[Bro] optimize running bro from PCAPs / advantage of cluster mode

Frank Meier franky.meier.1 at gmx.de
Fri Sep 29 00:22:24 PDT 2017

Hi Mike,

thanks for your reply!

On Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:33:55 -0500
Mike Dopheide <dopheide at gmail.com> wrote:

> I would argue that using Bro's cluster configuration ends up making
> it a lot easier for you in the long run.
> 1) To start, you only have one logger node so all of your logs will
> be in one place and you don't have to worry about trying to
> consolidate them later.

This is true, but you could also argue that you might get better
throughput, if multiple loggers write to for example a cluster of
elastic or kafka servers.

> 4) I question not needing to have shared tables, but I also don't
> know your environment and your end goals.  That's how most of the
> scan detection scripts work, by counting the number of anomalies over
> time across all of your traffic.   If an attacker scans you ten times
> which are split across ten bro nodes that aren't communicating with
> each other, you may miss it. A lot of the malware detection policies
> also look for the inbound connection and then a separate outbound
> connection.

I should clarify, that I run bro mainly as a source of meta data about
pcaps. As all data is from the past, scanner detection is no priority.

> Also, using broctl puts you in the same place as a lot of other other
> installations so it's easier for people on this list to help
> troubleshoot.

That's a good point. 

My original question still stands: Are there any parsers which combine
the information seen by different workers in different flows?


> -Dop
> On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 6:15 AM, Frank Meier <franky.meier.1 at gmx.de>
> wrote:
> > Hello!
> >
> > In contrast to the normal use case I run Bro mostly from pcaps. When
> > huge amounts of data (~20 TB) have to be processed, bro in
> > standalone mode becomes a real bottleneck. So I thought about using
> > the bro cluster mode.
> >
> > In the past I thought, the bro workers would communicate with each
> > other, so when for example one worker sees upstream and the other
> > downstream, they would combine the information to one log. Seth
> > told me at BroCon, that Bro needs to be fed complete streams. To do
> > this some kind of load balancer is needed in front of bro.
> >
> > When I need to split the flows with a load balancer anyway, is
> > there any advantage of running bro in cluster mode at all? I do not
> > need any shared data like tables. Are there any parsers which
> > combine the information seen by different workers in different
> > flows?
> >
> > If cluster mode has no added value in my case, I could just load
> > balance my pcaps to independent bro instances which would make my
> > setup much easier.
> >
> > Have a nice weekend!
> >
> > Franky
> > _______________________________________________
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> > bro at bro-ids.org
> > http://mailman.ICSI.Berkeley.EDU/mailman/listinfo/bro
> >

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