#5-ELK Stack: Configure logstash 7.x with data pipeline

This is a multi part Elasticsearch Tutorial where we will cover all the related topics on ELK Stack using Elasticsearch 7.5


Overview on Logstash

Logstash helps centralize event data such as logs, metrics, or any other data in any format. It can perform a number of transformations before sending it to a stash of your choice. It is a key component of the Elastic Stack, used to centralize the collection and transformation processes in your data pipeline.

Logstash is a server-side component. Its role is to centralize the collection of data from a wide number of input sources in a scalable way, and transform and send the data to an output of your choice. Typically, the output is sent to Elasticsearch, but Logstash is capable of sending it to a wide variety of outputs.

In this article we will learn

  • Install and Configure Logstash 7.5
  • How to send data from logstash to elasticsearch
  • How to check if logstash is sending data to elasticsearch


Logstash Architecture

The Logstash event processing pipeline has three stages, that is, Inputs, Filters, and Outputs. A Logstash pipeline has two required elements, that is, input and output, and one option element known as filters:

#5-ELK Stack: Install & Configure logstash 7.x with Elasticsearch
Credits: Lerning Logstash 7


Inputs create events, Filters modify the input events, and Outputs ship them to the destination. Inputs and outputs support codecs, which allow you to encode or decode the data as and when it enters or exits the pipeline, without having to use a separate filter.


Install Java

To configure Logstash we require Java 8 or Java 11. To check your Java version, run the following command

[root@centos-8 ~]# java -version
openjdk version "1.8.0_232"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_232-b09)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.232-b09, mixed mode)

If java is not installed you can install it using official Oracle distibution or open source distribution


Install Logstash

We will use yum repository to install logstash but you can also choose other installation options from elasticsearch.

Download and install the public signing key:

# rpm --import https://artifacts.elastic.co/GPG-KEY-elasticsearch

Add the following in your /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory in a file with a .repo suffix, for example logstash.repo

name=Elastic repository for 7.x packages

And your repository is ready for use. You can install it with:

# yum install logstash


Generate SSL certificates

We will use the certificates we had created earlier for centos-8 on our ELK stack. Create a directory certs under /etc/logstash/ and copy all the certificates we created in our earlier article

[root@centos-8 ~]# ls -l /etc/logstash/certs
total 16
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1200 Dec 30 19:51 ca.crt
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1200 Dec 31 13:08 centos-8.crt
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1679 Dec 30 20:00 centos-8.key


Run Logstash

Logstash requires configuration to be specified while running it. Configuration can be specified directly as an argument using the -e option by specifying the configuration file (the .conf file) using the -f option/flag. Before we configure logstash to connect with elasticsearch cluster, first, let’s test your Logstash installation by running the most basic Logstash pipeline.

A Logstash pipeline has two required elements, input and output, and one optional element, filter. The input plugins consume data from a source, the filter plugins modify the data as you specify, and the output plugins write the data to a destination.

The logstash binary is available inside

[root@centos-8 ~]# ls -l /usr/share/logstash/bin/logstash
-rwxr-xr-x 1 logstash logstash 2354 Dec 17 06:22 /usr/share/logstash/bin/logstash

(Optional) Now by default this path is not available in the PATH variable so we must use the absolute path everytime we execute logstash, to avoid this we will update our PATH variable. Below command wil temporarily update the PATH variable, to make it reboot persistent you can update this in the location where PATH variable is defined in your system.

[root@centos-8 ~]# export PATH=$PATH:/usr/share/logstash/bin

Verify the new PATH

[root@centos-8 ~]# echo $PATH

Now we can directly execute logstash. After starting Logstash, wait until you see "Successfully started Logstash API endpoint" and then enter hello world at the command prompt:

[root@centos-8 ~]# logstash -e 'input { stdin { } } output { stdout {} }'
<Output trimmed>
The stdin plugin is now waiting for input:
[INFO ] 2019-12-31 18:48:30.830 [Api Webserver] agent - Successfully started Logstash API endpoint {:port=>9600}
Hello World
/usr/share/logstash/vendor/bundle/jruby/2.5.0/gems/awesome_print-1.7.0/lib/awesome_print/formatters/base_formatter.rb:31: warning: constant ::Fixnum is deprecated
    "@timestamp" => 2019-12-31T13:18:40.701Z,
          "host" => "centos-8",
       "message" => "Hello World",
      "@version" => "1"

The -e flag enables you to specify a configuration directly from the command line. Specifying configurations at the command line lets you quickly test configurations without having to edit a file between iterations

Exit Logstash by issuing a CTRL-D command in the shell where Logstash is running.


Basic Logstash pipeline

The Logstash pipeline is stored in a configuration file that ends with a .conf extension. The three sections of the configuration file are as follows:


Each of these sections contains one or more plugin configurations. A plugin can be configured by providing the name of the plugin and then its settings as a key-value pair. The value is assigned to a key using the => operator.


