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Journalbeat is a lightweight, open source shipping agent that lets you ship log data from systemd journals stored on Linux operating systems to one or more destinations, including Logstash.
Please note that this beat is currently in an experimental phase and may be changed or removed in the future. This guide uses version 7.9.3 of Journalbeat and has been tested using Ubuntu.
Journalbeat is intended for Linux operating systems. Therefore, no versions of journalbeat exists for Windows or MacOS.
The following curl commands will get version 7.9.3 of journalbeat but you can get the latest version using more specialised package managers specific to the OS being used, or by downloading the package manually.
curl -L -O https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/beats/journalbeat/journalbeat-7.9.3-amd64.deb sudo dpkg -i journalbeat-7.9.3-amd64.deb
curl -L -O https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/beats/journalbeat/journalbeat-7.9.3-x86_64.rpm sudo rpm -vi journalbeat-7.9.3-x86_64.rpm
Locate and open the journalbeat configuration file:
The following example will send all local journal log data to Logstash. By specifying an empty array as the paths value, the default
path value will be used to point to the directory containing all locally persisted journals. This is a sensible default but you can specify
other paths to files or directories for journalbeat to crawl if required.
journalbeat.inputs: # Paths that should be crawled and fetched (can be files or directories). # When setting a directory, all journals under it are merged. # When empty starts to read from local journal. paths: 
We'll be shipping to Logstash so that we have the option to run filters before the data is indexed.
Comment out the elasticsearch output block.
## Comment out elasticsearch output #output.elasticsearch: # hosts: ["localhost:9200"]
Let's check the configuration file is syntactically correct by running journalbeat directly inside the terminal.
If the file is invalid, journalbeat will print an
error loading config file error message with details on how to correct the problem.
sudo journalbeat -e -c /etc/journalbeat/journalbeat.yml
Ok, time to start ingesting data!
sudo systemctl enable journalbeat sudo systemctl start journalbeat
Journalbeat is a recent addition to Elastic’s Beats family that collects log entries from Systemd Journals. Journalbeat is based on the libbeat framework. Journalbeat is forecast to be repurposed from being a Beat and will instead become a module for Filebeat in the near future.
Journalbeat monitors the journal locations that are specified and also collects logs for forwarding with Logstash and further processing in Elasticsearch. It is rated as being easier to use than more commonly known Beats (such as Filebeat), but is noted as an experimental Beat by Elastic so is subject to change.
Journalbeat can be used to ship logs from Kubernetes but some users may not see their data being reflected in Elasticsearch and may prefer to use Filebeat or Fluentd for a seamless and wider community supported logging experience.
If you require any more assistance in using Journalbeat or any other Elastic Beats for shipping your log events we're here to help. Feel free to reach out by contacting our support team by visiting our dedicated Help Centre or via live chat & we’ll be happy to assist.