How To Install Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (Elastic Stack) on Ubuntu 16.04

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Introduction

The Elastic Stack — formerly known as the ELK Stack — is a collection of open-source software produced by Elastic which allows you to search, analyze, and visualize logs generated from any source in any format, a practice known as centralized logging. Centralized logging can be very useful when attempting to identify problems with your servers or applications, as it allows you to search through all of your logs in a single place. It’s also useful because it allows you to identify issues that span multiple servers by correlating their logs during a specific time frame.

The Elastic Stack has four main components:

  • Elasticsearch: a distributed RESTful search engine which stores all of the collected data.
  • Logstash: the data processing component of the Elastic Stack which sends incoming data to Elasticsearch.
  • Kibana: a web interface for searching and visualizing logs.
  • Beats: lightweight, single-purpose data shippers that can send data from hundreds or thousands of machines to either Logstash or Elasticsearch.

In this tutorial, you will install the Elastic Stack on an Ubuntu 16.04 server. You will learn how to install all of the components of the Elastic Stack — including Filebeat, a Beat used for forwarding and centralizing logs and files — and configure them to gather and visualize system logs. Additionally, because Kibana is normally only available on the localhost, we will use Nginx to proxy it so it will be accessible over a web browser. We will install all of these components on a single server, which we will refer to as our Elastic Stack server.

  • Install Java8 you can follow the steps at this post
  • Install Nginx, you can use the following simple command “apt install nginx” or “apt-get install nginx”

Step 1 — Installing and Configuring Elasticsearch

The Elastic Stack components are not available in Ubuntu’s default package repositories. They can, however, be installed with APT after adding Elastic’s package source list.

All of the Elastic Stack’s packages are signed with the Elasticsearch signing key in order to protect your system from package spoofing. Packages which have been authenticated using the key will be considered trusted by your package manager. In this step, you will import the Elasticsearch public GPG key and add the Elastic package source list in order to install Elasticsearch.

To begin, run the following command to import the Elasticsearch public GPG key into APT:

wget -qO - https://artifacts.elastic.co/GPG-KEY-elasticsearch | sudo apt-key add -

Next, add the Elastic source list to the sources.list.d directory, where APT will look for new sources:

echo "deb https://artifacts.elastic.co/packages/6.x/apt stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/elastic-6.x.list

Next, update your package lists so APT will read the new Elastic source:

sudo apt-get update

Then install Elasticsearch with this command:

sudo apt-get install elasticsearch

Once Elasticsearch is finished installing, use your preferred text editor to edit Elasticsearch’s main configuration file, elasticsearch.yml. Here, we’ll use nano:

sudo nano /etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml

Elasticsearch listens for traffic from everywhere on port 9200. You will want to restrict outside access to your Elasticsearch instance to prevent outsiders from reading your data or shutting down your Elasticsearch cluster through the REST API. Find the line that specifies network.host, uncomment it, and replace its value with localhost so it looks like this:/etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml

. . .
network.host: localhost
. . .

Save and close elasticsearch.yml by pressing CTRL+X, followed by Y and then ENTER if you’re using nano. Then, start the Elasticsearch service with systemctl:

sudo systemctl start elasticsearch

Next, run the following command to enable Elasticsearch to start up every time your server boots:

sudo systemctl enable elasticsearch

You can test whether your Elasticsearch service is running by sending an HTTP request:

curl -X GET "localhost:9200"

You will see a response showing some basic information about your local node, similar to this:

Output{
  "name" : "DX2KuVz",
  "cluster_name" : "elasticsearch",
  "cluster_uuid" : "Mscq8fVcR5-xgxFB3l35lg",
  "version" : {
    "number" : "6.5.0",
    "build_flavor" : "default",
    "build_type" : "deb",
    "build_hash" : "816e6f6",
    "build_date" : "2018-11-09T18:58:36.352602Z",
    "build_snapshot" : false,
    "lucene_version" : "7.5.0",
    "minimum_wire_compatibility_version" : "5.6.0",
    "minimum_index_compatibility_version" : "5.0.0"
  },
  "tagline" : "You Know, for Search"
}

Now that Elasticsearch is up and running, let’s install Kibana, the next component of the Elastic Stack.

Step 2 — Installing and Configuring the Kibana Dashboard

According to the official documentation, you should install Kibana only after installing Elasticsearch. Installing in this order ensures that the components each product depends on are correctly in place.

