured broker id's, generated broker ids start from + 1. int 1,2
listeners Listener List - Comma-separated list of URIs we will listen on and the listener names. If the listener name is not a security protocol, must also be set. Specify hostname as to bind to all interfaces. Leave hostname empty to bind to default interface string PLAINTEXT://:9092 PLAINTEXT://:9093
advertised.listeners Listeners to publish to ZooKeeper for clients to use, if different than the listeners config property. In IaaS environments, this may need to be different from the interface to which the broker binds. string PLAINTEXT://HELKIP:9092 PLAINTEXT://HELKIP:9093
log.dirs The directories in which the log data is kept. If not set, the value in log.dir is used string /tmp/kafka-logs
auto.create.topics.enable Enable auto creation of topic on the server boolean false
num.replica.fetchers Number of fetcher threads used to replicate messages from a source broker. Increasing this value can increase the degree of I/O parallelism in the follower broker. int 2
unclean.leader.election.enable Indicates whether to enable replicas not in the ISR set to be elected as leader as a last resort, even though doing so may result in data loss boolean true The number of threads per data directory to be used for log recovery at startup and flushing at shutdown int 1


Kafka needs ZooKeeper to work efficiently in the cluster. Kafka uses Zookeeper to do leadership election of Kafka Broker and Topic Partition pairs. Kafka uses Zookeeper to manage service discovery for Kafka Brokers that form the cluster. Zookeeper sends changes of the topology to Kafka, so each node in the cluster knows when a new broker joined, a Broker died, a topic was removed or a topic was added, etc. Zookeeper provides an in-sync view of Kafka Cluster configuration.Cloudurable

Kafka Topics for HELK

Kafka automatically creates 3 topics:

topic Description
winlogbeat Main topic that stores raw event log data sent from endpoints with winlogbeat installed.
sysmontransformed topic used for HELK to send transformed/parsed Windows sysmon event data. It is useful for when Spark wants to pull data from Kafka for potential structured streaming
securitytransformed topic used for HELK to send transformed/parsed Windows security event data. It is useful for when Spark wants to pull data from Kafka for potential structured streaming

Are you receiving logs from producers?

You can confirm that you are ingesting logs to your Kafka brokers by running the following commands:

/opt/helk/kafka/bin/ --bootstrap-server --topic winlogbeat --from-beginning

Make sure you are inside of the container before running that command. You can access your container by running the following:

sudo docker exec -ti helk-kafka-broker bash
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