Shiny new User Guide

The main source of information for users looking to configure NXLog was the NXLog [EE/CE] Reference Manual until recently. The Reference Manual is mostly what it is called: a reference manual. While it does cover what the software is capable of, unfortunately it is hard to use when you are tasked with setting up NXLog for a particular use case.

Doing a google search for specific topics like "parsing IIS logs with NXLog" does provide hits but what you’ll find on the web might be not the optimal solution in many cases and doing a cut&paste of someone’s config you found may not give the results you were looking for.

It was clear that a cookbook style material was needed which would serve as an official document for users trying to set up NXLog. Our team has put a lot of effort into this and we’ve worked several months to make this happen:

Please welcome the shiny new NXLog User Guide.

The new User Guide consists of several chapters:

  1. Introduction. In this chapter we’ve tried to make it more clear how the NXLog EE/CE works and handles structured data.

  2. Deployment. Some users may not be equally experienced on all platforms and when tasked to deploy the software across different servers exact step-by-step installation instructions can be valuable to save you time and frustration.

  3. Configuration. While all of this is documented in the Reference Manual, reading through this chapter will give you a proper understanding of how the configuration is structured. Further sections in this chapter deal with specific requirements you may face such as parsing, filtering, log rotation, extracting data and rewriting messages.

  4. OS Support. This chapter gives a high level overview of what type of logs can be collected on the supported operating systems with various modules that the NXLog Enterprise Edition provides.

  5. Integration. Most people want ready-to-use solutions. You will still have additional requirements that you will need to be implement yourself but we want to save you time. This chapter provides tested configuration snippets for various third-party software products such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft IIS, Splunk, Windows Powershell and many others so that you don’t have to spend hours figuring out this yourself. Many other log management solutions provide paid add-ons or extras to collect logs from some exotic log sources listed in this chapter. Looking at the included sections you will be hopefully delighted to see what NXLog is capable of out-of-the-box.

  6. Troubleshooting. To help you figure out what’s going on.

  7. EE Reference Manual. Lists every knob available. Content in the User Guide references relevant modules or configuration parameters in this Chapter so that you can better understand and fine-tune the configuration.

  8. NXLog Manager. This depends on everything else in the User Guide so it looked like a good idea to have this included.

Some notes about the User Guide:

  • Included configuration snippets are automatically tested and verified to make sure everything is syntactically correct when used with the version of the NXLog Enterprise Edition that the User Guide was written for.

  • The User Guide was written specifically for NXLog Enterprise Edition v3.99.x which is the beta of the upcoming major version (v4.0). Some features discussed in the User Guide may not be available in earlier versions, especially version 3.x. Regardless, a significant portion of the User Guide applies to all versions and we hope it will be useful for users of the NXLog Community Edition as well.

This new NXLog User Guide is available as an online HTML version as well as in PDF. The latter is a whopping 680 pages at this point and we expect it to grow larger as additional topics are added.

As you can see we have been pretty busy in the past several months making the NXLog Enterprise Edition the most flexible log collector available today and will continue to do so by shipping the v4.0 release with an amazing feature set. Here is a list of the highlights already available in the beta:

  • Enhanced platform support with native binaries for Oracle Solaris (Sparc/x86), Apple macOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Microsoft Windows x86_64, Windows Nano Server, IBM AIX and the most common GNU/Linux flavors.

  • Efficient log parser for the Windows DNS Server debug log.

  • Native Event Tracing for Windows (ETW).

  • Audit log collection on IBM AIX, BSM audit log collection on BSD, Apple macOS, Oracle Solaris and native audit log collection on GNU/Linux.

  • Language integration support for Go, Python and Ruby in addition to the Perl language support already available in v3.x.

  • Native support for the Apache Kafka message broker on both GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows.

The full list of new features will be available in the upcoming release announcement. Stay tuned!

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