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NOTE (version 1.40+): Docker compose is no longer recommended for production use

Install Docker CE and Swarm (RHEL 7.7)

  • Warning: this method of installing docker on RHEL is not officially supported by RedHat. Consider using podman instead.

Enable required repositories

subscription-manager repos --enable=rhel-7-server-rpms
subscription-manager repos --enable=rhel-7-server-extras-rpms
subscription-manager repos --enable=rhel-7-server-optional-rpms
yum-config-manager --add-repo

Enable EPEL

yum install wget -y
cd /tmp
rpm -Uvh epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm

Install required packages and enable docker

yum install docker-ce -y
systemctl enable docker.service
systemctl start docker.service

Initialize Docker Swarm

sudo docker swarm init

SC4S Initial Configuration

  • Create a directory on the server for local configurations and disk buffering. This should be available to all administrators, for example: /opt/sc4s/

  • Create a docker-compose.yml file in the directory created above, based on the template below:

  • IMPORTANT: Always use the latest compose file (below) with the current release. By default, the latest container is automatically downloaded at each restart. Therefore, make it a habit to check back here regularly to be sure any changes that may have been made to the compose template file below (e.g. suggested mount points) are incoproprated in production prior to relaunching via compose.

version: "3.7"
      - host
      - /opt/sc4s/env_file
      - /opt/sc4s/local:/etc/syslog-ng/conf.d/local:z
      - splunk-sc4s-var:/var/lib/syslog-ng
# Uncomment the following line if local disk archiving is desired
#     - /opt/sc4s/archive:/var/lib/syslog-ng/archive:z
# Map location of TLS custom TLS
#     - /opt/sc4s/tls:/etc/syslog-ng/tls:z

    name: host
    external: true
  • Execute the following command to create a local volume that will contain the disk buffer files in the event of a communication failure to the upstream destination(s). This will also be used to keep track of the state of syslog-ng between restarts, and in particular the state of the disk buffer. This is a required step.
sudo docker volume create splunk-sc4s-var
  • NOTE: Be sure to account for disk space requirements for the docker volume created above. This volume is located in /var/lib/docker/volumes/ and could grow significantly if there is an extended outage to the SC4S destinations (typically HEC endpoints). See the “SC4S Disk Buffer Configuration” section on the Configruation page for more info.

  • Create the subdirectory /opt/sc4s/local. This will be used as a mount point for local overrides and configurations.

    • The empty local directory created above will populate with defaults and examples at the first invocation of SC4S for local configurations and context overrides. Do not change the directory structure of the files that are laid down; change (or add) only individual files if desired. SC4S depends on the directory layout to read the local configurations properly. See the notes below for which files will be preserved on restarts.

    • In the local/config/ directory there are four subdirectories that allow you to provide support for device types that are not provided out of the box in SC4S. To get you started, there is an example log path template (lp-example.conf.tmpl) and a filter (example.conf) in the log_paths and filters subdirectories, respectively. These should not be used directly, but copied as templates for your own log path development. They will get overwritten at each SC4S start.

    • In the local/context directory, if you change the “non-example” version of a file (e.g. splunk_metadata.csv) the changes will be preserved on a restart.

  • Create the subdirectory /opt/sc4s/archive. This will be used as a mount point for local storage of syslog events (if the optional mount is uncommented above). The events will be written in the syslog-ng EWMM format. See the “configuration” document for details on the directory structure the archive uses.

  • Create the subdirectory /opt/sc4s/tls. This will be used as a mount point for custom TLS certificates (if the optional mount is uncommented above).

  • IMPORTANT: When creating the directories above, ensure the directories created match the volume mounts specified in the docker-compose.yml file. Failure to do this will cause SC4S to abort at startup.

Configure the SC4S environment

SC4S is almost entirely controlled through environment variables, which are read from a file at starteup. Create a file named /opt/sc4s/env_file and add the following environment variables and values:

#Uncomment the following line if using untrusted SSL certificates
  • Update SC4S_DEST_SPLUNK_HEC_DEFAULT_URL and SC4S_DEST_SPLUNK_HEC_DEFAULT_TOKEN to reflect the correct values for your environment. Do not configure HEC Acknowledgement when deploying the HEC token on the Splunk side; the underlying syslog-ng http destination does not support this feature. Moreover, HEC Ack would significantly degrade performance for streaming data such as syslog.

