Simple Kibana monitoring (for Alfresco)

This post is inspired by and there’s a lot of useful info in there.

The aim of this post is to allow you to quickly get up and running and monitoring your logs.

I’m using puppet to install, even though we don’t have a puppet master, as there are modules provided by Elastic Search that make it easy to install and configure the infrastructure.

If you’re not sure how to use puppet look at my post Puppet – the very basics

Files to go with this post are available on github

I’m running on Ubuntu 16.04 and at the end have

  • elasticsearch 5.2.1
  • logstash 1.5.2
  • kibana 5.2.1

The kibana instance will be running on port 5601

Elastic Search

Elastic Search puppet module
Logstash puppet module

puppet module install elastic-elasticsearch --version 5.0.0
puppet module install elastic-logstash --version 5.0.4

The manifest file

class { 'elasticsearch':
java_install => true,
manage_repo => true,
repo_version => '5.x',

elasticsearch::instance { 'es-01': }
elasticsearch::plugin { 'x-pack': instances => 'es-01' }

include logstash

# You must provide a valid pipeline configuration for the service to start.
logstash::configfile { 'my_ls_config':
content => template('wrighting-logstash/logstash_conf.erb'),

logstash::plugin { 'logstash-input-beats': }
logstash::plugin { 'logstash-filter-grok': }
logstash::plugin { 'logstash-filter-mutate': }

Configuration – server

puppet apply --verbose --detailed-exitcodes /etc/puppetlabs/code/environments/production/manifests/elk.pp


Configuration – client

This is a fairly big change over the alfresco-monitoring configuration as it uses beats to publish the information to the logstash instance running on the server.

For simplicity I’m not using redis.

Links for more information or just use the code below

wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/elastic-5.x.list
apt-get update
apt-get install filebeat metricbeat

Partly for convenience I choose to install both beats on the ELK server and connect them directly to elasticsearch (the default) before installing elsewhere. This has the advantage of automatically loading the elasticsearch template file

You should normally disable the elasticsearch output and enable the logstash output if you are sending tomcat files


curl -L -O
sudo dpkg -i filebeat-5.2.1-amd64.deb
Note that this configuration implies the change made to the tomcat access log configuration in server.xml

<Valve className="org.apache.catalina.valves.AccessLogValve" directory="logs"
prefix="access-" suffix=".log"
pattern='%a %l %u %t "%r" %s %b "%{Referer}i" "%{User-agent}i" %D "%I"'

Edit /etc/filebeat/filebeat.yml

 # Each - is a prospector. Most options can be set at the prospector level, so
 # you can use different prospectors for various configurations.
 # Below are the prospector specific configurations.
 - input_type: log
 # Paths that should be crawled and fetched. Glob based paths.
 - /var/log/tomcat7/access-*.log
 tags: [ "TomcatAccessLog" ]

- input_type: log
 # Paths that should be crawled and fetched. Glob based paths.
 - /var/log/tomcat7/alfresco.log
 tags: [ "alfrescoLog" ]

- input_type: log
 # Paths that should be crawled and fetched. Glob based paths.
 - /var/log/tomcat7/share.log
 tags: [ "shareLog" ]

 hosts: [""]

Don’t forget to start the service!

If you are using the filebeat apache2 module then check your error.log as you may need to configure the access for the apache2 status module

Metric Beat

Check the documentation but it’s probably OK to mostly leave the defaults

Port forwarding

If you need to set up port forwarding the following will do it.
Edit .ssh/config

Host my.filebeats.client
RemoteForward my.filebeats.client:5044 localhost:5044

ssh -N my.filebeats.client &
Note you will need to restart if you change/restart logstash

Logstash config

Look at the logstash_conf.erb file.

Changes from alfresco config

  • You will need to change [type] to [tags]
  • multi-line is part of the input, not the filters – note this could be done in the filebeat config
  • jmx filters removed as I’m using community edition
  • system filters removed as I’m using the metricbeat supplied configuration

Exploring ElasticSearch
View the indexes
curl 'localhost:9200/_cat/indices?v'
Look at some content – defaults to 10 results
curl 'localhost:9200/filebeat-2017.02.23/_search?q=*&pretty'
Look at some content with a query
curl -XPOST 'localhost:9200/filebeat-2017.02.23/_search?pretty' -d@query.json

"query": { "match": { "tags": "TomcatAccessLog"} },
"size": 10,
"sort": { "@timestamp": { "order": "desc"}}


Set up

puppet module install cristifalcas-kibana --version 5.0.1
This gives you a kibana install running on http://localhost:5601

