Recently I gave logstash a try. logstash is a log management tool (processing, storing). It can push log messages also into elastic search. This setup is ideal for central logging. The easiest way to push log data into logstash seems to me to be gelf (Graylog Extended Log Format). It is a JSON-style format which can be GZIPed using UDP connections. There are a few implementations for GELF using Java (gelfj, gelf4j) which work nicely with Graylog itself. If you try to use them with logstash you’ll run into a few problems, which are caused mainly due the chunk size. gelfj has a fixed chunk size of 1420 bytes. Maven Central contains none of them (only some reassembled artifacts).

Therefore I've provided my adoption for logstash, which has an increased stability when it comes to longer messages. logstash-gelf provides implementations for:

  • log4j (1.2.xx)
  • Java Util Logging
  • JBoss7 Logging

and is available from Maven Central. You can either use it in your Maven/Ivy/Gradle-enabled projects, download it as Jar or download it as JBoss7 module. Find the code at



You need json-simple in order to use the jar:

JBoss 7 Module


<dependency org="biz.paluch.logging" name="logstash-gelf" rev="1.0.0" />


repositories {
dependencies {
    compile group: 'biz.paluch.logging', name: 'logstash-gelf', version: '1.0.0'

logstash setup

Setting up logstash is straight forward and short. Create a config file, named logstash.conf with following content:

input { 
    gelf {
		port => 12201

output { 
	elasticsearch {
	    embedded => true 

Now start your logstash

java -jar /opt/logstash/logstash-1.2.1-flatjar.jar agent -f logstash.conf

And your logstash server is up and running

log4j setup

Now let's go for log4j (you'll find more documentation at All you need is to include the gelf appender into your log4j config. You can do it either using or log4j.xml. Below you'll find the xml code.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!DOCTYPE log4j:configuration SYSTEM "log4j.dtd">
<log4j:configuration xmlns:log4j="">

    <appender name="sysout" class="org.apache.log4j.ConsoleAppender">
        <layout class="org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout">
            <param name="ConversionPattern" value="%d{ISO8601} %-5p [%t] %c: %m%n" />

    <appender name="gelf" class="biz.paluch.logging.gelf.log4j.GelfLogAppender">
        <param name="GraylogHost" value="udp:localhost" />
        <param name="GraylogPort" value="12201" />
        <param name="Facility" value="java-test" />
        <param name="ExtractStackTrace" value="true" />
        <param name="FilterStackTrace" value="true" />
        <param name="MdcProfiling" value="true" />
        <param name="TimestampPattern" value="yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss,SSSS" />
        <param name="MaximumMessageSize" value="8192" />
        <param name="AdditionalFields" value="fieldName1=fieldValue1,fieldName2=fieldValue2" />
        <param name="MdcFields" value="mdcField1,mdcField2" />
        <param name="Threshold" value="INFO" />

        <priority value="INFO" />
        <appender-ref ref="sysout" />
        <appender-ref ref="gelf" />

And now have fun with your logger. Support for log4j2 is already in the GitHub repo but not yet released.