Below is a sample configuration file

  • You may notice that this file contains two required elements, input and output, and that the input section has a plugin named stdin which accepts default parameters.
  • The output section has a stdout plugin which accepts the rubydebug codec.
  • stdin is used for reading input from the standard input, and the stdout plugin is used for writing the event information to standard outputs.
  • The rubydebug codec will output your Logstash event data using the Ruby Awesome Print library.
  • It also contains a filter section that has a mutate plugin, which replaces text 'deepak' with 'rahul'.
[root@centos-8 ~]# cat console.conf
input {

filter {
   ruby {
     code => 'event.set("message", event.get("message").sub("deepak", "rahul"))'

output {
   stdout{codec => rubydebug}

We will execute logstash using -f and the configuration filename with path.

[root@centos-8 logstash_files]# logstash -f console.conf
<Output trimmed>
[INFO ] 2019-12-30 20:51:28.279 [Agent thread] agent - Pipelines running {:count=>1, :running_pipelines=>[:main], :non_running_pipelines=>[]}
The stdin plugin is now waiting for input:
[INFO ] 2019-12-30 20:51:29.972 [Api Webserver] agent - Successfully started Logstash API endpoint {:port=>9601}
/usr/share/logstash/vendor/bundle/jruby/2.5.0/gems/awesome_print-1.7.0/lib/awesome_print/formatters/base_formatter.rb:31: warning: constant ::Fixnum is deprecated { "@version" => "1",
Hello World  <-- This is our first input 
          "host" => "centos-8.example.com",
    "@timestamp" => 2019-12-30T15:22:03.820Z,
       "message" => "Hello World"
My name is deepak  <-- Next input 
      "@version" => "1",
          "host" => "centos-8.example.com",
    "@timestamp" => 2019-12-30T15:22:09.715Z,
       "message" => "My name is rahul"  <-- The output was successfully processed and deepak was replaced by rahul


Configure logstash.yml to enable xpack monitoring

To configure logstash we must modify logstash.yml available inside /etc/logstash. To control how monitoring data is collected from Logstash and sent to elasticsearch, you configure xpack.monitoring settings in logstash.yml.

node.name: centos-8
path.data: /var/lib/logstash
path.config: /etc/logstash/conf.d/*.conf
path.logs: /var/log/logstash
xpack.monitoring.enabled: true
xpack.monitoring.elasticsearch.username: 'logstash_system'
xpack.monitoring.elasticsearch.password: 'Passw0rd'
xpack.monitoring.elasticsearch.hosts: [ "", "", "" ]
xpack.monitoring.elasticsearch.ssl.certificate_authority: '/etc/logstash/certs/ca.crt'

Here we have used logstash_system built-in user and it's password to connect to elasticsearch cluster


Connect logstash with Elasticsearch

This plugin is used for transferring events from Logstash to Elasticsearch. This plugin is the recommended approach for pushing events/log data from Logstash to Elasticsearch. Once the data is in Elasticsearch, it can be easily visualized using Kibana. This plugin requires no mandatory parameters and it automatically tries to connect to Elasticsearch

Since we are using /etc/logstash/conf.d/ as path.config to store the configuration file, I will create my configuration file inside this location which we will use to connect logstash to elasticsearch

[root@centos-8 ~]# cat /etc/logstash/conf.d/connect_slasticsearch.conf
input {
  beats {
    port => 5044
    ssl => true
    ssl_key => '/etc/logstash/certs/centos-8.key'
    ssl_certificate => '/etc/logstash/certs/ca.crt'
  file {
         path => "/var/log/messages"
output {
  elasticsearch {
    hosts => ["","",""]
    cacert => '/etc/logstash/certs/ca.crt'
    user => 'logstash_system'
    password => 'redhat'

Since we are using SSL encryption to configure logstash and elasticsearch we will use respective values in the configuration file.


Start logstash service

We are all done with the steps to configure logstash and connect to our elasticsearch cluster. Start the logstash service and enable it to start automatically on every reboot

[root@centos-8 ~]# systemctl start logstash
[root@centos-8 ~]# systemctl enable logstash

You can monitor the logs of logstash service using journalctl-u logstash -f or check the logs available inside /var/log/logstash
Now once you configure logstash, check Kibana's Stack Monitoring section to make sure Logstash node is added.

#5-ELK Stack: Configure logstash 7.x with data pipeline


Send data from logstash to elasticsearch

Here we will create a logstash pipeline and view the data on pipeline using index. In this configuration file I will take input from the content of /tmp/dummy.txt and the same will be visible on KIbana dashboard.

