US 20050114505 A1
A system and method is disclosed for collecting, storing and reporting raw log data from log-producing devices such as firewalls and routers. The log-producing devices may be both local and remote—i.e., linked to a raw log server via a LAN and/or a WAN. A log data analyzer at a remote location gathers log data from devices at that remote location into time-defined sets and then sends those sets over a WAN (which may be the Internet) to a raw log server using a first protocol. Local log-producing devices may send their log data to the log data analyzer via a LAN using a second protocol. The log data analyzer forwards the raw log data local devices to an appropriate log data analyzer for parsing, summarizing and storage in one or more databases. The raw log server combines local and remote sets of raw log data for a given time period and stores them in a storage area of raw log data. A central management station is used to query the various databases in the system and to merge database reports into a single report for display.
1. A method for processing log data from a plurality of log-producing devices which is stored as sunmarized log data in a plurality of log data analyzers, the method comprising:
formulating database queries in a management station;
sending database queries from the management station to a plurality of log data analyzers;
receiving in the management station a plurality of reports from the plurality of log data analyzers; and
combining in the management station the plurality of reports into a single report.
2. A method for processing log data from a plurality of log-producing devices which is stored as summarized log data in a plurality of log data analyzers, the method comprising:
associating a database query with a certain log data analyzer;
sending a database query from a management station to the certain log data analyzer;
receiving in the management station a report from a database maintained by the certain log data analyzer; and,
displaying the report on the management station.
3. A method for processing log data from a plurality of log-producing devices which is stored as summarized log data in a plurality of log data analyzers, the method comprising:
associating a database query with certain of the plurality of log data analyzers;
sending database queries from a management station to each of the certain log data analyzers;
receiving in the management station a plurality of reports from databases maintained by the certain log data analyzers;
merging the plurality of reports into a single report; and,
displaying the merged report on the management station.
4. A method as recited in
5. A data processing system for processing log data from a plurality of log-producing devices which comprises:
a plurality of log data analyzers storing summarized log data; and,
a management station connected to the plurality of log data analyzers via data communications links and which
formulates database queries;
sends database queries to a plurality of log data analyzers;
receives a plurality of reports from the plurality of log data analyzers; and
combines the plurality of reports into a single report.
6. A data processing system for processing log data from a plurality of log-producing devices which comprises:
a plurality of log data analyzers storing summarized log data; and,
a management station connected to the plurality of log data analyzers via data communications links and which
associates a database query with a certain log data analyzer;
sends a database query to the certain log data analyzer;
receives a report from a database maintained by the certain log data analyzer; and,
displays the report.
7. A data processing system for processing log data from a plurality of log-producing devices which comprises:
a plurality of log data analyzers storing summarized log data; and,
a management station in data communication with the plurality of log data analyzers and which
associates a database query with certain of the plurality of log data analyzers;
sends database queries to each of the certain log data analyzers;
receives a plurality of reports from databases maintained by the certain log data analyzers;
merges the plurality of reports into a single report; and,
displays the merged report.
8. A data processing system as recited in
This case is related to: U.S. Patent Application No. 60/525,401, filed Nov. 26, 2003 and entitled “System and Method for Summarizing Log Data;” U.S. Patent Application No. 60/525,465, filed Nov. 26, 2003 and entitled “System and Method for Parsing Log Data;” United States patent application entitled “System and Method for Storing Raw Log Data” filed of even date herewith; United States patent application entitled “System and Method for the Collection and Transmission of Log Data over a Wide Area Network” filed of even date herewith; United States patent application entitled “Method for Processing Log Data from Local and Remote Log-producing Devices” filed of even date herewith; United States patent application entitled “Method and Apparatus for Storing and Reporting Summarized Log Data” filed of even date herewith.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to computer network monitoring. More particularly, it relates to handling the log data generated by such log-producing devices and processes as network firewalls, routers, file servers, VPN servers, operating systems, software applications and the like.
2. Description of the Related Art
Computer networks in general, and private networks such as Local Area Networks (LANs) and intranets in particular, require security devices and processes to protect them from unauthorized access and/or manipulation. A computer firewall is one such device. At the simplest level, it may comprise hardware and/or software that filters the information coming through a network connection (most commonly an Internet connection) into a private network or computer system. If an incoming packet of information is flagged by the filters, it is not allowed to pass through the firewall.
