Sending GE CIMPLICITY logs to Logstash


Collecting logs from General Electric CIMPLICITY and sending them to Logstash could be complex due to this unique combination of log sources and destination SIEM. In this post, we will look at how you can forward log data from GE CIMPLICITY to McAfee Logstash using NXLog.

General Electric CIMPLICITY

General Electric CIMPLICITY is a human-machine interface (HMI) and SCADA system solution based on a client-server architecture of servers and viewers. This architecture allows viewers to visualize data and control actions within plants located across the globe. The server’s primary function is to collect and distribute data. A viewer has full access to the data a server has collected once it has connected to that server. The ability to seamlessly network servers and viewers for the purpose of sharing data, configurations, and screens eliminates duplicate work and data. This efficient management of resources facilitates faster access to critical data needed for decision-making. Cimplicity is used in some of the largest manufacturing factories around the world.

Collecting GE CIMPLICITY logs

CIMPLICITY produces a wide variety of logs about its operations. Some of the logs are available through Windows Event Log and network monitoring, but most of the logs are in the format of flat files.

Due to the critical nature and scope of the systems CIMPLICITY controls, there is no room for errors. Its stable, uninterrupted operation is crucial to plant safety. Although CIMPLICITY logs contain valuable information about the systems it controls, the relatively high level of log noise and the lack of a consistent log format present some challenges.

NXLog Enterprise Edition is a lightweight, modular log collection tool, capable of tackling the most demanding cases log collection may pose. Owing to its rich set of features, it can read almost any log format and parse fields to produce structured data for further processing. For these reasons, it is the perfect tool for monitoring and collecting CIMPLICITY logs.

Logging and Archiving

CIMPLICITY provides a database logger which is capable of collecting, analyzing, and creating reports from a variety of ODBC (open database connectivity) complaint databases. You can create, configure, edit tables, and also specify when and what ODBC data source you would like to gather log events from, for any selected process.

Collecting GE CIMPLICITY logs from Windows Event Log

Windows Event Log is the primary logging facility on the Windows platform. The logs CIMPLICITY services generate contain project log files, system log files, and web configuration services logs. Logs can be read and collected using an event id related to CIMPLICITY or by a given source name.

Collecting GE CIMPLICITY logs from file

CIMPLICITY’s file-based logs include project status and system status logs, counters log files, protocol stack trace logs, as well as optional OPC client debug tracing. With CIMPLICITY Log Viewer’s powerful capabilities, you can view project status and system status log files in other formats including CSV, ASCII, or TXT.

GE CIMPLICITY passive network monitoring

NXLog can passively monitor network traffic and generate logs for most network protocols. This ability to log network communication between servers and viewers can provide another valuable log source.

Data normalization and log aggregation are other features that NXLog can provide CIMPLICITY. With NXLog’s ability to collect logs from literally any file, in any format, it is ideally suited for integrating with CIMPLICITY’s wide variety of log types and file formats.

For more information on integrating NXLog with Cimplicity, see the General Electric CIMPLICITY integration guide.

The log sources mentioned above and NXLog’s features play an important role in normalizing logs accepted by Logstash.

Sending logs to Logstash

Logstash is a data collection and processing tool. It is often used as part of the ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) to collect logs from various sources, normalize them, and forward them to Elasticsearch. NXLog and Logstash can be configured to exchange log data between each other in various formats, including JSON and syslog, and over different transport protocols such as TCP, UDP, and HTTP(S).

NXLog as a data shipper for Logstash

Due to Logstash being resource-intensive and requiring Java to run, it is often used as an ingester, with different data shippers forwarding logs to it. NXLog, with its small resource footprint, can act as a data shipper for Logstash with the benefit of being an all-in-one solution. An NXLog installation can collect and process logs from different sources on the same host, all configured within a single configuration file.

Sending logs to Logstash

Logstash supports data ingestion from various sources through its many input plugins and can process data in various formats by using filters and codec plugins. NXLog also offers a vast selection of output modules and extensions that can forward logs in the data formats and ingestion methods supported by Logstash.

For more information on configuring NXLog and sending logs to Logstash, see the Logstash integration guide in the NXLog User Guide.

NXLog Ltd. develops multi-platform log collection tools that support many different log sources, formats, transports, and integrations. The tools help administrators collect, parse, and forward logs so they can more easily respond to security issues, investigate operational problems, and analyze event data. NXLog distributes the free and open source NXLog Community Edition and offers additional features and support with the NXLog Enterprise Edition.

This document is provided for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.