[Bro] elastic search / bro questions

M K mkhan04 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 6 18:50:41 PST 2014

If you're looking at the source for 2.3 it'll be in

In master, the ES writer has been moved to the new plugin architecture
although the code remains largely the same (as far as I can tell), so you
can take a look at the bro-plugins repo on github.

As a little preview, the writer uses the ES bulk interface to send data
using libcurl and if there's any error, basically ignores it and continues

Also, I wrote two custom writers a few months back, an AMQP writer and an
ElasticSearch River writer, both of which wrote to an AMQP server (the
latter of which made river compliant messages for direct ingestion into
ES). They worked well under testing, but I didn't go any further with them
since my pull request to the bro repo wasn't accepted.

On Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 9:37 PM, Joe Blow <blackhole.em at gmail.com> wrote:

> Yuck.  I was really hoping this wasn't the way.  From everything you said,
> the river is where i'm focusing.  I really, really dislike logstash (i'd
> rather bend rsyslog + ES output plugin to my liking any day).
> I've written a few custom ES output/input parsers and many SOLR parsers
> that will parse bro logs, proxy logs, etc..., but would rather focus on
> something more native to output to ES if possible.
> I guess it might be time to dig into some src...
> Thanks for the feedback.
> Cheers,
> JB
> On Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 9:25 PM, M K <mkhan04 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Unless it's changed within the past month or so, the ElasticSearch writer
>> that comes with Bro is very alpha-level code. For the most part it fires
>> and forgets and can be prone to losing messages if your cluster isn't able
>> to keep up or some other situation causes it not to be able to ingest the
>> data properly.
>> Your best bet, as of now, is to write out the logs to disk and use some
>> intermediary program to process the logs and ingest them into ES. Logstash
>> can help, but with the default custom format Bro uses, it can't parse the
>> data properly. If you're using Bro 2.3, you can modify the output format of
>> the ascii writer to use json instead and then use logstash to feed the data
>> relatively easily into ES. Further, I'd recommend using a rabbit river so
>> ES can ingest the data at its leisure.
>> If you're stuck with the non-json format, well your options are kinda
>> limited. You can write a crazy custom logstash conf using grok (which is
>> super inefficient) or figure out some other mechanism.
>> As an aside, I've written a custom logstash filter that processes the
>> custom bro format and is, to a limited extent, bro type aware so it can
>> take old-style bro logs relatively easily and make it more usable (numbers
>> are turned into numbers and sets, vectors and tables are turned into arrays
>> -- same as how I've seen the ES writer output data). There are some caveats
>> in its usage though. I'm putting the finishing touches on it and plan to
>> release it when I get a chance (hopefully within the next week or two).
>> On Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 7:54 PM, Joe Blow <blackhole.em at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hey all,
>>> Just going to throw this out there and hope some people are willing to
>>> potentially share some learning experiences if they have any.
>>> We have a system which generates around 15k-30k BRO events/sec and are
>>> trying to ingest these logs into a fairly beefy elasticsearch cluster.
>>> Total cluster memory ~300GB, storage ~300TB.
>>> Long story short, we're having some problems keeping up with this feed.
>>> Does anyone have any performance tuning with this module?  I've played a
>>> lot with rsyslog batch sizes with elasticsearch and was hoping there would
>>> be some simple directive i could try and apply to BRO.
>>> Does anyone have this experience here?  Does this module batch anything?
>>> Thanks in advance.
>>> Cheers,
>>> JB
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Bro mailing list
>>> bro at bro-ids.org
>>> http://mailman.ICSI.Berkeley.EDU/mailman/listinfo/bro
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