Because you’ve already added the Elastic package source in the previous step, you can just install the remaining components of the Elastic Stack using APT:

sudo apt-get install kibana

Then enable and start the Kibana service:

sudo systemctl enable kibana
sudo systemctl start kibana

Because Kibana is configured to only listen on localhost, we must set up a reverse proxy to allow external access to it. We will use Nginx for this purpose, which should already be installed on your server.

First, use the openssl command to create an administrative Kibana user which you’ll use to access the Kibana web interface. As an example we will name this account kibanaadmin, but to ensure greater security we recommend that you choose a non-standard name for your user that would be difficult to guess.

The following command will create the administrative Kibana user and password, and store them in the htpasswd.users file. You will configure Nginx to require this username and password and read this file momentarily:

echo "kibanaadmin:`openssl passwd -apr1`" | sudo tee -a /etc/nginx/htpasswd.users

Enter and confirm a password at the prompt. Remember or take note of this login, as you will need it to access the Kibana web interface.

Next, we will create an Nginx server block file. As an example, we will refer to this file as example.com, although you may find it helpful to give yours a more descriptive name. For instance, if you have a FQDN and DNS records set up for this server, you could name this file after your FQDN:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com

Add the following code block into the file, being sure to update example.com to match your server’s FQDN or public IP address. This code configures Nginx to direct your server’s HTTP traffic to the Kibana application, which is listening on localhost:5601. Additionally, it configures Nginx to read the htpasswd.users file and require basic authentication.

Note that if you followed our tutorial on How To Set Up Nginx Server Blocks (Virtual Hosts) on Ubuntu 16.04, you may have already created this server block file and populated it with some content. In that case, delete all the existing content in the file before adding the following:/etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com

server {
    listen 80;

    server_name example.com;

    auth_basic "Restricted Access";
    auth_basic_user_file /etc/nginx/htpasswd.users;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:5601;
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection 'upgrade';
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_cache_bypass $http_upgrade;
    }
}

When you’re finished, save and close the file.

Next, enable the new configuration by creating a symbolic link to the sites-enabled directory. If you already created a server block file with the same name in the Nginx prerequisite, you do not need to run this command:

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/example.com

Then check the configuration for syntax errors:

sudo nginx -t

If any errors are reported in your output, go back and double check that the content you placed in your configuration file was added correctly. Once you see syntax is ok in the output, go ahead and restart the Nginx service:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

Kibana is now accessible via your FQDN or the public IP address of your Elastic Stack server. You can check the Kibana server’s status page by navigating to the following address and entering your login credentials when prompted:

http://your_server_ip/status

This status page displays information about the server’s resource usage and lists the installed plugins.

Now that the Kibana dashboard is configured, let’s install the next component: Logstash.

Step 3 — Installing and Configuring Logstash

Although it’s possible for Beats to send data directly to the Elasticsearch database, we recommend using Logstash to process the data. This will allow you to collect data from different sources, transform it into a common format, and export it to another database.

Install Logstash with this command:

sudo apt-get install logstash

After installing Logstash, you can move on to configuring it. Logstash’s configuration files are written in the JSON format and reside in the /etc/logstash/conf.d directory. As you configure it, it’s helpful to think of Logstash as a pipeline which takes in data at one end, processes it in one way or another, and sends it out to its destination (in this case, the destination being Elasticsearch). A Logstash pipeline has two required elements, input and output, and one optional element, filter. The input plugins consume data from a source, the filter plugins process the data, and the output plugins write the data to a destination.

Create a configuration file called 02-beats-input.conf where you will set up your Filebeat input:

sudo nano /etc/logstash/conf.d/02-beats-input.conf

Insert the following input configuration. This specifies a beats input that will listen on TCP port 5044./etc/logstash/conf.d/02-beats-input.conf

input {
  beats {
    port => 5044
  }
}

Save and close the file. Next, create a configuration file called 10-syslog-filter.conf, where we will add a filter for system logs, also known as syslogs:

sudo nano /etc/logstash/conf.d/10-syslog-filter.conf

Insert the following syslog filter configuration. This example system logs configuration was taken from official Elastic documentation. This filter is used to parse incoming system logs to make them structured and usable by the predefined Kibana dashboards:/etc/logstash/conf.d/10-syslog-filter.conf

