Forward

Last updated 3 months ago

Forward is the protocol used by Fluentd to route messages between peers. The forward output plugin allows to provide interoperability between Fluent Bit and Fluentd. There are not configuration steps required besides to specify where Fluentd is located, it can be in the local host or a in a remote machine.

This plugin offers two different transports and modes:

  • Forward (TCP): It uses a plain TCP connection.

  • Secure Forward (TLS): when TLS is enabled, the plugin switch to Secure Forward mode.

Configuration Parameters

The following parameters are mandatory for either Forward for Secure Forward modes:

Key

Description

Default

Host

Target host where Fluent-Bit or Fluentd are listening for Forward messages.

127.0.0.1

Port

TCP Port of the target service.

24224

Time_as_Integer

Set timestamps in integer format, it enable compatibility mode for Fluentd v0.12 series.

False

Upstream

If Forward will connect to an Upstream instead of a simple host, this property defines the absolute path for the Upstream configuration file, for more details about this refer to the Upstream Servers documentation section.

Secure Forward Mode Configuration Parameters

When using Secure Forward mode, the TLS mode requires to be enabled. The following additional configuration parameters are available:

Key

Description

Default

Shared_Key

A key string known by the remote Fluentd used for authorization.

Self_Hostname

Default value of the auto-generated certificate common name (CN).

tls

Enable or disable TLS support

Off

tls.verify

Force certificate validation

On

tls.debug

Set TLS debug verbosity level. It accept the following values: 0 (No debug), 1 (Error), 2 (State change), 3 (Informational) and 4 Verbose

1

tls.ca_file

Absolute path to CA certificate file

tls.crt_file

Absolute path to Certificate file.

tls.key_file

Absolute path to private Key file.

tls.key_passwd

Optional password for tls.key_file file.

Forward Setup

Before proceeding, make sure that Fluentd is installed in your system, if it's not the case please refer to the following Fluentd Installation document and go ahead with that.

Once Fluentd is installed, create the following configuration file example that will allow us to stream data into it:

<source>
type forward
bind 0.0.0.0
port 24224
</source>
<match fluent_bit>
type stdout
</match>

That configuration file specifies that it will listen for TCP connections on the port 24224 through the forward input type. Then for every message with a fluent_bit TAG, will print the message to the standard output.

In one terminal launch Fluentd specifying the new configuration file created (in_fluent-bit.conf):

$ fluentd -c test.conf
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: reading config file path="test.conf"
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: starting fluentd-0.12.33
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-mixin-config-placeholders' version '0.3.1'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-docker' version '0.1.0'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-elasticsearch' version '1.4.0'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-flatten-hash' version '0.2.0'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-flowcounter-simple' version '0.0.4'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-influxdb' version '0.2.8'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-json-in-json' version '0.1.4'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-mongo' version '0.7.10'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-out-http' version '0.1.3'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-parser' version '0.6.0'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-record-reformer' version '0.7.0'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-rewrite-tag-filter' version '1.5.1'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-stdin' version '0.1.1'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: gem 'fluent-plugin-td' version '0.10.27'
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: adding match pattern="fluent_bit" type="stdout"
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: adding source type="forward"
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: using configuration file: <ROOT>
<source>
type forward
bind 0.0.0.0
port 24224
</source>
<match fluent_bit>
type stdout
</match>
</ROOT>
2017-03-23 11:50:43 -0600 [info]: listening fluent socket on 0.0.0.0:24224

Fluent Bit + Forward Setup

Now that Fluentd is ready to receive messages, we need to specify where the forward output plugin will flush the information using the following format:

bin/fluent-bit -i INPUT -o forward://HOST:PORT

If the TAG parameter is not set, the plugin will set the tag as fluent_bit. Keep in mind that TAG is important for routing rules inside Fluentd.

Using the CPU input plugin as an example we will flush CPU metrics to Fluentd:

$ bin/fluent-bit -i cpu -t fluent_bit -o forward://127.0.0.1:24224

Now on the Fluentd side, you will see the CPU metrics gathered in the last seconds:

2017-03-23 11:53:06 -0600 fluent_bit: {"cpu_p":0.0,"user_p":0.0,"system_p":0.0,"cpu0.p_cpu":0.0,"cpu0.p_user":0.0,"cpu0.p_system":0.0,"cpu1.p_cpu":0.0,"cpu1.p_user":0.0,"cpu1.p_system":0.0,"cpu2.p_cpu":0.0,"cpu2.p_user":0.0,"cpu2.p_system":0.0,"cpu3.p_cpu":1.0,"cpu3.p_user":1.0,"cpu3.p_system":0.0}
2017-03-23 11:53:07 -0600 fluent_bit: {"cpu_p":2.25,"user_p":2.0,"system_p":0.25,"cpu0.p_cpu":3.0,"cpu0.p_user":3.0,"cpu0.p_system":0.0,"cpu1.p_cpu":1.0,"cpu1.p_user":1.0,"cpu1.p_system":0.0,"cpu2.p_cpu":1.0,"cpu2.p_user":1.0,"cpu2.p_system":0.0,"cpu3.p_cpu":3.0,"cpu3.p_user":2.0,"cpu3.p_system":1.0}
2017-03-23 11:53:08 -0600 fluent_bit: {"cpu_p":1.75,"user_p":1.0,"system_p":0.75,"cpu0.p_cpu":2.0,"cpu0.p_user":1.0,"cpu0.p_system":1.0,"cpu1.p_cpu":3.0,"cpu1.p_user":1.0,"cpu1.p_system":2.0,"cpu2.p_cpu":3.0,"cpu2.p_user":2.0,"cpu2.p_system":1.0,"cpu3.p_cpu":2.0,"cpu3.p_user":1.0,"cpu3.p_system":1.0}
2017-03-23 11:53:09 -0600 fluent_bit: {"cpu_p":4.75,"user_p":3.5,"system_p":1.25,"cpu0.p_cpu":4.0,"cpu0.p_user":3.0,"cpu0.p_system":1.0,"cpu1.p_cpu":5.0,"cpu1.p_user":4.0,"cpu1.p_system":1.0,"cpu2.p_cpu":3.0,"cpu2.p_user":2.0,"cpu2.p_system":1.0,"cpu3.p_cpu":5.0,"cpu3.p_user":4.0,"cpu3.p_system":1.0}

