ORDS Access Logs in Kibana

There are countless ways to go about Application Process Monitoring for ORDS. The right choice is contingent on so many factors. These include, but are not limited to : budget, topology, system management practices and familiarity with the tools. This article is not a recommendation but rather a demonstration of quickly getting started from scratch with a visual and searchable representation of every request received by ORDS Standalone.

To achieve this we’ll use some free products which work together with the minimum of fuss

  • Elasticsearch – Stores data for quick search and retrieval.
  • Kibana – Visual interface to Elasticsearch data.
  • Filebeat – Monitors log files and publishes changes to Elasticsearch. Also configures Kibana for showing dashboard, log entries from ElasticSearch.

ORDS Standalone Access Log

To get from zero to hero quickly we’re going to take advantage of out of the box configurations that Filebeat comes with. In this case, the support for the Apache combined log file format. So that we can have ORDS Standalone produce an access log with this format we’ll specify a CustomRequestLog instance in $CONFIG_DIR/ords/standalone/etc/jetty.xml. In this case $CONFIG_DIR is the ORDS configuration directory.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE Configure PUBLIC "-//Jetty//Configure//EN" "http://www.eclipse.org/jetty/configure.dtd">
<Configure id="Server" class="org.eclipse.jetty.server.Server">
    <Ref id="Handlers">
      <Call name="addHandler">
          <New id="RequestLog" class="org.eclipse.jetty.server.handler.RequestLogHandler">
            <Set name="requestLog">
              <New id="RequestLogImpl" class="org.eclipse.jetty.server.CustomRequestLog">
                <Arg>%{remote}a - %u %t "%r" %s %O "%{Referer}i" "%{User-Agent}i"</Arg>

The highlighted custom request log format is the Eclipse Jetty representation of the Apache combined log format.

Startup ORDS standalone ( java -jar ords.war standalone ) and every request and it’s response summary is logged to /ords/ords-access.log.

0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1 - - [23/Jul/2021:15:02:13 +0000] "GET /ords/pdbadmin/soda/latest/metadata-catalog/?limit=1000&offset=0&q=%7B%7D HTTP/1.1" 200 28 "http://localhost:8080/ords/pdbadmin/_sdw/?nav=application&application=soda&page=Home" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/91.0.4472.164 Safari/537.36"
0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1 - - [23/Jul/2021:15:02:13 +0000] "PUT /ords/pdbadmin/soda/latest/CarsWorkshopTour HTTP/1.1" 201 0 "http://localhost:8080/ords/pdbadmin/_sdw/?nav=application&application=soda&page=Home" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/91.0.4472.164 Safari/537.36"
0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1 - - [23/Jul/2021:15:02:14 +0000] "POST /ords/pdbadmin/soda/latest/CarsWorkshopTour?action=insert HTTP/1.1" 200 652 "http://localhost:8080/ords/pdbadmin/_sdw/?nav=application&application=soda&page=Home" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/91.0.4472.164 Safari/537.36"

Setup the stack

Now that ORDS is logging every request we can install and configure the stack for monitoring and analysing the log entries. This can be done through docker containers or package managers but for clarity of the constituents we’ll go through the download and installation for macOs. Let’s assume the starting point is a directory called /ords-monitoring/ and we have three separate terminal shells for running Elasticsearch, Kibana and Filebeat. Having java in the path is a prerequisite for all three.


# Get and run Elasticsearch
wget https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/elasticsearch/elasticsearch-7.13.4-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz
tar -xzf elasticsearch-7.13.4-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz

# Once running the output will show something like this...
[2021-07-23T09:52:55,825][INFO ][o.e.c.r.a.AllocationService] [my-mac] Cluster health status changed from [YELLOW] to [GREEN] (reason: [shards started [[.kibana-event-log-7.13.4-000001][0]]]).


# Get and run Kibana
wget https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/kibana/kibana-7.13.4-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz
tar -xzf kibana-7.13.4-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz

# Once running the output will show something like this...
log   [09:52:52.152] [info][server][Kibana][http] http server running at http://localhost:5601


# Get, configure and run Filebeat
wget https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/beats/filebeat/filebeat-7.13.4-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz
tar -xzf filebeat-7.13.4-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz
cd ./filebeat-7.13.4-darwin-x86_64
# Check the setup.kibana: host and output.elasticsearch: hosts are uncommented in the base filebeat configuration.
vi filebeat.yml
# Enable the Apache module
./filebeat modules enable apache
# Edit the config to point to the /ords/ords-access*.log
vi modules.d/apache.yml
# Have Filebeat configure Kibana
./filebeat setup
# Run Filebeat
./filebeat -e

Note that the filebeat.yml may have the output.elasticsearch hosts list already uncommented but you may have to uncomment the setup.kibana entry.

# =================================== Kibana ===================================

# Starting with Beats version 6.0.0, the dashboards are loaded via the Kibana API.
# This requires a Kibana endpoint configuration.

  # Kibana Host
  # Scheme and port can be left out and will be set to the default (http and 5601)
  # In case you specify and additional path, the scheme is required: http://localhost:5601/path
  # IPv6 addresses should always be defined as: https://[2001:db8::1]:5601
  host: "localhost:5601"

# ---------------------------- Elasticsearch Output ----------------------------
  # Array of hosts to connect to.
  hosts: ["localhost:9200"]

  # Protocol - either `http` (default) or `https`.
  #protocol: "https"

When Filebeat has started processing the file specified by apache.access.var.paths ( e.g. /ords/ords-access.log) you should see the following:

2021-07-23T10:57:06.700+0100	INFO	[publisher_pipeline_output]	pipeline/output.go:151	Connection to backoff(elasticsearch(http://localhost:9200)) established
2021-07-23T10:57:32.706+0100	INFO	[monitoring]	log/log.go:144	Non-zero metrics in the last 30s	{"monitoring": {"metrics": {"beat":{"cpu":{"system":{"ticks":488,"time":{"ms":488}},"total":{"ticks":792,"time":{"ms":792},"value":792},"user":{"ticks":304,"time":{"ms":304}}},"info":{"ephemeral_id":"4432101e-4924-4c2a-835d-2da35c4551aa","uptime":{"ms":30288}},"memstats":{"gc_next":17666800,"memory_alloc":13072376,"memory_sys":75580416,"memory_total":46621616,"rss":73383936},"runtime":{"goroutines":43}},"filebeat":{"events":{"added":20,"done":20},"harvester":{"open_files":1,"running":1,"started":1}},"libbeat":{"config":{"module":{"running":1,"starts":1},"reloads":1,"scans":1},"output":{"events":{"acked":19,"active":0,"batches":1,"total":19},"read":{"bytes":10240},"type":"elasticsearch","write":{"bytes":25382}},"pipeline":{"clients":2,"events":{"active":0,"filtered":1,"published":19,"retry":19,"total":20},"queue":{"acked":19,"max_events":4096}}},"registrar":{"states":{"current":1,"update":20},"writes":{"success":2,"total":2}},"system":{"cpu":{"cores":4},"load":{"1":11.3442,"15":5.8877,"5":6.8467,"norm":{"1":2.8361,"15":1.4719,"5":1.7117}}}}}}

Kibana Analytics

You have used Filebeat to configure Kibana so point your browser to http://localhost:5601/ to get started with the reviewing and searching your ORDS access logs.

Please note that the convenience of such a quick setup has left out security configuration steps which are essential for a production environment. However, in less than 30 minutes you have put together a system where you can start learning more about one approach to monitoring ORDS.

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