Last week I wrote about getting Kubernetes cluster metrics with Prometheus. Metrics are only one part of the story. Logs are important as well and luckily we have a great set of tools that will help us to create simple and easy logging solution. In this post, I will show you how to start monitoring Kubernetes logs in 5 minutes with EFK stack (Elasticsearch, Fluent Bit, and Kibana) deployed with Helm and Elasticsearch operator.
Fluentd vs Fluent Bit
EFK stack usually refers to Elasticsearch, Fluentd and Kibana. But, I decided to go with Fluent Bit, which is much lighter and it has built-in Kubernetes support. Fluent Bit can read Kubernetes or Docker log files from the file system or through Systemd journal, enrich logs with Kubernetes metadata, deliver logs to third-party storage services like Elasticsearch, InfluxDB, HTTP, etc.
Fluent Bit is a Lightweight Data Forwarder for Fluentd. Fluent Bit is specifically designed for forwarding the data from the edge to Fluentd aggregators.
Using Fluent Bit doesn’t mean that you cannot put Fluentd in the mix also. For the sake of simplicity, I excluded it from this post. Here are some major differences between Fluentd and Fluent Bit from official FAQ page:
|Scope||Servers||Containers / Servers / Embedded Systems|
|Language||C & Ruby||C|
|Dependencies||Built as a Ruby Gem, it requires a certain number of gems and Ruby interpreter||Zero dependencies|
|Plugins||More than 650 plugins available||Around 30 plugins available|
|License||Apache License v2.0||Apache License v2.0|
For logs storage, you will need Elasticsearch cluster. The best way to deploy stateful applications on Kubernetes is using operators. I mentioned them in almost every post related to stateful applications. Operators are the hot topic and you should start using them. Thanks to CoreOS team we have some great operators like Prometheus, Etcd and Vault.
— CoreOS, Inc. (@coreos) April 19, 2018
My preferred way to deploy applications on Kubernetes is using Helm.
So, let’s add the new Helm repository and install the Elasticsearch operator:
⚡ helm repo add akomljen-charts https://raw.githubusercontent.com/komljen/helm-charts/master/charts/ ⚡ helm install --name es-operator --namespace logging akomljen-charts/elasticsearch-operator ⚡ kubectl get pods -n logging NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE es-operator-elasticsearch-operator-568667668b-b6z2v 1/1 Running 0 33s
When you install the Elasticsearch operator you will have the new Custom Resource Definition or CRD in your cluster. You can check that with this command:
⚡ kubectl get CustomResourceDefinition NAME AGE elasticsearchclusters.enterprises.upmc.com 2m
Glue Everything Together
So, how to glue all components together? I created an umbrella Helm chart which combines multiple charts into one installation unit. This means that we have only one property file and one Helm package to install and run the whole EFK stack. You can check for default values file and adjust values for your environment. Let’s install EFK chart:
⚡ helm install --name efk --namespace logging akomljen-charts/efk ⚡ kubectl get pods -n logging NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE efk-kibana-6cf88598b6-xlkv2 1/1 Running 0 5m es-client-efk-cluster-545d4ddb9-mp8d6 1/1 Running 0 5m es-data-efk-cluster-default-0 1/1 Running 0 5m es-master-efk-cluster-default-0 1/1 Running 0 5m es-operator-elasticsearch-operator-568667668b-b6z2v 1/1 Running 0 6m fluent-bit-pglgq 1/1 Running 0 5m
After a few minutes, all services should be up and running. To search for the logs I will use
kubectl port-forward command on Kibana pod to access it. Exposing Kibana with Ingress is a potential security risk because Kibana doesn’t have any authentication method by default. Use Ingress only on test cluster or deploy oauth2-proxy for other authentication providers like GitHub or Google.
⚡ kubectl port-forward efk-kibana-6cf88598b6-xlkv2 5601 -n logging
Open your web browser at
http://localhost:5601 and you should see Kibana dashboard:
Then, go to Discover menu item, configure the index to
kubernetes_cluster*, choose a
@timestamp and Kibana is ready. You should see all logs from all namespaces in your Kubernetes cluster. Rich Kubernetes metadata will be there also, for example:
There you go, all Kubernetes logs in one place!
It is really nice to see that metrics and logs monitoring is easy with Kubernetes. Of course, each solution will need some tweaks, but getting started was never so easy. Stay tuned for the next one.
The Helm chart used in this post for installing EFK stack is updated with new ES and Kibana versions
6.4.2. Also, Fluent Bit is updated to version