Sending Yokogawa FAST/TOOLS logs to Splunk

Collecting logs from Yokogawa FAST/TOOLS and sending them to Splunk could be a complex task due to this rather unique combination of log sources and SIEM solution. In this post we will take a look at how you can forward log data from Yokogawa FAST/TOOLS to Splunk using NXLog.

Yokogawa FAST/TOOLS

FAST/TOOLS is Yokogawa’s SCADA software platform. Its client-server architecture is comprised of three main functional components: a SCADA server, a Web HMI client, and a Web HMI server. The SCADA server is responsible for collecting, processing, and managing the logs it receives from the Web HMI clients. The Web HMI server displays events and other operational data it receives from Web HMI clients while also serving as the human-machine interface for displaying the logs that the SCADA server has processed.

FAST/TOOLS is comprised of several function-specific modules that include OPC server and client functionality as well as a history scheduler. The FAST/TOOLS software platform integrates readily with cloud computing and virtualization infrastructures. It is widely deployed in the oil and gas industry, as well as in large manufacturing plants worldwide.

Collecting Yokogawa FAST/TOOLS logs

FAST/TOOLS produces a wide variety of logs about its operations. These logs are available in the form of flat files and stored in the C:\Users\Public\Yokogawa\tls\log\ system directory.

Because of the type of operations that Yokogawa FAST/TOOLS monitors and controls, there is no room for error or trade-offs. In fact, its steady, uninterrupted operation is essential to maintaining plant safety. However, due to excessive log noise, valuable information can sometimes remain hidden in the logs it collects. Another challenge is the lack of consistent log formats. The ability to parse data from a wide variety of log formats is an absolute necessity.

NXLog Enterprise Edition is a lightweight, modular log collection tool, capable of taking on the most challenging 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 FAST/TOOLS logs.

RDBMS data collection

FAST/TOOLS provides an ODBC (open database connectivity) interface that collects data from the FAST/TOOLS data set services layer and sends it directly to an external ODBC compliant database. With FAST/TOOLS you are able to view table components and perform faster queries, obtaining much quicker insight into your plant operations. FAST/TOOLS also includes an embedded relational database management system (RDBMS) that allows you to execute more complex queries, and cross-reference FAST/TOOLS data with your own RDBMS environment.

Collecting FAST/TOOLS logs from file

FAST/TOOLS’s file-based logs include start logs, diagnostics logs, system monitor logs, and systems error logs. The processes that detect system errors send messages to the FAST/TOOLS unsolicited message handler (UMH), which manages all the necessary information present in these logs. This information includes the name of the process that detected the error, a timestamp, and an error code. You can view these application error logs in the messages.umh file of the FAST/TOOLS data directory. NXLog is capable of parsing these complex logs by making use of regular expressions.

FAST/TOOLS passive network monitoring

FAST/TOOLS supports open platform communications (OPC) functionality and includes an embedded OPC Unified Architecture (UA) environment. It also supports classic OPC for distributed communication (DCOM) links across your network. NXLog can passively monitor your network traffic and generate logs for most network protocols.

NXLog’s data normalization and log aggregation capabilities can extend the functionality of Yokogawa FAST/TOOLS. Because NXLog can collect logs from literally any file, in any format, it is ideally suited for integrating with FAST/TOOLS’s wide variety of log types and file formats.

For more information on how to integrate NXLog with this SCADA software environment, visit our detailed documentation on Yokogawa FAST/TOOLS.

The above mentioned log sources, and the features NXLog provides, all play an important role when normalizing logs to meet Splunk’s requirements.

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 FAST/TOOLS 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.