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Infrastructure agent logging behavior

New Relic's infrastructure agent gathers its own data as well as integrations's logs and consolidates them in a single source. By default, logs appear in standard-output and are added to a log file. To disable logs in standard output, see the agent's config options.

Basic configuration

The following example shows a typical configuration for the agent log in Linux systems (change file path when running Windows or other platforms):

level: info
file: '/var/log/newrelic-infra/newrelic-infra.log'
max_size_mb: 100
max_files: 5
compression_enabled: true
file_pattern: YYYY-MM-DD_hh-mm-ss.log

Logging severity levels

Infrastructure uses a subset of the standard Syslog severity levels:

  • ERROR: Error conditions met
  • WARN: Warning conditions met
  • INFO: Informational messages
  • DEBUG: Contains debug-level messages (useful when troubleshooting)

Log formatting

For infrastructure agent v1.4.9 or higher, log messages are inlined with context values. This offers better grouping and filtering; for example:

containerized agent found in container
containerID: VALUE

By default, Infrastructure logs are formatted as text:

  • In foreground mode, log output is colored, without a timestamp:

    DEBUG Sending deltas divided in blocks component=PatchSender mentityKey=ohaimaci mnumberOfBlocks=1
  • In background mode, logs are timestamped output, used when running as a service or dumping logs to a file:

    time="2019-07-12T09:54:15+02:00" level=info msg="Agent service manager shutdown completed successfully." component=AgentService service=newrelic-infra

Alternatively, logs can be formatted as a JSON file:

{"context":{},"level":"info","msg":"upstart_interval_sec: 0","timestamp":"2019-07-11T18:24:03+02:00"}
{"context":{},"level":"info","msg":"plugin_dir: ","timestamp":"2019-07-11T18:24:03+02:00"}

To change the log format, see the agent configuration settings.

Built-in log rotation

For infrastructure agent v1.28.0 or higher, a built-in log rotation and compression mechanism is available in the agent.

Smart verbose mode

For infrastructure agent versions 1.9.0 or higher, you can enable smart verbose mode for logs.

Smart verbose mode prevents debug messages being logged until an error message is detected. Once an error is detected, debug messages are written to the log file before the error. Note that only the most recent number of configured debug messages are logged. For example, if you have a configured limit of 10, when an error is detected, the 10 most recent debug messages before the error was detected are logged.

For more information on how to enable smart verbose mode and the debug message limit, see Infrastructure configuration settings.

Integration log management

Integrations write JSON payloads into STDOUT and plain-text (JSON structured in the future) logs into STDERR.

The infrastructure agent handles integration STDERR lines and forward this output into the agent log.

Agent handles each STDERR line as follows:

  • when agent runs in verbose mode: it just forwards the full STDERR line as a DEBUG agent log entry placing integration line contexts within the `msg` field.
  • otherwise: it parses the line against the expected format (see below) and only logs as agent ERROR level, entries produced by integrations with `fatal` or `error` severity levels. In this case fields are extracted and forwarded in structured manner (therefore if JSON output is enabled for the agent fields become queryable.

By default, the infrastructure agent filters out any errors from integrations that don't prevent the integration from running. You'll only see all errors from an integration if the log level is set to DEBUG, or if the integration is specifically listed in the log configuration. For example, in this configuration, all errors coming from nri-mssql will be shown, even if the log level is INFO:

- nri-mssql

Integration STDERR expected format

A line is expected to be a list of key-value pairs separated by an equal character. Keys can contain any character, whereas values can have three different formats:

  1. string: <quote>any character including escaped quotes \"<quote>
  2. map: &{any character}
  3. word: any character except spaces

Internally agent used this regex to extract the fields:


For instance, this line:

time="2015-03-26T01:27:38-04:00" level=error msg="Foo bar baz" foo=bar

Will generate a structured agent log line with these fields:

- "time": "2015-03-26T01:27:38-04:00"
- "level": "error"
- "msg": "Foo bar baz"
- "foo": "bar"
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