Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Generating Sguil Reports

I've been running Sguil for a few years now, and while it's great for interactive analyst use, one of it's main drawbacks is the lack of a sophisticated reporting tool. The database of alerts and session information is Sguil's biggest asset, and there is a lot of information lurking there, just waiting for the right query to come along and bring it to light. Sguil has a few rudimentary reports built in, but lacks the ability to create charts and graphs, to perform complex pre- or post-processing or to schedule reports to be generated and distributed automatically.

To be honest, many Sguil analysts feel the need for more sophisticated reporting. Paul Halliday's excellent Squert package fills part of this void, providing a nice LAMP platform for interactive reports based on Sguil alert information. I use it, and it's great for providing some on-the-fly exploration of my recent alerts.

I wanted something a bit more flexible, though. A reporting package that could access anything in the database, not just alerts, and allow users to generate and share their own reports with other Sguil analysts. I have recently been doing a lot of work with the BIRT package, an open source reporting platform built on Tomcat and Eclipse.

BIRT has a lot of nice features, including the ability to provide sophisticated charting and graphing. The report design files can be distributed to other analysts who can then load them into their own BIRT servers and start generating new types of reports. It even separates the reporting engine from the output format, so the same report can generate HTML, PDF, DOC or many other types of output. Best of all, you can totally automate the reporting process and just have them show up in your inbox each morning, ready for your perusal.

If this all sounds good to you, check out a sample report, then read my Sguil Reports with BIRT HOWTO for more information.

If you decide to try this, please post a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts, experiences and suggestions.

Big thanks go to John Ward for getting me started with BIRT and helping me through some of the tricky parts.

1 comment:

Innovent said...

Nice article, thanks for working with BIRT. Scott Rosenbaum