Operations Output Framework
  • 15 Jun 2022
  • 5 Minutes to read
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Operations Output Framework

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The Operations Output Framework provides the ability to forward data from your Graylog cluster to external systems using a variety of network transport methods and payload formats. In addition, you can configure Framework-based Outputs to use Processing Pipelines to filter, modify, and enrich the outbound messages.


This is an Operations Integrations feature and is only available since Graylog version 3.3.3, thus an Operations license is required. See the Integrations Setup page for more info.

About the Framework

The Operations Output Framework provides a number of new Outputs for various network transport types. All of these Outputs first write messages to an on-disk journal in the Graylog cluster. Messages stay in the on-disk journal until the Output is able to successfully send the data to the external receiver.


Once the messages have been written to the journal, they are optionally run through a processing pipeline to modify or enrich logs with additional data, transform the message contents, or filter out any some logs before sending.

Following the processing pipeline, the output payload is converted to the desired format and then sent using the selected transport method.

Messages are only passed to the Output Framework once they are done being processed in the Graylog source cluster, at the same time the data is written to Elasticsearch.

On-Disk Journal

The Output Framework is equipped with an on-disk journal. This journal immediately persists messages received from the Graylog Output system to disk before attempting to send them to the external receiver. This allows the Output Framework to keep receiving and reliably queuing messages, even if the external receiver is temporarily unavailable due to network issues. The journal has many configuration options which will be described below.

The directory in which journal data will be stored is controlled by the data_dir value in your Graylog configuration file. Journal data for Framework Outputs will be stored in <data_dir>/stream_output/<OutputID>. As with the “Output base path” directory or the Input Journal, it is recommended to use a separate partition for Output Framework journals to ensure journal growth does not impact overall system performance.


While Maximum Journal Size can be configured for Operations Outputs, this is a soft limit and the on-disk journal can grow larger. If you want to guarantee journal data is cleaned up in a timely fashion, you should adjust the Maximum Journal Message Age and Journal Segment Age configuration values. Be aware that even unsent messages in the journal will be purged once they are older than Maximum Journal Message Age.

Pipeline Integration

When creating or editing a Framework-based Output, you will have the option to select a processing pipeline which will be executed on each message coming from the source stream. This pipeline can be used to filter out messages that you do not wish to forward. It can also be used to add data to modify the contents of the outgoing message or to enrich it with additional data.

Outbound Payload Formatting

Prior to sending data out over the wire, Graylog must format the outgoing payload. Payload formatting options include:

  • JSON Formatter

    • The Output Framework will convert the message’s key-value pairs into a JSON object.
  • Pipeline-Generated

    • The Output Framework will expect your pipeline to generate the outgoing payload and store it in the pipeline_output field of the message. This can be accomplished in the pipeline by using the set_field built-in function
  • Full Message

    • Some inputs support storing the full received message in the full_message field. When this output formatter is selected, the contents full_message will be used as the payload of the outgoing message. Messages without a full_message field or messages where the field is empty will be ignored. The Full Message formatter is available in Graylog version 4.0.3 and above.
  • No-op Formatter

    • No payload will be generated from the message. This formatter is currently only intended for use with the Google Cloud BigQuery output. If used with any other Output, the Output payloads will be empty.

Framework Outputs

  • Operations TCP Raw/Plaintext Output

    • Formatted messages will be sent as UTF-8 encoded plain text to the configured TCP endpoint (IP address and port).
  • Operations TCP Syslog Output

    • Formatted messages will be sent as the MSG portion of a standard Syslog message per section 6.4 of the Syslog specification. The Syslog message will be sent to the configured TCP endpoint (IP address and port).
  • Operations Google Cloud BigQuery Output

    • The Output Framework will convert the message’s key-value pairs into a new row for insertion into the specified Google BigQuery table.
  • Operations STDOUT Output

    • Formatted messages will be displayed on the system’s console. This is included primarily as a debugging tool for pipeline changes.

Output Configuration

The Operations Output Framework is capable of processing messages at very high throughput rates. Many hardware factors will affect throughput (such as CPU clock speed, number of CPU cores, available memory, and network bandwidth). Several Output Framework configuration options are available to help you tune performance for your throughput requirements and environment.

Common Configuration

  • Title

    • The name of the Output
  • Send Buffer Size

    • The number of messages the Output can hold in its buffer waiting to be written to the Journal
  • Concurrent message processing pipelines

    • The number of pipeline instances that will be allowed to run at any given time.
    • If this is set to 0, pipeline execution will be skipped even if a pipeline is selected from the Pipeline dropdown.
  • Concurrent output payload formatters

    • The number of formatter instances that will be allowed to run at any given time.
    • If this is set to 0, the Output will fail.
  • Concurrent message senders

    • The number of sender instances that will be allowed to run at any given time.
    • If this is set to 0, the Output will fail.
  • Journal Segment Size

    • The soft maximum for the size of a journal segment file
  • Journal Segment Age

    • The maximum amount of time journal segments will be retained if there is storage to do so
  • Maximum Journal Size

    • The maximum size of the journal
  • Maximum Journal Message Age

    • The maximum time that a message will be stored in the disk journal
  • Journal Buffer Size

    • The size of the memory buffer for messages waiting to be written to the journal.
    • This value must be a power of two.
  • Journal Buffer Encoders

    • The number of concurrent encoders for messages being written to the journal.
  • Output Processing Pipeline

    • The pipeline which will process all messages sent to the Output
  • Outbound Payload Format

    • The format that will be used for outgoing message payloads

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