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Passive journal centralization without encryption

This page will guide you through creating a passive journal centralization setup without the use of encryption.

Once you centralize your infrastructure logs to a server, Netdata will automatically detects all the logs from all servers and organize them in sources. With the setup described in this document, journal files are identified by the IPs of the clients sending the logs. Netdata will automatically do reverse DNS lookups to find the names of the server and name the sources on the dashboard accordingly.

A passive journal server waits for clients to push their metrics to it, so in this setup we will:

  1. configure systemd-journal-remote on the server, to listen for incoming connections.
  2. configure systemd-journal-upload on the clients, to push their logs to the server.

These instructions will copy your logs to a central server, without any encryption or authorization.

Server configuration

On the centralization server install systemd-journal-remote:

# change this according to your distro
sudo apt-get install systemd-journal-remote

Make sure the journal transfer protocol is http:

sudo cp /lib/systemd/system/systemd-journal-remote.service /etc/systemd/system/

# edit it to make sure it says:
# --listen-http=-3
# not:
# --listen-https=-3
sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/systemd-journal-remote.service

# reload systemd
sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Optionally, if you want to change the port (the default is 19532), edit systemd-journal-remote.socket

# edit the socket file
sudo systemctl edit systemd-journal-remote.socket

and add the following lines into the instructed place, and choose your desired port; save and exit.


Finally, enable it, so that it will start automatically upon receiving a connection:

# enable systemd-journal-remote
sudo systemctl enable --now systemd-journal-remote.socket
sudo systemctl enable systemd-journal-remote.service

systemd-journal-remote is now listening for incoming journals from remote hosts.

Client configuration

On the clients, install systemd-journal-remote (it includes systemd-journal-upload):

# change this according to your distro
sudo apt-get install systemd-journal-remote

Edit /etc/systemd/journal-upload.conf and set the IP address and the port of the server, like so:


Edit systemd-journal-upload, and add Restart=always to make sure the client will keep trying to push logs, even if the server is temporarily not there, like this:

sudo systemctl edit systemd-journal-upload

At the top, add:


Enable and start systemd-journal-upload, like this:

sudo systemctl enable systemd-journal-upload
sudo systemctl start systemd-journal-upload

Verify it works

To verify the central server is receiving logs, run this on the central server:

sudo ls -l /var/log/journal/remote/

You should see new files from the client's IP.

Also, systemctl status systemd-journal-remote should show something like this:

systemd-journal-remote.service - Journal Remote Sink Service
Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/systemd-journal-remote.service; indirect; preset: disabled)
Active: active (running) since Sun 2023-10-15 14:29:46 EEST; 2h 24min ago
TriggeredBy: ● systemd-journal-remote.socket
Docs: man:systemd-journal-remote(8)
Main PID: 2118153 (systemd-journal)
Status: "Processing requests..."
Tasks: 1 (limit: 154152)
Memory: 2.2M
CPU: 71ms
CGroup: /system.slice/systemd-journal-remote.service
└─2118153 /usr/lib/systemd/systemd-journal-remote --listen-http=-3 --output=/var/log/journal/remote/

Note the status: "Processing requests..." and the PID under CGroup.

On the client systemctl status systemd-journal-upload should show something like this:

● systemd-journal-upload.service - Journal Remote Upload Service
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/systemd-journal-upload.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)
Drop-In: /etc/systemd/system/systemd-journal-upload.service.d
Active: active (running) since Sun 2023-10-15 10:39:04 UTC; 3h 17min ago
Docs: man:systemd-journal-upload(8)
Main PID: 4169 (systemd-journal)
Status: "Processing input..."
Tasks: 1 (limit: 13868)
Memory: 3.5M
CPU: 1.081s
CGroup: /system.slice/systemd-journal-upload.service
└─4169 /lib/systemd/systemd-journal-upload --save-state

Note the Status: "Processing input..." and the PID under CGroup.

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