Heartbeat and systemdedit

The DEB and RPM packages include a service unit for Linux systems with systemd. On these systems, you can manage Heartbeat by using the usual systemd commands.

Start and stop Heartbeatedit

Use systemctl to start or stop Heartbeat:

systemctl start heartbeat
systemctl stop heartbeat

By default, the Heartbeat service starts automatically when the system boots. To enable or disable auto start use:

systemctl enable heartbeat
systemctl disable heartbeat

Heartbeat status and logsedit

To get the service status, use systemctl:

systemctl status heartbeat

Logs are stored by default in journald. To view the Logs, use journalctl:

journalctl -u heartbeat.service

The unit file included in the packages sets the -e flag by default. This flag makes Heartbeat log to stderr and disables other log outputs. Systemd stores all output sent to stderr in journald.

Customize systemd unit for Heartbeatedit

The systemd service unit file includes environment variables that you can override to change the default options.

Variable Description Default value


Log options



Flags for configuration file path

-c /etc/heartbeat/heartbeat.yml


Other paths

-path.home /usr/share/heartbeat -path.config /etc/heartbeat -path.data /var/lib/heartbeat -path.logs /var/log/heartbeat

To override these variables, create a drop-in unit file in the /etc/systemd/system/heartbeat.service.d directory.

For example a file with the following content placed in /etc/systemd/system/heartbeat.service.d/debug.conf would override BEAT_LOG_OPTS to enable debug for Elasticsearch output.

Environment="BEAT_LOG_OPTS=-e -d elasticsearch"

To change the logging output from the Heartbeat configuration file, empty the environment variable. For example:


To apply your changes, reload the systemd configuration and restart the service:

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl restart heartbeat

It is recommended that you use a configuration management tool to include drop-in unit files. If you need to add a drop-in manually, use systemctl edit heartbeat.service.