From https://www.elastic.co/products/logstash :

Logstash is a free and open server-side data processing pipeline that ingests data from a multitude of sources, transforms it, and then sends it to your favorite “stash.”

When Security Onion 2 is running in Standalone mode or in a full distributed deployment, Logstash transports unparsed logs to Elasticsearch which then parses and stores those logs. It’s important to note that Logstash does NOT run when Security Onion is configured for Import or Eval mode. You can read more about that in the Architecture section.


You can configure Logstash using Salt. Here are a few of the settings which you may need to tune in /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/minions/$MINION_$ROLE.sls under logstash_settings.


The maximum number of events an individual worker thread will collect from inputs before attempting to execute its filters and outputs. Larger batch sizes are generally more efficient, but come at the cost of increased memory overhead. This is set to 125 by default.


The number of workers that will, in parallel, execute the filter and output stages of the pipeline. If you find that events are backing up, or that the CPU is not saturated, consider increasing this number to better utilize machine processing power. By default this value is set to the number of cores in the system.

For more information, please see https://www.elastic.co/guide/en/logstash/current/logstash-settings-file.html.


If total available memory is 8GB or greater, Setup sets the Logstash heap size to 25% of available memory, but no greater than 4GB.

For more information, please see https://www.elastic.co/guide/en/elasticsearch/guide/current/heap-sizing.html#compressed_oops.

You may need to adjust the value depending on your system’s performance. The changes will be applied the next time the minion checks in. You can force it to happen immediately by running sudo salt-call state.apply logstash on the actual node or by running sudo salt $SENSORNAME_$ROLE state.apply logstash on the manager node.


Since Logstash no longer parses logs in Security Onion 2, modifying existing parsers or adding new parsers should be done via Elasticsearch.

Adding New Logs

If you want to add a new log to the list of logs that are sent to Elasticsearch for parsing, you can update the logstash pipeline configurations by adding to /opt/so/saltstack/local/salt/logstash/pipelines/config/custom/.

If you are modifying or adding a new manager pipeline, then first copy /opt/so/saltstack/default/pillar/logstash/manager.sls to /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/logstash/, then add the following to the manager.sls file under the local directory:

        - so/0009_input_beats.conf
        - so/0010_input_hhbeats.conf
        - so/9999_output_redis.conf.jinja
        - custom/9999_output_custom.conf.jinja

If you are modifying or adding a new search pipeline for all search nodes, then first copy /opt/so/saltstack/default/pillar/logstash/search.sls to /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/logstash/, then add the following to the search.sls file under the local directory:

        - so/0900_input_redis.conf.jinja
        - so/9000_output_zeek.conf.jinja
        - so/9002_output_import.conf.jinja
        - so/9034_output_syslog.conf.jinja
        - so/9100_output_osquery.conf.jinja
        - so/9400_output_suricata.conf.jinja
        - so/9500_output_beats.conf.jinja
        - so/9600_output_ossec.conf.jinja
        - so/9700_output_strelka.conf.jinja
        - custom/9701_output_custom.conf.jinja

If you only want to modify the search pipeline for a single search node, then the process is similar to the previous example. However, instead of placing logstash:pipelines:search:config in /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/logstash/search.sls, it would be placed in /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/minions/$hostname_searchnode.sls.

Logstash Parsing

If you want to add a legacy Logstash parser (not recommended) then you can copy the file to local. Once the file is in local, then depending on which nodes you want it to apply to, you can add the proper value to either /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/logstash/manager.sls, /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/logstash/search.sls, or /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/minions/$hostname_searchnode.sls as in the previous examples.

Forwarding Events to an External Destination

Please keep in mind that we don’t provide free support for third party systems, so this section will be just a brief introduction to how you would send syslog to external syslog collectors. If you need commercial support, please see https://www.securityonionsolutions.com.

Original Event Forwarding

To forward events to an external destination with minimal modifications to the original event, create a new custom configuration file on the manager in /opt/so/saltstack/local/salt/logstash/pipelines/config/custom/ to clone the events and match the cloned events in the output. We recommend using either the http, tcp, udp, or syslog output plugin. At this time we only support the default bundled Logstash output plugins.

