Centralized application logging with the Elastic stack made easy.

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What is ECS?edit

Elastic Common Schema (ECS) defines a common set of fields for ingesting data into Elasticsearch. For more information about ECS, visit the ECS Reference Documentation.

What is ECS logging?edit

ECS loggers are plugins for your favorite logging library. They make it easy to format your logs into ECS-compatible JSON. For example:

{"@timestamp":"2019-08-06T12:09:12.375Z", "log.level": "INFO", "message":"Tomcat started on port(s): 8080 (http) with context path ''", "":"spring-petclinic","":"restartedMain","log.logger":"org.springframework.boot.web.embedded.tomcat.TomcatWebServer"}
{"@timestamp":"2019-08-06T12:09:12.379Z", "log.level": "INFO", "message":"Started PetClinicApplication in 7.095 seconds (JVM running for 9.082)", "":"spring-petclinic","":"restartedMain","log.logger":"org.springframework.samples.petclinic.PetClinicApplication"}
{"@timestamp":"2019-08-06T14:08:40.199Z", "log.level":"DEBUG", "message":"init find form", "":"spring-petclinic","":"http-nio-8080-exec-8","log.logger":"org.springframework.samples.petclinic.owner.OwnerController","":"28b7fb8d5aba51f1","":"2869b25b5469590610fea49ac04af7da"}

Get startededit

Refer to the installation instructions of the individual loggers:

Why ECS logging?edit

Simplicity: no manual parsing

Logs arrive pre-formatted, pre-enriched and ready to add value, making problems quicker and easier to identify. No more tedious grok parsing that has to be customized for every application.

Decently human-readable JSON structure

The first three fields are @timestamp, log.level and message. This lets you easily read the logs in a terminal without needing a tool that converts the logs to plain-text.

Enjoy the benefits of a common schema

Use the Kibana Logs app without additional configuration.

Using a common schema across different services and teams makes it possible create reusable dashboards and avoids mapping explosions.

APM Log correlation

If you are using an Elastic APM agent, you can leverage the log correlation feature without any additional configuration. This lets you jump from the Span timeline in the APM UI to the Logs app, showing only the logs which belong to the corresponding request. Vice versa, you can also jump from a log line in the Logs UI to the Span Timeline of the APM UI.

Additional advantages when using in combination with Filebeatedit

We recommend shipping the logs with Filebeat. Depending on the way the application is deployed, you may log to a log file or to stdout (for example in Kubernetes).

Here are a few benefits to this over directly sending logs from the application to Elasticsearch:

Resilient in case of outages

Guaranteed at-least-once delivery without buffering within the application, thus no risk of out of memory errors or lost events. There’s also the option to use either the JSON logs or plain-text logs as a fallback.

Loose coupling

The application does not need to know the details of the logging backend (URI, credentials, etc.). You can also leverage alternative Filebeat outputs, like Logstash, Kafka or Redis.

Index Lifecycle management

Leverage Filebeat’s default index lifecycle management settings. This is much more efficient than using daily indices.

Efficient Elasticsearch mappings

Leverage Filebeat’s default ECS-compatible index template.

Field mappingedit

Default fieldsedit

These fields are populated by the ECS loggers by default. Some of them, such as the log.origin.* fields, may have to be explicitly enabled. Others, such as, are not applicable to all languages. Refer to the documentation of the individual loggers for more information.

ECS field Description Example


The timestamp of the log event.



The level or severity of the log event.



The name of the logger inside an application.


The name of the file containing the source code which originated the log event.



The line number of the file containing the source code which originated the log event.



The name of the function or method which originated the log event.



The log message.

"Hello World!"


Only present for logs that contain an exception or error. The type or class of the error if this log event contains an exception.



Only present for logs that contain an exception or error. The message of the exception or error.

"The argument cannot be null"


Only present for logs that contain an exception or error. The full stack trace of the exception or error as a raw string.

"Exception in thread "main" java.lang.NullPointerException\n\tat org.example.App.methodName("

The name of the thread the event has been logged from.


Configurable fieldsedit

Refer to the documentation of the individual loggers on how to set these fields.

ECS field Description Example

Helps to filter the logs by service.



Helps to filter the logs by service version.



Helps to filter the logs by environment.


Allow for two nodes of the same service, on the same host to be differentiated.



Enables the log rate anomaly detection.


Custom fieldsedit

Most loggers allow you to add additional custom fields. This includes both, static and dynamic ones. Examples for dynamic fields are logging structured objects, or fields from a thread local context, such as MDC or ThreadContext.

When adding custom fields, we recommend using existing ECS fields for these custom values. If there is no appropriate ECS field, consider prefixing your fields with labels., as in, for simple key/value pairs. For nested structures, consider prefixing with custom.. This approach protects against conflicts in case ECS later adds the same fields but with a different mapping.