"After all, the engineers only needed to refuse to fix anything, and modern industry would grind to a halt." -Michael Lewis

Enable Massive Growth

A VagrantFile for Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (On Three Different Servers)

Nov 2018

Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana, commonly referred to as ELK or the Elastic Stack, is a set of tools that can, well do a lot of things. It is most famous for its logging and analytics capabilities.

In a nutshell:

  1. Elasticsearch is a distributed NoSQL database with automatic indexing, and is designed primarily for "scalability"--in other words, redundancy via sharding and clustering across multiple servers, and a document-based philosophy (and, you know, search).
  2. Kibana is a dashboard designed primarily to be a GUI on top of the Elasticsearch database, with cool features like visualization.
  3. Logstash can send formatted logs to Elasticsearch and filter out logs that aren't relevant, typically by receiving them from Filebeats.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the things you can do with these tools, and this isn't even taking into account beats, but is usually where people start when they are introduced to the Elastic Stack.

So, now we want to play around with all of it, and we've decided to use Vagrant to provision some local virtual machines. While this is a good starting point/sandbox, keep in mind that there is no security with the following setup, and in any production environment not having security baked in would be a very bad thing to do.

First, we'll set up the VagrantFile. Navigate to the directory you want to set this up in and type:

$ vagrant init -m

Then set up a VagrantFile like:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "ubuntu/bionic64"

  config.vm.provider :virtualbox do |vb|
    vb.memory = 3072
    vb.cpus = 1

  config.vm.define "elasticsearch" do |elasticsearch|
    elasticsearch.vm.network "private_network", ip: ""
    elasticsearch.vm.provision :shell, path: "elasticsearch-provision.sh"

  config.vm.define "kibana" do |kibana|
    kibana.vm.network "private_network", ip: ""
    kibana.vm.provision :shell, path: "kibana-provision.sh"

  config.vm.define "logstash" do |logstash|
    logstash.vm.network "private_network", ip: ""
    logstash.vm.provision :shell, path: "logstash-provision.sh"

You'll need three shell scripts in the same directory called "elasticsearch-provision.sh", "kibana-provision.sh", and "logstash-provision.sh".

Let's start with the Elasticsearch shell script. From the official Elasticsearch install guide for version 6.4:

Elasticsearch requires at least Java 8. Specifically as of this writing, it is recommended that you use the Oracle JDK version 1.8.0_131.

So we need to:

  1. Install Java 8
  2. Install Elasticsearch
  3. Configure it to listen on a specified port on the server
  4. Ensure the service is running, and runs on server boot up time

The steps can be expressed in a bash script like so (elasticsearch-provision.sh):


# install java 8
apt install -y software-properties-common
apt-add-repository -y ppa:webupd8team/java
apt update
echo oracle-java8-installer shared/accepted-oracle-license-v1-1 select true | /usr/bin/debconf-set-selections
apt install -y oracle-java8-installer

# install elasticsearch
wget https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/elasticsearch/elasticsearch-6.4.2.deb
wget https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/elasticsearch/elasticsearch-6.4.2.deb.sha512
shasum -a 512 -c elasticsearch-6.4.2.deb.sha512
sudo dpkg -i elasticsearch-6.4.2.deb

# configure elasticsearch to be available on port 9200
sudo chmod 777 /etc/elasticsearch
sudo touch /etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml
sudo cat << EOF > /etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml
path.data: /var/lib/elasticsearch
path.logs: /var/log/elasticsearch
http.port: 9200-9300

echo "restarting service..."

service elasticsearch restart

# available on startup
update-rc.d elasticsearch defaults 95 10

If you run:

$ vagrant up elasticsearch

Then, after a few minutes of provisioning and letting the service get fully ramped up, you can

$ curl

And you should see the Elasticsearch tagline response.

The setup for Kibana is a bit easier since we don't need to install Java (this is kibana-provision.sh):

wget https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/kibana/kibana-6.4.2-amd64.deb
shasum -a 512 kibana-6.4.2-amd64.deb
dpkg -i kibana-6.4.2-amd64.deb

# configure kibana to be available on port 5601 and connect to elasticsearch instance
chmod 777 /etc/kibana
touch /etc/kibana/kibana.yml
cat << EOF > /etc/kibana/kibana.yml
server.port: 5601

service kibana restart

# available on startup
update-rc.d kibana defaults 95 10

Once this is up (run $ vagrant up kibana), you should be able to navigate to in your browser and see Kibana's dashboard come up.

Finally, here's the Logstash script (logstash-provision.sh):


# install java 8
apt install -y software-properties-common
apt-add-repository -y ppa:webupd8team/java
apt update
echo oracle-java8-installer shared/accepted-oracle-license-v1-1 select true | /usr/bin/debconf-set-selections
apt install -y oracle-java8-installer

# install logstash
wget -qO - https://artifacts.elastic.co/GPG-KEY-elasticsearch | sudo apt-key add -
apt-get install apt-transport-https
echo "deb https://artifacts.elastic.co/packages/6.x/apt stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/elastic-6.x.list
apt-get update && apt-get install logstash

# configure logstash to be available on port 5044 and send to elasticsearch
sudo chmod 777 /etc/logstash
sudo touch /etc/logstash/conf.d/ex-pipeline.conf
sudo cat << EOF > /etc/logstash/conf.d/ex-pipeline.conf
input {
  beats {
    host => ""
    port => "5044"
output {
  elasticsearch {
    hosts => [ "" ]

service logstash restart

You now have your playground, go conquer the world with it.

Nick Fisher is a software engineer in the Pacific Northwest. He focuses on building highly scalable and maintainable backend systems.