adnaan / ekanite

The Syslog server with built-in search

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For detailed look at the goals, design, and implementation of this project, check out these blog posts.

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Ekanite is a high-performance syslog server with built-in text search. Its goal is to do a couple of things, and do them well -- accept log messages over the network, and make it easy to search the messages. What it lacks in feature, it makes up for in focus. Built in Go, it has no external dependencies, which makes deployment easy.

Features include:

  • Supports reception of log messages over UDP, TCP, and TCP with TLS.
  • Full text search of all received log messages.
  • Full parsing of RFC5424 headers.
  • Log messages are indexed by parsed timestamp, if one is available. This means search results are presented in the order the messages occurred, not in the order they were received, ensuring sensible display even with delayed senders.
  • Automatic data-retention management. Ekanite deletes indexed log data older than a configurable time period.
  • Not a JVM in sight.

Search is implemented using the bleve search library. For some performance analysis of bleve, and of the sharding techniques used by Ekanite, check out this post.

Getting started

The quickest way to get running on OSX and Linux is to download a pre-built release binary. You can find these binaries on the Github releases page. Once installed, you can start Ekanite like so:

ekanited -datadir ~/ekanite_data # Or any directory of your choice.

To see all Ekanite options pass -h on the command line.

If you want to build Ekanite, either because you want the latest code or a pre-built binary for platform is not available, take a look at

Sending logs to Ekanite

For now, for Ekanite to accept logs, your syslog client must be configured such that the log lines are RFC5424 compliant, and in the following format:


Consult the RFC to learn what each of these fields is. The TIMESTAMP field must be in RFC3339 format. Both rsyslog and syslog-ng support templating, which make it very easy for those programs to format logs correctly and transmit the logs to Ekanite. Templates and installation instructions for both systems are below.


# Send messages to Ekanite over TCP using the template. Assumes Ekanite is listening on
$template Ekanite,"<%pri%>%protocol-version% %timestamp:::date-rfc3339% %HOSTNAME% %app-name% %procid% - %msg%\n"
*.*             @@;Ekanite

Add this template to /etc/rsyslog.d/23-ekanite.conf and then restart rsyslog using the command sudo service rsyslog restart.


source s_ekanite {
	system();	# Check which OS & collect system logs
	internal();	# Collect syslog-ng logs
template Ekanite { template("<${PRI}>1 ${ISODATE} ${HOST} ${PROGRAM} ${PID} - $MSG\n"); template_escape(no) };
destination d_ekanite {
	tcp("" port(5514) template(Ekanite));

log {

Add this template to /etc/syslog-ng/syslog-ng.conf and then restart syslog-ng using the command /etc/init.d/syslog-ng restart.

With these changes in place rsyslog or syslog-ng will continue to send logs to any existing destination, and also forward the logs to Ekanite.

Searching the logs

Search support is pretty simple at the moment. You have two options -- a simple telnet-like interface, and a browser-based interface.

Telnet interface

Telnet to the query server (see the command line options) and enter a search term. The query language supported is the simple language supported by bleve, but a more sophisiticated query syntax, including searching for specific field values, may be supported soon.

For example, below is an example search session, showing accesses to the login URL of a Wordpress site. The telnet clients connects to the query server and enters the string login

$ telnet 9950
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
<134>0 2015-05-05T23:50:17.025568+00:00 fisher apache-access - - - - [05/May/2015:23:50:12 +0000] "GET /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 206 "-" "-"
<134>0 2015-05-06T01:24:41.232890+00:00 fisher apache-access - - - - [06/May/2015:01:24:40 +0000] "GET /wp-login.php?action=register HTTP/1.0" 200 206 "" "Opera/9.80 (Windows NT 6.2; Win64; x64) Presto/2.12.388 Version/12.17"
<134>0 2015-05-06T01:24:41.232895+00:00 fisher apache-access - - - - [06/May/2015:01:24:40 +0000] "GET /wp-login.php?action=register HTTP/1.1" 200 243 "" "Opera/9.80 (Windows NT 6.2; Win64; x64) Presto/2.12.388 Version/12.17"
<134>0 2015-05-06T02:47:54.612953+00:00 fisher apache-access - - - - [06/May/2015:02:47:51 +0000] "GET /wp-login.php HTTP/1.1" 200 243 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1) AppleWebKit/537.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/24.0.1309.0 Safari/537.17"
<134>0 2015-05-06T04:20:49.008609+00:00 fisher apache-access - - - - [06/May/2015:04:20:46 +0000] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.1" 200 206 "-" "Opera 10.00"

Perhaps you only want to search for POST accesses to that URL:

login -GET
<134>0 2015-05-06T04:20:49.008609+00:00 fisher apache-access - - - - [06/May/2015:04:20:46 +0000] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.1" 200 206 "-" "Opera 10.00"

A more sophisticated client program is planned.

Browser interface

The browser-based interface also accepts bleve-style queries, identical to those described in the Telnet section. By default the browser interface is available at http://localhost:8080. An example session is shown below.

Data Diagram


Basic statistics and diagnostics are available. Visit http://localhost:9951/debug/vars to retrieve this information. The host and port can be changed via the -diag command-line option.

Project Status

The project is semi-maintained -- contributions in the form of bug reports and pull requests are welcome. Much work remains around performance and scaling, and you can check out the issues for more details.


The Syslog server with built-in search

License:MIT License


Language:Go 98.9%Language:Shell 1.1%