Central Logging Server - Splunk Forwarder
Continuing on with rebuilding the homelab, since I have two boxes set up (one main “server” and one “router/server/gateway/firewall” combo), I found that there was a real need to have separate logging on this box to be forwarded to my Splunk instance. Whenever I took my main server down which had my Splunk instance on it, anything that was sending syslogs to it via the udp port (and not using a universal forwarder, i.e. Routers, Switches, etc) would have that data lost. So any data that my firewall/router was sending my Splunk instance was essentially gone. While in a homelab environment this isn’t critical (to most), in production this would not be best practice. Plus, why wouldn’t I want to over-engineer something?
rSyslog to the rescue
I went out on the search for a solution to my over-engineering problem and found that I had options (people love options). There are several solutions, I heavily thought about using Graylog, and installing it on my lowly Optiplex 3020 but the amount of resources it required to set up and utilize left me wondering if I really needed something that heavy. Then there was Syslog-ng which I’ll admit, I almost took a stab at. But then it occurred to me, most unix systems have rsyslog built in, why not use that to collect data and forward to Splunk? It was time to fire up a Diet-pi image on Proxmox (very low resource usage), mount a USB drive for log storage to the VM, and start collecting logs from my firewall, DNS server and other micro servers that may reside on this box.
So after setting up the Diet-pi VM (8 GB OS Disk, 50GB USB Disk Image (Raw qcow2 - Mounted at /mnt/logs), 1 CPU/512MB ram) I went into the Diet-pi configuration and installed appropriate software:
Select the following software - rSyslog and Logrotate.
Then select “Install” on the next screen then click OK, the installer will continue to install the software and you will be presented back to the bash shell. Now lets set up our Splunk user.
$adduser splunk $usermod -aG splunk splunk
This command will add the user Splunk, and assign him to the group “splunk”. We need this user in order to properly assign the logs to the correct user when the Splunk Forwarder is installed (so it’s not sent off as Root).
Now it’s time to set up rSyslog.
In here we need to add some settings in, first we need to enable the UDP and TCP modules under each section. Uncomment the following fields:
# provides UDP syslog reception module(load="imudp") input(type="imudp" port="514") # provides TCP syslog reception module(load="imtcp") input(type="imtcp" port="514")
Then we need to add our rules for accepting inputs for our remote devices:
#Rules for Processing Remote Logs $template RemoteLogs,"/mnt/logs/%HOSTNAME%/%PROGRAMNAME%.log" *.* ?RemoteLogs & ~
(This assumes that you have already mounted your /mnt/logs folder with a USB drive, if you have not please do so or expand your storage from 8gb to a bigger drive as 8gb will fill up fast)
Now we restart/enable rsyslog:
$ systemctl restart rsyslog $ systemctl enable rsyslog
Now lets check out our /mnt/logs folder:
New folder is good, 10.50.2.1 is a firewall IP address, thats a good thing. Dietpi is the hostname for the internal logs. Checking one of the log files:
Now lets set up LogRotate so that we don’t have logs just building up endlessly. While the best practice for long term use may be setting up Hot, Warm and Cold archival storage (especially for businesses or public sectors who follow any sort of Cybersecurity Frameworks requiring log retention), I’m going to set this up to dump log files after a certain timeframe, as I only need to possibly review logs at this particular gateway at most for a few weeks. It’s going to be sent off promptly to another server (i.e. Splunk) for better review/archival if needed.
First lets make a backup of our current LogRotate config for rSyslog:
$cp /etc/logrotate.d/rsyslog /etc/logrotate.d/rsyslog
I am going to remove everything in the brackets and add:
rotate 14 maxage 14 missingok compress notifempty
What this does:
rotate 14 - 14 log files to keep maxage 14 - Rotate logs every 14 days missingok - If its missing - Continue the rotation and suppress the error message compress - Compress the log file (gzip) - Helpful for size + splunk forwarder notifempty - Do not rotate log file if its empty
Splunk Forwarder setup
This is the easiest part - We can refer back to the post I made here. Once we set this up, our deployment server (otherwise known here in the homelab as the main server as I don’t have a separate Deployment Server) will instruct the Splunk Forwarder on this instance where to collect log files. This provides the TCP protocol of forwarding our log data, and essentially creating a “Centralized Syslog” server for our Splunk instance.