For example, to forward all Zeek events from the dns dataset, we could use a configuration like the following:

filter {
  if [module] =~ "zeek" and [dataset] =~ "dns" {
    clone {
        id => "clone_zeek_dns_events"
        clones => ["zeek-dns-clone"]
        add_tag => [ "clone" ]
output {
  if "clone" in [tags] {
    tcp {
      id => "cloned_events_out"
      host => "192.168.x.x"
      port => 1001
      codec => "json_lines"


When using the tcp output plugin, if the destination host/port is down, it will cause the Logstash pipeline to be blocked. To avoid this behavior, try using the other output options, or consider having forwarded logs use a separate Logstash pipeline.

Also keep in mind that when forwarding logs from the manager, Suricata’s dataset value will still be set to common, as the events have not yet been processed by the Ingest Node configuration.

Copy /opt/so/saltstack/default/pillar/logstash/manager.sls to /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/logstash/manager.sls, and append your newly created file to the list of config files used for the manager pipeline:

- custom/myfile.conf

Restart Logstash on the manager with so-logstash-restart.

Monitor events flowing through the output with curl -s localhost:9600/_node/stats | jq .pipelines.manager.

Modified Event Forwarding

To forward events to an external destination AFTER they have traversed all of the data pipelines used by Security Onion, perform the same steps as above, but instead of adding the reference for your Logstash output to manager.sls, add it to search.sls instead, and then restart services on the search nodes with something like:

sudo salt "*_search*" cmd.run "so-logstash-restart"

Monitor events flowing through the output with curl -s localhost:9600/_node/stats | jq .pipelines.search on the search nodes.

Please keep in mind that events will be forwarded from all applicable search nodes, as opposed to just the manager.



From https://www.elastic.co/guide/en/logstash/current/persistent-queues.html:

By default, Logstash uses in-memory bounded queues between pipeline stages (inputs → pipeline workers) to buffer events. The size of these in-memory queues is fixed and not configurable.


If you experience adverse effects using the default memory-backed queue, you might consider a disk-based persistent queue. From https://www.elastic.co/guide/en/logstash/current/persistent-queues.html:

In order to protect against data loss during abnormal termination, Logstash has a persistent queue feature which will store the message queue on disk. Persistent queues provide durability of data within Logstash.

Queue Max Bytes

The total capacity of the queue in number of bytes. Make sure the capacity of your disk drive is greater than the value you specify here. If both queue.max_events and queue.max_bytes are specified, Logstash uses whichever criteria is reached first.

Dead Letter Queue

If you want to check for dropped events, you can enable the dead letter queue. This will write all records that are not able to make it into Elasticsearch into a sequentially-numbered file (for each start/restart of Logstash).

This can be achieved by adding the following to the Logstash configuration:

dead_letter_queue.enable: true

and restarting Logstash:

sudo so-logstash-restart

The dead letter queue files are located in /nsm/logstash/dead_letter_queue/main/.


When using search nodes, Logstash on the manager node outputs to Redis (which also runs on the manager node). Redis queues events from the Logstash output (on the manager node) and the Logstash input on the search node(s) pull(s) from Redis. If you notice new events aren’t making it into Kibana, you may want to first check Logstash on the manager node and then the redis queue.

Diagnostic Logging

The Logstash log file is located at /opt/so/log/logstash/logstash.log. Log file settings can be adjusted in /opt/so/conf/logstash/etc/log4j2.properties. By default, logs are set to rollover daily and purged after 7 days. Depending on what you’re looking for, you may also need to look at the Docker logs for the container:

sudo docker logs so-logstash



[INFO ][logstash.outputs.elasticsearch] retrying failed action with response code: 403 ({"type"=>"cluster_block_exception", "reason"=>"blocked by: [FORBIDDEN/12/index read-only / allow delete (api)];"})

This error is usually caused by the cluster.routing.allocation.disk.watermark (low,high) being exceeded.

You may want to check /opt/so/log/elasticsearch/<hostname>.log to see specifically which indices have been marked as read-only.

Additionally, you can run the following command to allow writing to the affected indices:

curl -k -XPUT -H 'Content-Type: application/json' https://localhost:9200/<your_index>/_settings -d'{ "index.blocks.read_only": false }'

More Information

See also

For more information about Logstash, please see https://www.elastic.co/products/logstash.