So we gathered CPU metrics and flushed them out to Fluentd properly.

Fluent Bit + Secure Forward Setup

DISCLAIMER: the following example do not consider the generation of certificates for a proper usage of production environments.

Secure Forward aims to provide a secure channel of communication with the remote Fluentd service using TLS. Above there is a minimalist configuration for testing purposes.

Fluent Bit

Paste this content in a file called flb.conf:

[SERVICE]
Flush 5
Daemon off
Log_Level info
[INPUT]
Name cpu
Tag cpu_usage
[OUTPUT]
Name forward
Match *
Host 127.0.0.1
Port 24284
Shared_Key secret
Self_Hostname flb.local
tls on
tls.verify off

Fluentd

Paste this content in a file called fld.conf:

<source>
@type secure_forward
self_hostname myserver.local
shared_key secret
secure no
</source>
<match **>
@type stdout
</match>

If you're using Fluentd v1, set up it as below:

<source>
@type forward
<transport tls>
cert_path /etc/td-agent/certs/fluentd.crt
private_key_path /etc/td-agent/certs/fluentd.key
private_key_passphrase password
</transport>
<security>
self_hostname myserver.local
shared_key secret
</security>
</source>
<match **>
@type stdout
</match>

Test Communication

Start Fluentd:

$ fluentd -c fld.conf

Start Fluent Bit:

$ fluent-bit -c flb.conf

After five seconds, Fluent Bit will write the records to Fluentd. In Fluentd output you will see a message like this:

2017-03-23 13:34:40 -0600 [info]: using configuration file: <ROOT>
<source>
@type secure_forward
self_hostname myserver.local
shared_key xxxxxx
secure no
</source>
<match **>
@type stdout
</match>
</ROOT>
2017-03-23 13:34:41 -0600 cpu_usage: {"cpu_p":1.0,"user_p":0.75,"system_p":0.25,"cpu0.p_cpu":1.0,"cpu0.p_user":1.0,"cpu0.p_system":0.0,"cpu1.p_cpu":2.0,"cpu1.p_user":1.0,"cpu1.p_system":1.0,"cpu2.p_cpu":1.0,"cpu2.p_user":1.0,"cpu2.p_system":0.0,"cpu3.p_cpu":2.0,"cpu3.p_user":1.0,"cpu3.p_system":1.0}
2017-03-23 13:34:42 -0600 cpu_usage: {"cpu_p":1.75,"user_p":1.75,"system_p":0.0,"cpu0.p_cpu":3.0,"cpu0.p_user":3.0,"cpu0.p_system":0.0,"cpu1.p_cpu":2.0,"cpu1.p_user":2.0,"cpu1.p_system":0.0,"cpu2.p_cpu":0.0,"cpu2.p_user":0.0,"cpu2.p_system":0.0,"cpu3.p_cpu":1.0,"cpu3.p_user":1.0,"cpu3.p_system":0.0}
2017-03-23 13:34:43 -0600 cpu_usage: {"cpu_p":1.75,"user_p":1.25,"system_p":0.5,"cpu0.p_cpu":3.0,"cpu0.p_user":3.0,"cpu0.p_system":0.0,"cpu1.p_cpu":2.0,"cpu1.p_user":2.0,"cpu1.p_system":0.0,"cpu2.p_cpu":0.0,"cpu2.p_user":0.0,"cpu2.p_system":0.0,"cpu3.p_cpu":1.0,"cpu3.p_user":0.0,"cpu3.p_system":1.0}
2017-03-23 13:34:44 -0600 cpu_usage: {"cpu_p":5.0,"user_p":3.25,"system_p":1.75,"cpu0.p_cpu":4.0,"cpu0.p_user":2.0,"cpu0.p_system":2.0,"cpu1.p_cpu":8.0,"cpu1.p_user":5.0,"cpu1.p_system":3.0,"cpu2.p_cpu":4.0,"cpu2.p_user":3.0,"cpu2.p_system":1.0,"cpu3.p_cpu":4.0,"cpu3.p_user":2.0,"cpu3.p_system":2.0}