A firewall can implement security rules. For example, a network owner/operator might allow only one, certain computer on a LAN to receive public File Transfer Protocol (FTP) traffic. The FTP protocol is used to download and upload files. Accordingly, the firewall would allow FTP connections only to that one computer and prevent them on all others. The administrator of a private network can set up rules such as this for FTP servers, Web servers, Telnet servers, and the like.
Typically, firewalls use one or more of the following methods to restrict the information coming in and out of a private network:
A company might also use a firewall to block all access to certain IP addresses or allow access only to specific domain names. Protocols define how a client and server will exchange information. Common protocols include: Internet Protocol (IP), the main protocol of the Internet; Transport Control Protocol (TCP), used to disassemble and assemble information that travels over the Internet; Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), used for Web pages; File Transfer Protocol (FTP), used to download and upload computer files; User Datagram Protocol (UDP), used for information that does not require a response such as streaming audio and video; Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), used by a router to exchange information with another router; Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP), used to send text e-mail; Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), used to obtain system information from a remote computer; and, Telnet, which is used to execute commands on a remote computer.
A company might use a firewall or a router to enable one or two computers on its private network to handle a specific protocol and prohibit activity using that protocol on all of its other networked computers.
Similarly, a firewall may be used to block access to certain ports and/or permit port [#] access only on a certain computer.
Firewalls can also be set to “sniff” each data packet for certain words or phrases. For example, a firewall could be set to exclude any packet containing the word “nude.” Alternatively, a firewall may be set up such that only certain types of information, such as e-mail, are allowed to pass through.
Many IT devices and processes produce a log of their activities (hereinafter “raw log data”). One particular type of raw log data is known as “syslog data.” Log data from VPN servers, firewalls and routers commonly comprises date and time information along with the IP addresses of the source and destination of data packets and a text string indicating the action taken by the data log-producing device—e.g., “accept” or “deny” or “TCP connection dropped.” An example of a raw log data from a Virtual Private Network (VPN) server is reproduced in Table I. Log data from other sources comprises information relevant to the providing source. An example of raw log data from an e-mail server (“sendmail” log data) is reproduced in Table II.
It will be appreciated that periods of high network activity generate large quantities of log data. During an attempted security breach, it may be necessary for network administrators to access the log data to determine the nature of the attack and/or adjust the security parameters in order to better defend against the attack. Although systems may provide a means for viewing the log data in real time or near real time, the sheer quantity of data generated makes it largely impractical to manually glean useful information from raw log data. Accordingly, systems and methods have been developed for parsing and summarizing log data in databases upon which queries may be run in near real time to retrieve relevant information.
A system and method for parsing log data is disclosed in commonly-owned U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/525,465 filed Nov. 26, 2003, and a system and method for summarizing log data is disclosed in commonly-owned U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/525,401 filed Nov. 26, 2003, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
Although parsed and summarized data is often more useful and convenient for monitoring network performance, real-time network troubleshooting and the optimization of security parameters, regulatory compliance and/or company policy may necessitate the storage of raw log data. Inasmuch as the above-described systems stored parsed log data and only later forwarded the raw log data, the reliability of the full raw log data streams was reduced. Furthermore, delay issues complicated the raw log data storage and the growing volume of log data created logistical problems. The present invention solves these problems.
Raw log data is, in one exemplary embodiment, received by a raw log server, stored in complete form in a database and sent to a networked log data analyzer for parsing, summarizing and routine reporting. The raw log data may be received using a first protocol from the log-producing network devices on the same local area network as the raw log server and from a log data analyzer at a remote location on a different network using a second protocol over a wide area network. The remote log data analyzer may encrypt and/or compress the raw log data prior to periodically sending it over a WAN to the raw log server. Database management may include processes which archive and/or purge the stored raw log data after a predefined time interval, in response to a predetermined event(s) and/or in response to data storage capacity constraints. Further database management handles the process of integrating the local raw log data in the first protocol and the remote raw log data in the second protocol. Queries and reports may be run on the database maintained by the raw log server to retrieve the raw log data. Queries and reports may also be run from a central management station to retrieve and merge reports form the various network log data analyzers.
Log data is commonly comprised of a text string. An example of log data from a VPN server is shown in Table I and an example of log data from an e-mail server is shown in Table II.
Log-producing devices such as routers and firewalls may be in networked data communication with one or more raw log servers. The log-producing devices may send the raw log data to the raw log server upon creation or may buffer the raw log data for burst transmission.
