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Collecting Logs with Fluentbit

This document describes how to set up Fluent Bit, a log processor and forwarder, to collect your kubernetes logs in a central directory. This is not required for running Knative, but can be helpful with Knative Serving, which will automatically delete pods (and their associated logs) when they are no longer needed. Note that Fluent Bit supports exporting to a number of other log providers; if you already have an existing log provider (for example, Splunk, Datadog, ElasticSearch, or Stackdriver), then you may only need the second part of setting up and configuring log forwarders.

Setting up log collection consists of two pieces: running a log forwarding DaemonSet on each node, and running a collector somewhere in the cluster (in our example, we use a StatefulSet which stores logs on a Kubernetes PersistentVolumeClaim, but you could also use a HostPath).

Setting up the collector

It’s useful to set up the collector before the forwarders, because you’ll need the address of the collector when configuring the forwarders, and the forwarders may queue logs until the collector is ready.

System diagram: forwarders and co-located collector and nginx

The fluent-bit-collector.yaml defines a StatefulSet as well as a Kubernetes Service which allows accessing and reading the logs from within the cluster. The supplied configuration will create the monitoring configuration in a namespace called logging. You can apply the configuration with:

kubectl apply --filename

The default configuration will classify logs into Knative, apps (pods with an app= label which aren’t Knative), and the default to logging with the pod name; this can be changed by updating the log-collector-config ConfigMap before or after installation. Once the ConfigMap is updated, you’ll need to restart Fluent Bit (for example, by deleting the pod and letting the StatefulSet recreate it).

To access the logs through your web browser:

kubectl port-forward --namespace logging service/log-collector 8080:80

And then visit http://localhost:8080/.

You can also open a shell in the nginx pod and search the logs using unix tools:

kubectl exec --namespace logging --stdin --tty --container nginx log-collector-0

Setting up the forwarders

For the most part, you can follow the Fluent Bit directions for installing on Kubernetes. Those directions will set up a Fluent Bit DaemonSet which forwards logs to ElasticSearch by default; when the directions call for creating the ConfigMap, you’ll want to either replace the elasticsearch configuration with this fluent-bit-configmap.yaml or add the following block to the ConfigMap and update the @INCLUDE output-elasticsearch.conf to be @INCLUDE output-forward.conf.

output-forward.conf: |
      Name            forward
      Host            log-collector.logging
      Port            24224
      Require_ack_response  True  

If you are using a different log collection infrastructure (Splunk, for example), follow the directions in the FluentBit documentation on how to configure your forwarders.