Note that this is Kibana version 5

If you are having trouble with fields not showing up try – Management -> Index Patterns -> refresh and/or reload the templates

curl -XPUT 'http://localhost:9200/_template/metricbeat' -d@/etc/metricbeat/metricbeat.template.json 
curl -XPUT 'http://localhost:9200/_template/filebeat' -d@/etc/filebeat/filebeat.template.json 

A good place to start is to load the Default beats dashboards


There are no filebeat dashboards for v5.2.1 – there are some for later versions but these are not backwards compatible

My impression is that this is an area that will improve with new releases in the near future (updates to the various beats)
To install from git instead:

git clone
cd beats
git checkout tags/v5.2.1
/usr/share/filebeat/scripts/import_dashboards -dir beats/filebeat/module/system/_meta/kibana/
/usr/share/filebeat/scripts/import_dashboards -dir beats/filebeat/module/apache2/_meta/kibana/


Can be imported from the github repository referenced at the top of the article

Changes from alfresco-monitoring:

  • No system indicators – relying on the default beats dashboards
  • All tomcat servers are covered by the dashboard – this allows you to filter by node name in the dashboard (and no need to edit the definition files)
  • No jmx


X-Pack is also useful because it allows you to set up alerts

The puppet file shown will install X-Pack in elasticsearch

To install in kibana
(I have not managed to get this working, possibly due to not configuring authentication, and it breaks kibana)
sudo -u kibana /usr/share/kibana/bin/kibana-plugin install x-pack

Not done

This guide doesn’t show how to configure any form of authentication.

Adding JMX

It should be reasonably straight-forward to add JMX indicators but I’ve not yet done so.

Puppet – the very basics

Installing puppet

apt-get -y install ntp
dpkg -i puppetlabs-release-pc1-xenial.deb
gpg --keyserver --recv-key 7F438280EF8D349F
apt-get update

Puppet agent

apt-get install puppet-agent
Edit /etc/puppetlabs/puppet/puppet.conf to add the [master] section

puppet agent -t -d Note this does apply the changes!

Then you can start the puppet service

export PATH=$PATH:/opt/puppetlabs/bin

Puppet server

apt-get install puppetserver
You will probably also want to install apt-get install puppetdb puppetdb-termini and start the puppetdb service after configuring the PostgreSQL database.

To look at clients:
puppet cert list --all

To validate a new client run puppet cert --sign client

Using puppet locally

You don’t need to use a puppet server

Installing modules

The module page will tell you how to do this e.g.
puppet module install module_name --version version

However it’s probably a better idea to use librarian-puppet and define the modules in the Puppetfile

apt-get install ruby
gem install librarian-puppet
cd /etc/puppetlabs/code/environments/production
librarian-puppet init

Once you have edited your Puppetfile

librarian-puppet install

Running a manifest

Manual run

puppet apply --verbose --detailed-exitcodes /etc/puppetlabs/code/environments/production/manifests/manifest.pp

Managed run

The control of what is install is via the file /etc/puppetlabs/code/environments/production/manifests/site.pp
Best practice indicates that you use small modules to define your installation.
Example site.pp

node default {
   include serverdefault
node mynode {

You can then check it with puppet agent --noop
Note that --test actually applies the changes.

Running over ssh

Not recommended!
For your ssh user create .ssh/config which contains the following:

Host *
	RemoteForward %h:8140 localhost:8140

you can then set up a tunnel via ssh -N client & (assuming that you can ssh to the client as normal!)

On the client you then need to define the puppet server as localhost in /etc/hosts, then puppet agent --test --server puppetserver
as usual.
Then you can run the agent as usual – don’t forget to start the service.


With the current version you should use an environment specific heira.yaml e.g. /etc/puppetlabs/code/environment/production/hiera.yaml

The recommended approach is to use roles and profiles to define how each node should be configured (out of scope of this post)


See but check your puppet version

gem install hiera-eyaml
puppetserver gem install hiera-eyaml


Test using something like puppet apply -e '$var = lookup(config::testprop) notify {$var: }' where config::testprop is defined in your secure.eyaml file

Host specific config

The hieradata for this node is defined in the hierarchy as:

Groups of nodes

You can use multiple node names or a regex in your site.pp (remember only one node definition will be matched)

Another alternative is to use facts, either existing or custom, to define locations in your hiera hierarchy

If this is too crude then you can use an ENC

A very skeleton python enc program is given below:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import sys
import re
from yaml import load, dump

n = sys.argv[1]

node = {
    'parameters' : {
        "config::myparam" : 'myvalue'

dump(node, sys.stdout,
    indent=10 )

Puppet setup

Add the following section to /etc/puppetlabs/puppet/puppet.conf

server = puppetmaster
certname = nodename.mydomain
environment = production
runinterval = 1h


Detailed module writing is out of scope of this post but a quick start is as follows:

puppet module generate wrighting-serverdefault

Then edit manifests/init.pp