Upon receipt of the raw log data, the raw log server may insert the text string comprising the raw log data into a database together with identifying and/or indexing information. Alternatively, a process using a flat file arrangement may be used. For example, the text string may be stored together with the identity of the log-producing device and a date and time stamp. The identity of the log-producing device may be its IP address or any other unique identifier. The time stamp may be the local raw log server's network time, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), or a combination of local time and the time zone of the log-producing device. The text string comprising the raw log data may be encoded in any suitable text encoding scheme such as the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). The database may be any database or file capable of storing and retrieving data in the format sent by the log-producing devices. One example of a database is MySQL. One example of a file is a flat file. The data may be indexed and/or otherwise identified, but it is stored in the database either in the form received or in a form which has a one-to-one correlation with the form in which it was received so as to ensure the integrity of the data—i.e., the raw log data is stored, but not manipulated in any manner which could create any ambiguity in its content.
If the log data was received directly from a local log-producing device (e.g., a firewall or router on the same LAN as the raw log server), the raw log server may also forward the raw log data to a particular log data analyzer on the LAN. The raw log server may include a table which correlates log-producing devices with one or more particular log data analyzers. By consulting the table, the raw log server may forward the raw log data to the appropriate log data analyzer(s). The data may include the identity of the log-producing device, the identity of the raw log server, a time stamp, and/or any other information needed for proper routing and processing.
Raw log data from a log-producing device and raw log data being forwarded by the raw log server to log data analyzer may be sent using a first data transmission protocol. In one preferred embodiment, this first protocol is UDP, a protocol which requires relatively little network overhead. However, the UDP protocol is relatively weak from security and reliability standpoints and thus may be suitable in this context only for use on a local network.
As illustrated in
Thus, as illustrated in
Raw log data received by a raw log server 110 from a remote log data analyzer may be processed differently than the raw log data obtained from the local log-producing devices 113, 114, 115, 116. For one reason, this is because this raw log data need not be forwarded to a log data analyzer (such as 111 or 112) unless a redundancy in this function is, in which case the raw log data may be forwarded to one or more log data analyzers. The remote log data analyzer 105 already has the raw log data and may proceed to parse, store and summarize the raw log data from its associated log-producing devices 101, 102. Another reason is that it may be desirable to have the raw log data stored chronologically in the raw log database and the transmission of the raw log data over the WAN 107 is delayed. The delay may be due to the fact that the remote raw log data is collected into one-minute intervals prior to transmission to the raw log server and/or delays in transmission over the WAN 107.
The flow of raw log data according to one illustrative embodiment is shown schematically in
The flow of parsed and/or summarized log data according to one illustrative embodiment is shown schematically in
Inasmuch as merging live and compressed data streams into a single open database table may be problematic, in certain embodiments of the invention, one process is used to receive the live, raw log data streams using a first protocol from the local log-producing devices and another process gathers the compressed, encrypted data streams from remote locations sent using a second protocol and a third process merges the two data streams into a single, sequentially ordered database table. This may be advantageously accomplished in a “batch mode” wherein the raw log data gathering is segmented into certain time intervals. When an interval closes, the data from both the local and remote log-data-producing devices may be forwarded to the merge process for insertion into the database in proper order. In this way, the data reception processes can proceed independently and not require real-time synchronization or the insertion, as opposed to appending, of live data into an open database table. In other embodiments, it may be desired to keep the local and remote data streams separate (at the expense of reporting ease) in order to provide greater data integrity.
In the process of
The raw log server may be at a location remote from the equipment performing the process of
The process of
Referring now to
Data sets collected by the process depicted in
At block 350, the process continuously scans the temporary database files produced by the processes depicted in
It will be appreciated that the order of blocks 316, 328 and 340 shown in the processes of
As noted above, the quantity of raw log data generated by log-producing devices on a network may be significant. Accordingly, the raw log server may be equipped with attached storage and/or a connection to Network Attached Storage, a storage area network (SAN) (which, in one preferred embodiment, is a Fibre Channel network), WORM (Write Once, Read Many) storage and other real-time data storage means. The use of external storage allows simple growth or expansion of the stored log data over time. The raw log server may also be equipped with means for archival data storage such as magnetic tape or optical media. The database management process may include provisions for periodically moving raw log data from storage in the database to archival storage. Alternatively, data may simply be deleted from the database at certain intervals, upon aging to a predetermined value, upon some other predefined event or upon command from the data management station.
