Guidelines and Best Practicesedit

The ECS schema serves best when you follow schema guidelines and best practices.

ECS Field Levelsedit

ECS defines "Core" and "Extended" fields.

  • Core fields. Fields that are most common across all use cases are defined as core fields.

    These generalized fields are used by analysis content (searches, visualizations, dashboards, alerts, machine learning jobs, reports) across use cases. Analysis content designed to operate on these fields should work properly on data from any relevant source.

    Focus on populating these fields first.

  • Extended fields. Any field that is not a core field is defined as an extended field. Extended fields may apply to more narrow use cases, or may be more open to interpretation depending on the use case. Extended fields are more likely to change over time.

Each ECS field in a table is identified as core or extended.

General guidelinesedit

  • The document MUST have the @timestamp field.
  • Use the data types defined for an ECS field.
  • Use the ecs.version field to define which version of ECS is used.
  • Map as many fields as possible to ECS.
Guidelines for field namesedit
  • Field names must be lower case
  • Combine words using underscore
  • No special characters except underscore
  • Use present tense unless field describes historical information.
  • Use singular and plural names properly to reflect the field content.

    • For example, use requests_per_sec rather than request_per_sec.
  • Use prefixes for all fields, except for the base fields.

    • For example, all host fields are prefixed with host.. Such a grouping is called a field set.
  • Nest fields inside a field set with dots

    • The document structure should be nested JSON objects. If you use Beats or Logstash, the nesting of JSON objects is done for you automatically. If you’re ingesting to Elasticsearch using the API, your fields must be nested objects, not strings containing dots.
    • See Why does ECS use a dot notation instead of an underline notation? for more details.
  • General to specific. Organise the nesting of field sets from general to specific, to allow grouping fields into objects with a prefix like host.*.
  • Avoid repetition or stuttering of words

    • If part of the field name is already in the name of the field set, avoid repeating it. Example: host.host_ip should be host.ip.
    • Exceptions can be made, when changing the name of the field would break a strong convention in the community. Example: host.hostname is an exception to this rule.
  • Avoid abbreviations when possible

    • Exceptions can be made, when the name used for the concept is too strongly in favor of the abbreviation. Example: ip fields, or field sets such as os, geo.