filter {
  if [fileset][module] == "system" {
    if [fileset][name] == "auth" {
      grok {
        match => { "message" => ["%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:[system][auth][timestamp]} %{SYSLOGHOST:[system][auth][hostname]} sshd(?:\[%{POSINT:[system][auth][pid]}\])?: %{DATA:[system][auth][ssh][event]} %{DATA:[system][auth][ssh][method]} for (invalid user )?%{DATA:[system][auth][user]} from %{IPORHOST:[system][auth][ssh][ip]} port %{NUMBER:[system][auth][ssh][port]} ssh2(: %{GREEDYDATA:[system][auth][ssh][signature]})?",
                  "%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:[system][auth][timestamp]} %{SYSLOGHOST:[system][auth][hostname]} sshd(?:\[%{POSINT:[system][auth][pid]}\])?: %{DATA:[system][auth][ssh][event]} user %{DATA:[system][auth][user]} from %{IPORHOST:[system][auth][ssh][ip]}",
                  "%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:[system][auth][timestamp]} %{SYSLOGHOST:[system][auth][hostname]} sshd(?:\[%{POSINT:[system][auth][pid]}\])?: Did not receive identification string from %{IPORHOST:[system][auth][ssh][dropped_ip]}",
                  "%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:[system][auth][timestamp]} %{SYSLOGHOST:[system][auth][hostname]} sudo(?:\[%{POSINT:[system][auth][pid]}\])?: \s*%{DATA:[system][auth][user]} :( %{DATA:[system][auth][sudo][error]} ;)? TTY=%{DATA:[system][auth][sudo][tty]} ; PWD=%{DATA:[system][auth][sudo][pwd]} ; USER=%{DATA:[system][auth][sudo][user]} ; COMMAND=%{GREEDYDATA:[system][auth][sudo][command]}",
                  "%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:[system][auth][timestamp]} %{SYSLOGHOST:[system][auth][hostname]} groupadd(?:\[%{POSINT:[system][auth][pid]}\])?: new group: name=%{DATA:system.auth.groupadd.name}, GID=%{NUMBER:system.auth.groupadd.gid}",
                  "%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:[system][auth][timestamp]} %{SYSLOGHOST:[system][auth][hostname]} useradd(?:\[%{POSINT:[system][auth][pid]}\])?: new user: name=%{DATA:[system][auth][user][add][name]}, UID=%{NUMBER:[system][auth][user][add][uid]}, GID=%{NUMBER:[system][auth][user][add][gid]}, home=%{DATA:[system][auth][user][add][home]}, shell=%{DATA:[system][auth][user][add][shell]}$",
                  "%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:[system][auth][timestamp]} %{SYSLOGHOST:[system][auth][hostname]} %{DATA:[system][auth][program]}(?:\[%{POSINT:[system][auth][pid]}\])?: %{GREEDYMULTILINE:[system][auth][message]}"] }
        pattern_definitions => {
          "GREEDYMULTILINE"=> "(.|\n)*"
        }
        remove_field => "message"
      }
      date {
        match => [ "[system][auth][timestamp]", "MMM  d HH:mm:ss", "MMM dd HH:mm:ss" ]
      }
      geoip {
        source => "[system][auth][ssh][ip]"
        target => "[system][auth][ssh][geoip]"
      }
    }
    else if [fileset][name] == "syslog" {
      grok {
        match => { "message" => ["%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:[system][syslog][timestamp]} %{SYSLOGHOST:[system][syslog][hostname]} %{DATA:[system][syslog][program]}(?:\[%{POSINT:[system][syslog][pid]}\])?: %{GREEDYMULTILINE:[system][syslog][message]}"] }
        pattern_definitions => { "GREEDYMULTILINE" => "(.|\n)*" }
        remove_field => "message"
      }
      date {
        match => [ "[system][syslog][timestamp]", "MMM  d HH:mm:ss", "MMM dd HH:mm:ss" ]
      }
    }
  }
}

Save and close the file when finished.

Lastly, create a configuration file called 30-elasticsearch-output.conf:

sudo nano /etc/logstash/conf.d/30-elasticsearch-output.conf

Insert the following output configuration. Essentially, this output configures Logstash to store the Beats data in Elasticsearch, which is running at localhost:9200, in an index named after the Beat used. The Beat used in this tutorial is Filebeat:/etc/logstash/conf.d/30-elasticsearch-output.conf

output {
  elasticsearch {
    hosts => ["localhost:9200"]
    manage_template => false
    index => "%{[@metadata][beat]}-%{[@metadata][version]}-%{+YYYY.MM.dd}"
  }
}

Save and close the file.