As noted previously, parsed and/or summarized log data may be stored by the system in databases or files maintained by log data analyzers (105, 111, 112). A firewall may produce upwards of 10 million various messages (i.e., log data) per day. This quantity of raw log data is frequently too much for a network administrator to analyze effectively. Accordingly, methods have been developed to parse and summarize log data.
The exemplary parser parses the received raw log data to extract fields based upon log data message type, and generates Structured Query Language (SQL) statements from the extracted fields. Subsequently, a database inserter inserts the SQL statements into database tables in memory, according to the message type, such as accept, deny or other. A summarizer summarizes the SQL statements stored in the database tables over various intervals of time, and copies the summarized SQL statements to tables stored on disk. The summarizer determines which sets of SQL statements have identical source IP, destination IP, and destination port numbers, irrespective of the source port numbers of the SQL statements. The summarizer then creates a new statement (i.e., message) generated from the 50 messages, for example. The summarizer may repeat the above summarization process over the SQL statements stored in the tables for other fields of commonality to create other new condensed statements. Thus, in one embodiment of the invention, the summarizer creates a fine-grained accept data chunk comprising a condensation of the SQL statements stored in the tables, based upon predefined fields of commonality (e.g., source IP, destination IP, and destination port numbers) and one or more fields of uniqueness (e.g., source port number).
Exemplary summarized tables may include fine-grained deny tables, 1-hour accept tables, 24-hour accept tables, and 24-hour deny tables. In alternative embodiments of the invention, the tables may be configured to store data over other periods of time (e.g., 10-minute accept tables to 30-day accept and deny tables). In one embodiment of the invention, the fine-grained deny table stores data for thirty days.
As shown in
The management station may be used to retrieve data from the databases maintained by the raw log server(s) 110 and/or the log data analyzer(s) 105, 111, 112. The management station 117 may include one or more processes for distributing database queries to the appropriate log data analyzers and aggregating the responses received from individual log data analyzers (database reports) into a single report. By way of example, if the system administrator wished to view a report covering all system traffic during a certain time interval, the management station might query all of the networked log data analyzers for summarized data in that interval and then aggregate that data into a single report. However, if the system administrator wished to view a summarized log data report for a certain network port, the management station might query only the log data analyzer associated with the particular firewall assigned to that port.
One illustrative process for obtaining a report from a central management station is shown in flowchart form in
Similarly, as shown at block 404, the user may select the time period to be covered by the report. The order of blocks 402 and 404 may be reversed in some embodiments or all of the selections may be made at one time on one query screen.
At block 406, the process identifies the particular log data analyzer(s) whose databases need to be queried in order to compile the report requested by the user. In one preferred embodiment, this determination is accomplished by a table look up on the raw log server, but this information may be stored elsewhere, including the management station itself. At block 408, a database query (or queries in the case of multiple log data analyzers) is formulated and sent to the log data analyzer(s) hosting the database(s) of interest identified in block 406. Each queried log data analyzer on the system will then respond by sending a database report of parsed and/or summarized log data corresponding to the time period selected. The reports are received by the management station at block 410.
As shown at decision diamond 412, a determination may be made of whether a plurality of reports has been received. If so, the management station may then merge the various reports received (at block 414) into a single report and print, display and/or store the merged report at the management station (block 416).
A log data analyzer (105, 111 and/or 112) may, in certain embodiments, store summarized log data in a database and respond to queries from a centralized management station. One such process may include: receiving raw log data in a log data analyzer; parsing the raw log data; summarizing the parsed log data; storing the summarized data in a database maintained by the log data analyzer; receiving a database query from a management station; generating a database report in the log data analyzer from the summarized data in response to the query received from the management station; and, sending the database report to the management station. The database report may include the time period of the summarized data and the data in the report may be sorted by the time period of the summarized data. At the option of the user, the data in the report may be limited by the time period of the summarized data.
While the exemplary log-producing devices in this description have been firewalls and routers, and the log data has related to networking operations, it is to be understood that other of the many log-producing devices, such as mail servers and the like, and other log data, such as operation status, errors and other events, could be used according to the present invention.
While the present invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate numerous modifications and variations therefrom. It is intended that the appended claims cover all such modifications and variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of this present invention.