Quick start: Get logs and metrics into the Elastic Stackedit

This functionality is in beta and is subject to change. The design and code is less mature than official GA features and is being provided as-is with no warranties. Beta features are not subject to the support SLA of official GA features.

This guide describes how to:

  • Collect logs and metrics from systems and services across your organization
  • Send the data to the Elastic Stack
  • Explore and visualize the data in real-time

For feedback and questions, please contact us in the discuss forum.

Prerequisitesedit

Before you begin, please read Limitations of this release.

You need Elasticsearch for storing and searching your data, and Kibana for visualizing and managing it. You can use our hosted Elasticsearch Service on Elastic Cloud (recommended), or self-manage the Elastic Stack on your own hardware.

Here’s what you need for each deployment type:

Step 1: Set up Fleetedit

The best way to get logs, metrics, and security data into the Elastic Stack is by using Fleet in Kibana.

Not using Fleet? Advanced users who want to configure and manage Elastic Agents manually can run agents standalone.

The first time you use Fleet, you need to set it up:

  1. Log in to Kibana and go to Management > Fleet.

    Fleet in Kibana
  2. In Fleet, click Settings and change the defaults, if necessary. For self-managed installations, set the URLs for Elasticsearch and Kibana, including the http ports, then save your changes.

    Fleet settings
  3. Enable central management. Click the Agents tab and click Create user and enable central management.

    Fleet showing prompt to enable central management

Step 2: Add an Elastic Agent to Fleetedit

Elastic Agent is a single, unified agent that you can deploy to hosts or containers to collect data and send it to the Elastic Stack. Behind the scenes, Elastic Agent runs the Beats shippers or Elastic Endpoint required for your configuration.

To send logs and metrics to the Elastic Stack:

  1. On the Agents tab in Fleet, click Add agent, and look at the deployment instructions under Enroll in Fleet.
  2. As instructed, download and extract the Elastic Agent to your host:

    curl -L -O https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/beats/elastic-agent/elastic-agent-7.10.0-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz
    tar xzvf elastic-agent-7.10.0-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz

    See the download page for other installation options.

  3. Back in Fleet, under Choose an agent policy, notice that the default policy is selected. The default policy includes a system integration for collecting logs and metrics from the host system.
  4. Under Enroll and start the Elastic Agent, copy the install command if it’s available for your platform, or make a note of the Kibana URL and enrollment token that was generated by Fleet.

    Fleet showing agent enrollment page
  5. From the agent directory, run the appropriate command to install, enroll, and start an Elastic Agent. Note that this command will overwrite the elastic-agent.yml file in that directory.

    You must run this command as the root user because some integrations require root privileges to collect sensitive data.

    sudo ./elastic-agent install -f --kibana-url=<kibana_url> --enrollment-token=<enrollment_token>  

    kibana_url is the Kibana URL where Fleet is running, and enrollment_token is the enrollment token acquired from Fleet.

    Omit -f to run an interactive installation.

    Because Elastic Agent is installed as an auto-starting service, it will restart automatically if the system is rebooted.

  6. In Fleet, click Continue to go to the Agents tab, where you should see the newly enrolled agent.

    Fleet showing enrolled agents

If the status hangs at Enrolling, make sure the elastic-agent process is running.

If you run into problems, see Troubleshoot common problems.

Step 3: Monitor host logs and metricsedit

Next, view the data sent by Elastic Agent. Right now, Elastic Agent is only sending data about the host system because you haven’t configured the agent to collect data from other sources yet.

To see host logs and metrics:

  1. In Fleet, click the Data streams tab.
  2. In the Actions column, navigate to the dashboards corresponding to the data stream. For example, to see host metrics, select one of the system datasets:

    Fleet showing data streams list

    Then navigate to the [Metrics System] Host overview dashboard:

    Host overview dashboard in Kibana

Step 4: Monitor Nginx logs and metricsedit

Next, you’ll browse a catalog of integrations, then add an Nginx integration to the default policy used by your agent. You use policies to manage settings across a group of agents. An agent policy may contain any number of integrations for collecting observability data from the various services running on your host.

For these steps, we assume that you have nginx running on some of your infrastructure, and want to collect logs and metrics from it.

  1. In Kibana, go back to Management > Fleet, and click the Integrations tab. Use the search bar to find the Nginx integration.

    Fleet showing Nginx integration
  2. Click the Nginx integration to see more details about it, then click Add Nginx.

    Fleet showing Nginx integration overview
  3. On the Add Nginx integration page, select the default policy.

    In this guide, you add integrations to the default policy created by Kibana. After you learn the basics, you can create your own policies and assign them to agents.

    Fleet Add Nginx integration page
  4. Under Configure integration, click the down arrow next to enabled streams and make sure the Paths are correct for your host. Inspect or change other settings
  5. When you’re done, save and deploy the changes.

    The newly added Nginx integration should appear under Integrations in the default policy, along with the system-1 integration that you used earlier to collect host data.

    Fleet showing default agent policy with nginx-1 datasource

    All Elastic Agents that use this policy will collect logs and metrics from the Nginx server and the host.

  6. To view the data, click the Data streams tab.
  7. In the Actions column, navigate to the dashboards corresponding to the data stream.

What’s next?edit

  • Now that data is streaming into the Elastic Stack, take your investigation to a deeper level! Use Elastic Observability to unify your logs, metrics, uptime, and application performance data.
  • Want to protect your endpoints from security threats? Try Elastic Security. Adding endpoint protection is just another integration that you add to the agent policy!
  • Are your eyes bleary from staring at a wall of screens? Create alerts and find out about problems while sipping your favorite beverage poolside.
  • Want Elastic to do the heavy lifting? Use machine learning to detect anomalies.
  • Got everything working like you want it? Roll out your agent policies to other hosts by deploying Elastic Agents across your infrastructure!