Sending GE CIMPLICITY logs to Splunk

Collecting logs from General Electric CIMPLICITY and sending them to Splunk could be a complex task due to this rather unique combination log sources and destination. In this post, we will take a look at how you can forward log data from GE CIMPLICITY to Splunk 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 above mentioned log sources, and the features NXLog provides all play an important role when normalizing logs in order to be accepted by Splunk.

Sending logs to Splunk

Splunk is a platform for data collection, searching, indexing, and data visualization. It accepts logs forwarded via TLS, TCP, UDP or HTTP and can ingest both structured or unstructured data from a multitude of sources.

Generic structured logs

To send logs via HTTP, Splunk’s HTTP event collector handles HTTP requests with either raw data payloads or formatted as JSON objects. To send logs via TCP or UDP you will need to set up the appropriate data input and specify the transmission protocol. To do this, use the Splunk dashboard to set up a new data input following their configuration guidelines. Alternatively, to send logs via TLS, you will need to edit your configuration files to generate the required security certificates.

Specific structured logs

Windows Event Log data can be forwarded to Splunk in XML format by installing the Splunk Add-on for Windows version 6.0.0. To reliably forward SICAM PAS/PQS logs to Splunk, all you need to do is specify Splunk’s network socket address along with the path and file names of the log files in your NXLog configuration file.

For more information on how to configure NXLog and send logs to Splunk, please visit the Splunk section in the NXLog User Guide.

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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.