  • The default number of SC4S_DEST_SPLUNK_HEC_WORKERS is 10. Consult the community if you feel the number of workers (threads) should deviate from this.

  • NOTE: Splunk Connect for Syslog defaults to secure configurations. If you are not using trusted SSL certificates, be sure to uncomment the last line in the example above.

Dedicated (Unique) Listening Ports

For certain source technologies, categorization by message content is impossible due to the lack of a unique “fingerprint” in the data. In other cases, a unique listening port is required for certain devices due to network requirements in the enterprise. For collection of such sources, we provide a means of dedicating a unique listening port to a specific source.

Follow this step to configure unique ports for one or more sources:

  • Modify the /opt/sc4s/env_file file to include the port-specific environment variable(s). Refer to the “Sources” documentation to identify the specific environment variables that are mapped to each data source vendor/technology.

Modify index destinations for Splunk

Log paths are preconfigured to utilize a convention of index destinations that are suitable for most customers.

  • If changes need to be made to index destinations, navigate to the /opt/sc4s/local/context directory to start.
  • Edit splunk_metadata.csv to review or change the index configuration as required for the data sources utilized in your environment. The key (1st column) in this file uses the syntax vendor_product. Simply replace the index value (the 3rd column) in the desired row with the index appropriate for your Splunk installation. The “Sources” document details the specific vendor_product keys (rows) in this table that pertain to the individual data source filters that are included with SC4S.
  • Other Splunk metadata (e.g. source and sourcetype) can be overriden via this file as well. This is an advanced topic, and further information is covered in the “Log Path overrides” section of the Configuration document.

Configure source filtering by source IP or host name

Legacy sources and non-standard-compliant sources require configuration by source IP or hostname as included in the event. The following steps apply to support such sources. To identify sources that require this step, refer to the “sources” section of this documentation.

  • If changes need to be made to source filtering, navigate to the /opt/sc4s/local/context directory to start.
  • Navigate to vendor_product_by_source.conf and find the appropriate filter that matches your legacy device type.
  • Edit the file to properly identify these products by hostname glob or network mask using syslog-ng filter syntax. Configuration by hostname or source IP is needed only for those devices that cannot be determined via normal syslog-ng parsing or message contents.
  • The vendor_product_by_source.csv file should not need to be changed unless a local log path is created that is specific to the environment. In this case, a matching filter will also need to be provided in vendor_product_by_source.conf.

Configure compliance index/metadata overrides

In some cases, devices that have been properly sourcetyped need to be further categorized by compliance, geography, or other criterion. The two files compliance_meta_by_source.conf and compliance_meta_by_source.csv can be used for this purpose. These operate similarly to the files above, where the conf file specifies a filter to uniquely identify the messages that should be overridden, and the csv file lists one or more metadata items that can be overridden based on the filter name. This is an advanced topic, and further information is covered in the “Override index or metadata based on host, ip, or subnet” section of the Configuration document.

Start/Restart SC4S

docker stack deploy --compose-file docker-compose.yml sc4s

Stop SC4S

Start by obtaining the stack name (ID):

docker stack ls

Then, remove the stack:

docker stack rm <ID>

Verify Proper Operation

SC4S has a number of “preflight” checks to ensure that the container starts properly and that the syntax of the underlying syslog-ng configuration is correct. After this step completes, to verify SC4S is properly communicating with Splunk, execute the following search in Splunk:

index=* sourcetype=sc4s:events "starting up"

This should yield an event similar to the following:

syslog-ng starting up; version='3.28.1'

when the startup process proceeds normally (without syntax errors). If you do not see this, follow the steps below before proceeding to deeper-level troubleshooting:

  • Check to see that the URL, token, and TLS/SSL settings are correct, and that the appropriate firewall ports are open (8088 or 443).

  • Check to see that the proper indexes are created in Splunk, and that the token has access to them.

  • Ensure the proper operation of the load balancer if used.

  • Lastly, execute the following command to check the sc4s startup process running in the container.

docker logs SC4S

You should see events similar to those below in the output:

syslog-ng checking config
sc4s version=v1.36.0
starting goss
starting syslog-ng

If you do not see the output above, proceed to the “Troubleshooting” section for more detailed information.