8.1.2. Junctions and channels

Junctions make it possible to send the messages to different channels, process the messages differently on each channel, and then join every channel together again. You can define any number of channels in a junction: every channel receives a copy of every message that reaches the junction. Every channel can process the messages differently, and at the end of the junction, the processed messages of every channel return to the junction again, where further processing is possible.

A junction includes one or more channels. A channel usually includes at least one filter, though that is not enforced. Otherwise, channels are identical to log statements, and can include any kind of objects, for example, parsers, rewrite rules, destinations, and so on. (For details on using channels, as well as on using channels outside junctions, see Section 5.3, Using channels in configuration objects.)

Note

Certain parsers can also act as filters:

  • The JSON parser automatically discards messages that are not valid JSON messages.

  • The csv-parser() discards invalid messages if the flags(drop-invalid) option is set.

You can also use log-path flags in the channels of the junction. Within the junction, a message is processed by every channel, in the order the channels appear in the configuration file. Typically if your channels have filters, you also set the flags(final) option for the channel. However, note that the log-path flags of the channel apply only within the junction, for example, if you set the final flag for a channel, then the subsequent channels of the junction will not receive the message, but this does not affect any other log path or junction of the configuration. The only exception is the flow-control flag: if you enable flow-control in a junction, it affects the entire log path. For details on log-path flags, see Section 8.1.3, Log path flags.

junction {
    channel { <other-syslog-ng-objects> <log-path-flags>};
    channel { <other-syslog-ng-objects> <log-path-flags>};
    ...
};
Example 8.3. Using junctions

For example, suppose that you have a single network source that receives log messages from different devices, and some devices send messages that are not RFC-compliant (some routers are notorious for that). To solve this problem in earlier versions of syslog-ng OSE, you had to create two different network sources using different IP addresses or ports: one that received the RFC-compliant messages, and one that received the improperly formatted messages (for example, using the flags(no-parse) option). Using junctions this becomes much more simple: you can use a single network source to receive every message, then use a junction and two channels. The first channel processes the RFC-compliant messages, the second everything else. At the end, every message is stored in a single file. The filters used in the example can be host() filters (if you have a list of the IP addresses of the devices sending non-compliant messages), but that depends on your environment.

log {
    source { syslog(ip(10.1.2.3) transport("tcp") flags(no-parse)); };
    junction {
        channel { filter(f_compliant_hosts); parser { syslog-parser(); }; };
        channel { filter(f_noncompliant_hosts); };
    };
    destination { file("/var/log/messages"); };
};

Since every channel receives every message that reaches the junction, use the flags(final) option in the channels to avoid the unnecessary processing the messages multiple times:

log {
    source { syslog(ip(10.1.2.3) transport("tcp") flags(no-parse)); };
    junction {
        channel { filter(f_compliant_hosts); parser { syslog-parser(); }; flags(final); };
        channel { filter(f_noncompliant_hosts); flags(final); };
    };
    destination { file("/var/log/messages"); };
};

Note that syslog-ng OSE has several parsers that you can use to parse non-compliant messages. You can even write a custom syslog-ng parser in Python. For details, see Chapter 12, Parsers and segmenting structured messages.

Note

Junctions differ from embedded log statements, because embedded log statements are like branches: they split the flow of messages into separate paths, and the different paths do not meet again. Messages processed on different embedded log statements cannot be combined together for further processing. However, junctions split the messages to channels, then combine the channels together.