Output Channels are a new concept first introduced in rsyslog 0.9.0. As of this writing, it is most likely that they will be replaced by something different in the future. So if you use them, be prepared to change you configuration file syntax when you upgrade to a later release. The idea behind output channel definitions is that it shall provide an umbrella for any type of output that the user might want. In essence, this is the “file” part of selector lines (and this is why we are not sure output channel syntax will stay after the next review). There is a difference, though: selector channels both have filter conditions (currently facility and severity) as well as the output destination. they can only be used to write to files - not pipes, ttys or whatever Output channels define the output definition, only. As of this build, else. If we stick with output channels, this will change over time.
In concept, an output channel includes everything needed to know about an output actions. In practice, the current implementation only carries a filename, a maximum file size and a command to be issued when this file size is reached. More things might be present in future version, which might also change the syntax of the directive.
Output channels are defined via an $outchannel directive. It’s syntax is as follows: $outchannel name,file-name,max-size,action-on-max-size name is the name of the output channel (not the file), file-name is the file name to be written to, max-size the maximum allowed size and action-on-max-size a command to be issued when the max size is reached. This command always has exactly one parameter. The binary is that part of action-on-max-size before the first space, its parameter is everything behind that space. Please note that max-size is queried BEFORE writing the log message to the file. So be sure to set this limit reasonably low so that any message might fit. For the current release, setting it 1k lower than you expected is helpful. The max-size must always be specified in bytes - there are no special symbols (like 1k, 1m,...) at this point of development. Keep in mind that $outchannel just defines a channel with “name”. It does not activate it. To do so, you must use a selector line (see below). That selector line includes the channel name plus an $ sign in front of it. A sample might be: *.* :omfile:$mychannel In its current form, output channels primarily provide the ability to size-limit an output file. To do so, specify a maximum size. When this size is reached, rsyslogd will execute the action-on-max-size command and then reopen the file and retry. The command should be something like a log rotation script or a similar thing.
If there is no action-on-max-size command or the command did not resolve the situation, the file is closed and never reopened by rsyslogd (except, of course, by huping it). This logic was integrated when we first experienced severe issues with files larger 2gb, which could lead to rsyslogd dumping core. In such cases, it is more appropriate to stop writing to a single file. Meanwhile, rsyslogd has been fixed to support files larger 2gb, but obviously only on file systems and operating system versions that do so. So it can still make sense to enforce a 2gb file size limit.
This documentation is part of the rsyslog project.