About the Logging agent

This guide provides basic information about the Cloud Logging agent, an application based on fluentd that runs on your virtual machine (VM) instances.

How the Logging Agent Works

In its default configuration, the Logging agent streams logs from common third-party applications and system software to Logging; review the list of default logs. You can configure the agent to stream additional logs; go to Configuring the Logging agent for details on agent configuration and operation.

It is a best practice to run the Logging agent on all your VM instances. The agent runs under both Linux and Windows. To install the Logging agent, go to Installing the agent.

If you are running specialized logging workloads that require higher throughput and/or improved resource-efficiency compared to the standard Cloud Logging agent, consider using the Ops agent.

Supported operating systems

You can run the Logging agent on the following operating systems on compatible virtual machine (VM) instances:

  • CentOS 6, 7, and 8
  • Debian 9 "Stretch" and 10 "Buster"
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, 7, and 8
  • Ubuntu LTS 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), LTS 18.04 (Bionic Beaver), 19.10 (Eoan Ermine), and LTS 20.04 (Focal Fossa)
  • Ubuntu Minimal LTS 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), LTS 18.04 (Bionic Beaver), 19.10 (Eoan Ermine), and LTS 20.04 (Focal Fossa)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3, 12 SP2 for SAP, 12 SP3 for SAP, 15, 15 for SAP, and 15 SP1 for SAP
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 R2, 2016, and 2019
  • Windows Server Core 2008 R2, 2012 R2, 2016, and 2019
  • Windows Server Core, version 1809, 1903, 1909
  • Amazon Linux AMI (except Amazon Linux 2.0 AMI)

Supported environments

The Logging agent is compatible with the following environments:

  • Compute Engine instances. The Logging agent sends the logs to the project associated with each VM instance.

    For instances without external IP addresses, you must enable Private Google Access to allow the Logging agent to send logs.

  • Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) instances. The Logging agent sends the logs to the AWS connector project for your Workspace. Monitoring creates this project for you when you connect your AWS account to a Workspace.

    For the Logging agent to function correctly, the Amazon EC2 instance it runs on must be able to communicate with Google Cloud APIs, particularly the Logging API. This requires either an external IP address or a VPC internet gateway.

For these VM instances, a minimum of 250 MiB of resident (RSS) memory is required to run the Logging agent, but 1 GiB is recommended. For example, at a rate of 100 1-KB-sized log entries per second, the Logging agent with default configurations consumes 5% CPU on one core and 150 MiB memory.

The following VM instances support Logging using their own software, so manually installing the Logging agent on them is not supported:

Support for on-premise and hybrid clouds

Google Cloud partners with Blue Medora to provide logging services for on-premise and hybrid cloud platforms in a consistent and predictable way. Using Blue Medora, you can collect your own data and send it to Logging for analysis. Blue Medora's Bindplane integrates with Cloud Logging to capture data from your infrastructure and is included with your project at no additional cost.

For more information about Blue Medora, go to About Blue Medora.

Agent access requirements

Running the agent requires access to the following DNS names:

  • OAuth2 token server: oauth2.googleapis.com

    Older versions of the agent may require access to www.googleapis.com (full URL: https://www.googleapis.com/oauth2/v3/token).

    If you're using an older version of the agent, it's recommended that you upgrade your agent to the latest version.

  • Logging APIs: logging.googleapis.com

Installing the agent requires access to the following DNS names:

  • (Linux) Google Cloud package repository: packages.cloud.google.com

  • (Windows) Google download server: dl.google.com

Logging agent source code

You don't need the information in this section unless you want to understand the source code or you have other special needs. The Logging agent is installed by the script described in the installation instructions.

The Logging agent, google-fluentd, is a modified version of the fluentd log data collector. google-fluentd is distributed in two separate packages. The source code is available from the associated GitHub repositories:

  • The GitHub repository named google-fluentd which includes the core fluentd program, the custom packaging scripts, and the output plugin for the Cloud Logging API.
    • The output plugin is packaged as a Ruby gem and is included in the google-fluentd package. It is also available separately at the Ruby gem hosting service at fluent-plugin-google-cloud.
    • The content related to the Windows installer is found in the windows-installer folder.
  • The GitHub repository named google-fluentd-catch-all-config which includes the configuration files for the Logging agent for ingesting the logs from various third-party software packages.

Logging agent release notes

  • The release notes for the google-fluentd Linux package can be found at google-fluentd/releases, where the release tags follow the [Major].[Minor].[Patch] semantic versioning format.

  • The release notes for the Windows installers can be found at the same location: google-fluentd/releases. But the release tags are prefixed with Windows instead.

  • The release notes for the stand-alone gem fluent-plugin-google-cloud can be found at fluent-plugin-google-cloud/releases, where the release tags follow the [Major].[Minor].[Patch] semantic versioning format.

Deprecation policy

The Logging agent is subject to the Google Cloud's operations suite agents deprecation policy.

Next steps