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Using Logs

This topic describes different types of logs and how to access them.

VM logs

You can access logs from any VM:

The following sections describe different types of logs found on each BOSH managed VM.

Job logs

Release jobs on VMs produce logs throughout different lifecycle events. Release authors are strongly encouraged to place release job logs into /var/vcap/sys/log/<release_job_name>/*.log, providing a consistent place for the operator to find them.

For example redis-server release job will create two log files:

  • /var/vcap/sys/log/redis-server/redis-server.stdout.log
  • /var/vcap/sys/log/redis-server/redis-server.stderr.log

To download logs from all release jobs on a specific VM, run bosh logs <job_name> <index>.

See additonal information about following job lifecycle events' logs:

Errand logs

Unlike regular job logs BOSH does not automatically redirect errand logs to /var/vcap/sys/log/* directory, though we are planning to do so in future.

Errand's stdout and stderr output will be shown by the CLI when it's smaller than 1MB. If you expect errand to generate output larger than 1MB, currently it needs to be redirected to a file (by convention to /var/vcap/sys/log/<job_name>/stdout.log) from the errand script and then downloaded, or error will be returned upon errand completion.

To save output from an errand VM:

  1. In the errand run script, redirect the output to a log.
  2. Using the CLI, run bosh run-errand X with the --download-logs option to download the logs.

    By default, the CLI downloads the logs to your present working directory. Use the --logs-dir destination_directory option to change this directory.

bosh run-errand smoke-tests --download-logs --logs-dir ~/workspace/smoke-tests-logs


By default upon errand completion errand VM is deleted, so you cannot access logs saved to disk by the errand. You can use --keep-alive flag when running an errand to keep the VM with its logs.

Monit logs

The Agent uses Monit to start, restart, and stop release job processes as specified by the release jobs. Monit detects errors and outputs often useful information to its log. Use tail to examine the monit.log on a VM:

sudo tail -f -n 200 /var/vcap/monit/monit.log

Agent logs

Agent logs contain configuration and runtime information from the Agent running on a VM. Review these logs if the Director sees VM as unresponsive or the Director fails to contact it during its creation.

The Agent stores logs in /var/vcap/bosh/log/ and outputs most recent content to /var/vcap/bosh/log/current.

sudo tail -f -n 200 /var/vcap/bosh/log/current


Agent logs are only accessible to the root user.

System logs

System logs contain configuration and runtime information from the Linux kernel and other process running on a VM that are not directly managed by the BOSH Agent. These logs are stored in /var/log and are occasionally of interest when debugging OS-level problems, or when determining whether or not a VM is undersized for its workload. auditd and sar logs are also stored here.

If you're a Linux system adminstrator, you already know exactly the sorts of things that are in here -- BOSH does nothing particularly special with these logs.


System logs are generally only accessible to the root user.

Log rotation

BOSH rotates release job logs with the Logrotate log file management utility. Logrotate is configured by the Agent to act on all .log files in the /var/vcap/sys/log/, /var/vcap/sys/log/*/, and /var/vcap/sys/log/*/*/ directories.

See also the “Global Configuration” section for more details on the contract for log files.

Logs are rotated every 15 minutes (see agent's etcLogrotateDTemplate configuration for detailed settings).

Syslog configuration

Recommended way to configure syslog forwarding on all or some VMs is to use syslog_forwarder job from syslog-release as an addon.

Director task logs

When you run a CLI command, the Director stores all activities for the specific command in a task log. Review these logs when you experience an issue with a command.

To access Director task logs:

  1. Run bosh tasks recent to find the task number of the command.
  2. Run bosh task <task_number>.