If you want to add filters for other applications that use the Filebeat input, be sure to name the files so they’re sorted between the input and the output configuration, meaning that the file names should begin with a two-digit number between 02 and 30.

Test your Logstash configuration with this command:

sudo -u logstash /usr/share/logstash/bin/logstash --path.settings /etc/logstash -t

If there are no syntax errors, your output will display Configruation OK after a few moments. If you don’t see this in your output, check for any errors that appear in your output and update your configuration to correct them.

If your configuration test is successful, start and enable Logstash to put the configuration changes into effect:

sudo systemctl start logstash
sudo systemctl enable logstash

Now that Logstash is running correctly and is fully configured, let’s install Filebeat.

Step 4 — Installing and Configuring Filebeat

The Elastic Stack uses several lightweight data shippers called Beats to collect data from various sources and transport them to Logstash or Elasticsearch. Here are the Beats that are currently available from Elastic:

  • Filebeat: collects and ships log files.
  • Metricbeat: collects metrics from your systems and services.
  • Packetbeat: collects and analyzes network data.
  • Winlogbeat: collects Windows event logs.
  • Auditbeat: collects Linux audit framework data and monitors file integrity.
  • Heartbeat: monitors services for their availability with active probing.

In this tutorial we will use Filebeat to forward local logs to our Elastic Stack.

Install Filebeat using APT:

sudo apt-get install filebeat

Next, configure Filebeat to connect to Logstash. Here, we will modify the example configuration file that comes with Filebeat.

Open the Filebeat configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/filebeat/filebeat.yml

Filebeat supports numerous outputs, but you’ll usually only send events directly to Elasticsearch or to Logstash for additional processing. In this tutorial, we’ll use Logstash to perform additional processing on the data collected by Filebeat. Filebeat will not need to send any data directly to Elasticsearch, so let’s disable that output. To do so, find the output.elasticsearch section and comment out the following lines by preceding them with a #:/etc/filebeat/filebeat.yml

...
#output.elasticsearch:
  # Array of hosts to connect to.
  #hosts: ["localhost:9200"]
...

Then, configure the output.logstash section. Uncomment the lines output.logstash: and hosts: ["localhost:5044"] by removing the #. This will configure Filebeat to connect to Logstash on your Elastic Stack server at port 5044, the port for which we specified a Logstash input earlier:/etc/filebeat/filebeat.yml

. . .
output.logstash:
  # The Logstash hosts
  hosts: ["localhost:5044"]
. . .

Save and close the file.

The functionality of Filebeat can be extended with Filebeat modules. In this tutorial we will use the systemmodule, which collects and parses logs created by the system logging service of common Linux distributions.

Let’s enable it:

sudo filebeat modules enable system

You can see a list of enabled and disabled modules by running:

sudo filebeat modules list

You will see a list similar to the following:

OutputEnabled:
system

Disabled:
apache2
auditd
elasticsearch
haproxy
icinga
iis
kafka
kibana
logstash
mongodb
mysql
nginx
osquery
postgresql
redis
suricata
traefik

By default, Filebeat is configured to use default paths for the syslog and authorization logs. In the case of this tutorial, you do not need to change anything in the configuration. You can see the parameters of the module in the /etc/filebeat/modules.d/system.yml configuration file.

Next, load the index template into Elasticsearch. An Elasticsearch index is a collection of documents that have similar characteristics. Indexes are identified with a name, which is used to refer to the index when performing various operations within it. The index template will be automatically applied when a new index is created.

To load the template, use the following command:

sudo filebeat setup --template -E output.logstash.enabled=false -E 'output.elasticsearch.hosts=["localhost:9200"]'
OutputLoaded index template

Filebeat comes packaged with sample Kibana dashboards that allow you to visualize Filebeat data in Kibana. Before you can use the dashboards, you need to create the index pattern and load the dashboards into Kibana.

