Friday, May 13, 2016

How to make @timestamp using GMT when using Fluentd, Elasticsearch and Kibana?

My log is a JSON one-liner output by a Node.js application, there is a field called “time” which is GMT time.
{ "req": {}, "time":"2016-05-12T19:18:38.123Z" }
I want to keep the timestamp in GMT in Kibana. But it is not a straight forward thing as I thought. It took me couple of hours to make the timestamp work correctly using Fluentd, Elasticsearch and Kibana.
I use in_tail and fluent-plugin-elasticsearch to parse the log and load into Elasticsearch, and I search the logs using Kibana.
Here is my fluentd config file.
  @type tail
  format json

  read_from_head true
  path <path>/debug.log
  pos_file /var/run/td-agent/pos/debug.log.pos

  keep_time_key true
  time_key time
  time_format "%FT%T.%L%z"

  refresh_interval 10s

  tag debug
<match debug>
  @type elasticsearch
  hosts                my-es-server-1,my-es-server-2

  logstash_format      true
  logstash_prefix        debug
  utc_index  true

  time_key  time
  time_key_format      %FT%T.%L%z
  • keep_time_key, time_key and time_format are necessary in in_tail. Because the default value of time_key is time, and keep_time_key is true, fluentd will always parse the timestamp from your json message.
    • If you don’t put keep_time_key, field time will be removed, and the timestamp will be in the timezone of the host where td-agent is running.
    • If you don’t give time_format, the default time parser cannot parse this format because the time has milliseconds, your @timestamp will be wrong.
  • in elasticsearch
    • you need to put time_key. Fluentd will copy time to @timestamp, so @timestamp will have the exact same UTC string as time.
    • time_key_format will be used to parse the time and use it to generate logstash index name when logstash_format=true and utc_index=true. So the index name like debug-2016.05.12 will match the times in your log.
  • In Kibana, you might see the timestamp is actually shown in your local timezone like ‘PDT’. You need to go to “Settings -> Advanced -> dateFormat:tz”, change the default value “Browser” to “GMT”. So that the timestamps will be all GMT times.

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