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Full text indexing of syslog messages with solr



rsyslog-solr is a couple of scripts and configs to write syslog mesages into solr to allow full text searches. Currently just a proof of concept and needs further work.


You'll need ruby and solr. On Debian/Ubuntu you can install the ruby and solr-jetty packages.

rsyslog-solr configuration

Copy the rsyslog-solr script to /usr/local/bin and copy the rsyslog-solr.conf upstart script into /etc/init

rsyslog configuration

The following lines added to your /etc/rsyslog.conf will get the log entries written to the named pipe in the right format:

$template SolrFormat,"<doc><field name='from'>%FROMHOST%</field> <field name='facility'>%syslogfacility-text%</field> <field name='msg'><![CDATA[%msg%]]></field> <field name='hostname'>%HOSTNAME%</field> <field name='priority'>%syslogpriority%</field> <field name='tag'>%syslogtag%</field> <field name='program'>%programname%</field> <field name='severity'>%syslogseverity-text%</field> <field name='generated'>%timegenerated:::date-rfc3339%</field></doc>\n"
*.* |/tmp/rsyslog-solr;SolrFormat

Then configure your others hosts to log centrally to this server.

solr configuration

Copy the schema.xml to /usr/share/solr/conf/schema.xml and start/restart solr. Schema changes don't take effect if you've already written data to the solr db, so you'll need to wipe it out if you didn't do this before the other bits (rm -rf /var/lib/solr/data/)


Log lines are written to solr in batches of 10, and each batch should be available for search within 10 seconds by default.

Use the rsyslog-solr-search script to conduct searches.

The environment variable LIMIT sets how many results to display, and PAGE let's you page through the results.

find failed logins

$ rsyslog-solr-search failed password
page 1 of 50555 hits for search "failed password"
2011-03-03T12:31:12.402385+00:00 srv-g1xxx sshd  Failed password for invalid user password from port 63741 ssh2
2011-03-03T12:16:43.272207+00:00 srv-5axxx sshd  Failed password for invalid user password from port 35110 ssh2
2011-03-03T20:23:56.767459+00:00 srv-d2xxx sshd  Failed password for root from port 43757 ssh2

show all log message from the last hour

$ rsyslog-solr-search timestamp:[NOW-1HOUR TO NOW] 
page 1 of 1800 hits for search "timestamp:[NOW-1HOUR TO NOW]"


  • any user that can generate logs that are sent to the system can cause a denial of service attack by sending specially malformed messages. This can be fixed by moving the formatting of the log entries from rsyslog into the ruby script, but I've not done it yet.

  • the timestamp field is actually the time the line was received by solr, not the time it was generated. This can again be fixed by moving the formatting into the ruby script.

More Info


John Leach (


Copyright © 2011 John Leach





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