As the dashboards load, Filebeat connects to Elasticsearch to check version information. To load dashboards when Logstash is enabled, you need to disable the Logstash output and enable Elasticsearch output:

sudo filebeat setup -e -E output.logstash.enabled=false -E output.elasticsearch.hosts=['localhost:9200'] -E setup.kibana.host=localhost:5601

You will see output that looks like this:

Output. . .
2018-11-19T21:29:45.239Z    INFO    elasticsearch/client.go:163 Elasticsearch url: http://localhost:9200
2018-11-19T21:29:45.240Z    INFO    [publisher] pipeline/module.go:110  Beat name: elk-16-03
2018-11-19T21:29:45.241Z    INFO    elasticsearch/client.go:163 Elasticsearch url: http://localhost:9200
2018-11-19T21:29:45.248Z    INFO    elasticsearch/client.go:712 Connected to Elasticsearch version 6.5.0
2018-11-19T21:29:45.253Z    INFO    template/load.go:129    Template already exists and will not be overwritten.
Loaded index template
Loading dashboards (Kibana must be running and reachable)
2018-11-19T21:29:45.253Z    INFO    elasticsearch/client.go:163 Elasticsearch url: http://localhost:9200
2018-11-19T21:29:45.256Z    INFO    elasticsearch/client.go:712 Connected to Elasticsearch version 6.5.0
2018-11-19T21:29:45.256Z    INFO    kibana/client.go:118    Kibana url: http://localhost:5601
2018-11-19T21:30:15.404Z    INFO    instance/beat.go:741    Kibana dashboards successfully loaded.
Loaded dashboards
2018-11-19T21:30:15.404Z    INFO    elasticsearch/client.go:163 Elasticsearch url: http://localhost:9200
2018-11-19T21:30:15.408Z    INFO    elasticsearch/client.go:712 Connected to Elasticsearch version 6.5.0
2018-11-19T21:30:15.408Z    INFO    kibana/client.go:118    Kibana url: http://localhost:5601
2018-11-19T21:30:15.457Z    WARN    fileset/modules.go:388  X-Pack Machine Learning is not enabled
2018-11-19T21:30:15.505Z    WARN    fileset/modules.go:388  X-Pack Machine Learning is not enabled
Loaded machine learning job configurations

Now you can start and enable Filebeat:

sudo systemctl start filebeat
sudo systemctl enable filebeat

If you’ve set up your Elastic Stack correctly, Filebeat will begin shipping your syslog and authorization logs to Logstash, which will then load that data into Elasticsearch.

To verify that Elasticsearch is indeed receiving this data, query the Filebeat index with this command:

curl -XGET 'http://localhost:9200/filebeat-*/_search?pretty'

You will see an output that looks similar to this:

Output{
  "took" : 7,
  "timed_out" : false,
  "_shards" : {
    "total" : 3,
    "successful" : 3,
    "skipped" : 0,
    "failed" : 0
  },
  "hits" : {
    "total" : 1580,
    "max_score" : 1.0,
    "hits" : [
      {
        "_index" : "filebeat-6.5.0-2018.11.19",
        "_type" : "doc",
        "_id" : "HnDiLWcB5tvUruXKVbok",
        "_score" : 1.0,
        "_source" : {
          "input" : {
            "type" : "log"
          },
...

If your output shows 0 total hits, Elasticsearch is not loading any logs under the index you searched for, and you will need to review your setup for errors. If you received the expected output, continue to the next step, in which we will see how to navigate through some of Kibana’s dashboards.

Step 5 — Exploring Kibana Dashboards

Let’s look at Kibana, the web interface that we installed earlier.

In a web browser, go to the FQDN or public IP address of your Elastic Stack server. After entering the login credentials you defined in Step 2, you will see the Kibana homepage:

Click the Discover link in the left-hand navigation bar. On the Discover page, select the predefined filebeat–* index pattern to see Filebeat data. By default, this will show you all of the log data over the last 15 minutes. You will see a histogram with log events, and some log messages below:

Here, you can search and browse through your logs and also customize your dashboard. At this point, though, there won’t be much in there because you are only gathering syslogs from your Elastic Stack server.

Use the left-hand panel to navigate to the Dashboard page and search for the Filebeat Systemdashboards. Once there, you can search for the sample dashboards that come with Filebeat’s systemmodule.

For example, you can view detailed stats based on your syslog messages:

You can also view which users have used the sudo command and when:

Kibana has many other features, such as graphing and filtering, so feel free to explore.

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