Send Syslog Data to InfluxDB

This article shows how to collect syslog data into InfluxDB using Fluentd.


  • A basic understanding of Fluentd

  • A running instance of rsyslogd

In this guide, we assume we are running td-agent (Fluentd package for Linux and macOS) on Ubuntu Xenial.

Step 1: Install InfluxDB

InfluxDB supports Ubuntu, RedHat and macOS (via brew).

For more details, see here.

Since we are assumed to be on Ubuntu, the following two lines install InfluxDB:

$ wget
$ sudo dpkg -i influxdb_1.7.3_amd64.deb

Once it is installed, you can run it with:

$ sudo systemctl start influxdb

Then, you can verify that InfluxDB is running:

$ curl "http://localhost:8086/query?q=show+databases"

If InfluxDB is running normally, you will see an object that contains the _internal database:


Also, the following two lines install Chronograf:

$ wget
$ sudo dpkg -i chronograf_1.7.7_amd64.deb

Once it is installed, you can run it with:

$ sudo systemctl start chronograf

Then, go to localhost:8888 (or wherever you are hosting Chronograf) to access Chronograf's web console which is the successor to InfluxDB's web console.

Create a database called test. This is where we will be storing syslog data:

$ curl -i -XPOST http://localhost:8086/query --data-urlencode "q=CREATE DATABASE test"

If you prefer command line or cannot access port 8083 from your local machine, running the following command creates a database called test:

$ curl -i -X POST 'http://localhost:8086/write?db=test' --data-binary 'task,host=server01,region=us-west value=1 1434055562000000000'

We are done for now.

Step 2: Install Fluentd and the InfluxDB plugin

On your aggregator server, set up Fluentd.

For more details, see here.

$ curl -L | sh

Next, install the InfluxDB output plugin:

/usr/sbin/td-agent-gem install fluent-plugin-influxdb

For the vanilla Fluentd, run:

fluent-gem install fluent-plugin-influxdb

You might need sudo to install the plugin.

Finally, configure /etc/td-agent/td-agent.conf as follows:

  @type syslog
  port 42185
  tag system

<match system.*.*>
  @type influxdb
  dbname test
  flush_interval 10s # for testing
  host YOUR_INFLUXDB_HOST # default: localhost
  port YOUR_INFLUXDB_PORT # default: 8086

Restart td-agent with sudo service td-agent restart.

Step 3: Configure rsyslogd

If remote rsyslogd instances are already collecting data into the aggregator rsyslogd, the settings for rsyslog should remain unchanged. However, if this is a brand new setup, start forward syslog output by adding the following line to /etc/rsyslogd.conf:

*.* @

You should replace with the IP address of your aggregator server. Also, there is nothing special about port 42185 (do make sure this port is open though).

Now, restart rsyslogd:

$ sudo systemctl restart rsyslog

Step 4: Confirm Data Flow

Your syslog data should be flowing into InfluxDB every 10 seconds (this is configured by flush_interval).

Clicking on Explore brings up the query interface that lets you write SQL queries against your log data.

And then click Visualization and select the line chart:

Now, to count the number of lines of syslog messages per facility/priority:

SELECT COUNT(ident) FROM test.autogen./^system\./ GROUP BY time(1s)

Click on Submit Query to get a graph like this:

Here is another screenshot for the series:

If this article is incorrect or outdated, or omits critical information, please let us know. Fluentd is an open-source project under Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). All components are available under the Apache 2 License.

Last updated