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I'm trying to remotely access windows log files from linux. So far I've found two different approaches.

  1. Install syslog server on windows machine and let windows send log files to linux, read those files
  2. Remotely access log files with wmi implementation for linux.

Does anyone know about limitations for those two approaches before I dive into implementation?

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My gut feeling is that your second route will be the more easy to follow. The first route involves touching two different systems, each one with its own quirks:

  • install+setup remote syslog server on Linux;
  • make Windows send the logs to remote syslog server;
  • also setup the syslog reading on Linux

This approach seems to create more "points of failure" (imagine a network problem blocking Windows from logging its events to the remote syslog).

The first route would require only installing a wmi client for Linux. I'd recommend wbemcli. (On Debian/Ubuntu try apt-get install wbemcli.) With this, Windows logging (which in my experience is rock-solid) remains unchanged. Even if you have temporary network problems, your access to un-compromised logs will return after the network came back to full operation.

As you may know, WMI is just Microsoft's implementation of WBEM (Web-based Enterprise Management). WBEM in turn is an industry standard defined by the Distributed Management Task Force consortium.

There are some differences in MS's WMI from the WBEM standard (as it's mostly the case when MS says they 'implement a standard'). For example, it uses a different transport protocol than stock WBEM (WBEM typically uses HTTP over TCP/5988 or HTTPS over TCP/5989. WMI also uses slightly different namespaces. Otherwise, they are mostly identical.

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Great answer! Are there any obstacles with WMI/WBEM approach, like need to setup additional stuff on each windows machine. For instance, additional rights, additional firewall rules etc? With WMI I can access only Event Logs, not for instance Exchange logs right? – damir Aug 11 '10 at 13:16
@damir: Sorry, I don't know the answer to your 'Exchange logs' question. I never had to deal with Exchange. – Kurt Pfeifle Aug 11 '10 at 15:00

I can't comment on those two but I know a third: Install a small server on Windows which can read the log and which responds to queries or pushes new events to Linux. I used Python with the win32 module for tasks like this.

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Thats additional overhead for administration, if nothing else proves reliable i will use your method – damir Aug 11 '10 at 9:37

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