To make this work we need two terminal wherein on first terminal we will execute logstash and on the other terminal we will append data into /tmp/dummy.txt file. As soon as we input data into dummy.txt, the data will be visible on logstash and can also be viewed on Kibana

[root@centos-8 logstash_files]# logstash -f console.conf
<Output trimmed>
[INFO ] 2019-12-30 23:48:08.587 [[main]-pipeline-manager] javapipeline - Pipeline started {"pipeline.id"=>"main"}
[INFO ] 2019-12-30 23:48:09.204 [Agent thread] agent - Pipelines running {:count=>1, :running_pipelines=>[:main], :non_running_pipelines=>[]}
[INFO ] 2019-12-30 23:48:09.223 [[main]<file] observingtail - START, creating Discoverer, Watch with file and sincedb collections [INFO ] 2019-12-30 23:48:11.735 [Api Webserver] agent - Successfully started Logstash API endpoint {:port=>9601}
      "@version" => "1",
       "message" => "Hello World",
          "path" => "/tmp/dummy.txt",
          "host" => "centos-8.example.com",
    "@timestamp" => 2019-12-30T18:19:09.053Z
      "@version" => "1",
       "message" => "Test Message 1",
          "path" => "/tmp/dummy.txt",
          "host" => "centos-8.example.com",
    "@timestamp" => 2019-12-30T18:19:29.955Z
      "@version" => "1",
       "message" => "Test Message 2",
          "path" => "/tmp/dummy.txt",
          "host" => "centos-8.example.com",
    "@timestamp" => 2019-12-30T18:19:35.024Z
^C[WARN ] 2019-12-30 23:49:39.441 [SIGINT handler] runner - SIGINT received. Shutting down.
[INFO ] 2019-12-30 23:49:39.792 [Converge PipelineAction::Stop
[INFO ] 2019-12-30 23:49:39.792 [Converge PipelineAction::Stop<main>] observingtail - QUIT - closing all files and shutting down.
[INFO ] 2019-12-30 23:49:40.506 [Converge PipelineAction::Stop<main>] javapipeline - Pipeline terminated {"pipeline.id"=>"main"}
[INFO ] 2019-12-30 23:49:40.741 [LogStash::Runner] runner - Logstash shut down.

In parallel I have another terminal window on which I am putting data into /tmp/dummy.txt

[root@centos-8 ~]# echo "Hello World" >> /tmp/dummy.txt
[root@centos-8 ~]# echo "Test Message 1" >> /tmp/dummy.txt
[root@centos-8 ~]# echo "Test Message 2" >> /tmp/dummy.txt

So in the above highlighted section you can see that for every input in /tmp/dummy.txt logstash generates an organised output based on our configuration file.


Visualise data on Kibana

Now to visualise the data on Kibana we must first create an index. To create an index login to Kibana Dashboard. Click on "Management" from the Left panel and click on Index Patterns. Follow the instructions from the below image:

#5-ELK Stack: Configure logstash 7.x with data pipeline


Click on "Create index pattern" to proceed to next step. provide the index pattern as "logstash-*" as shown in the image and click on "Next step"

#5-ELK Stack: Configure logstash 7.x with data pipeline


Next select the @timestamp field from the drop down menu and click on "Create index pattern"

#5-ELK Stack: Configure logstash 7.x with data pipeline


Below you can now see your index pattern is created

#5-ELK Stack: Configure logstash 7.x with data pipeline

Next click on "Discover" from the left panel menu to visualise the logs we sent using our data pipeline to elasticsearch

#5-ELK Stack: Configure logstash 7.x with data pipeline


So all our logs from /tmp/dummy,txt is visible on Kibana dashboard. You can add more fields from the left panel section which you can see under "Available fields"

#5-ELK Stack: Configure logstash 7.x with data pipeline


So this was a basic configuration to visualise logs from elasticsearch cluster on Kibana dashboard using logstash.


Lastly I hope the steps from the article to configure logstash on RHEL/CentOS 7/8 Linux was helpful. So, let me know your suggestions and feedback using the comment section.

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Deepak Prasad

He is the founder of GoLinuxCloud and brings over a decade of expertise in Linux, Python, Go, Laravel, DevOps, Kubernetes, Git, Shell scripting, OpenShift, AWS, Networking, and Security. With extensive experience, he excels in various domains, from development to DevOps, Networking, and Security, ensuring robust and efficient solutions for diverse projects. You can reach out to him on his LinkedIn profile or join on Facebook page.

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4 thoughts on “#5-ELK Stack: Configure logstash 7.x with data pipeline”

  1. Im using elk 7.8 and i follow your configuration but unfortunately, after i configure logstash, it doesn’t show on kibana stack monitoring. Is this the same configuration of elk 7.8 or there an adjustment to be made?

  2. I am using the generated keys that i have used for kibana that works in logstash, but i am getting the following error on startin logstash:
    File does not contain valid private key: /etc/logstash/certs/grij-elk-p05.key

    input {
    beats {
    port => 5044
    tags => [ “winlogbeat” ]
    ssl => true
    ssl_key => ‘/etc/logstash/certs/grij-elk-p05.key’
    ssl_certificate => ‘/etc/logstash/certs/grij-elk-p05.crt’
    file {
    path => “/var/log/messages”

    checked key file:

    openssl rsa -in grij-elk-p05.key -check -noout
    RSA key ok

    Folder rights:
    -rw-r–r–. 1 root root 1220 May 23 20:02 grij-elk-p05.crt
    -rw-r–r–. 1 root root 1679 May 23 20:02 grij-elk-p05.key

    Can you help me any further, didnt had any problems with ssl on the other part of the guides.

    Kind regards.

    • This is strange, did you tried checking the permissions in parent folder.
      Had you created all the certificates and key at the same time for entire setup or you are creating individual certificates and keys?


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