User Guide

How to Implement a Retention Policy


The Log Manager Retention Policy is now deprecated and is only applied to logs managed via rsyslog. The retention policy of logs managed via Real Time Log Signing must be configured with the Elasticsearch Index Lifecycle Management.

Suppose you would like to set a new company-wide retention policy for all hosts in your system. The GDPR requires data minimization, and your company has determined its policy should be 6 months maximum, but with a 2 year limit for a specific set of services run on a set of hosts dedicated to multi-year customer subscriptions.

This How To will show you the steps necessary to set up this new policy. For further information about how Retention works, please see the Retention documentation.


Only rsyslog and Elastic Stack logs are governed by NetEye’s retention policy mechanism.

Decide on a Retention Policy

Retention is determined host by host. But to avoid inefficiency when a large number of hosts are involved, the retention policy is applied hierarchically from most to least specific:

  • A policy set on an individual host (most specific) will always prevail.

  • If a host does not have a specific policy, then one of its host templates’s policy will apply (with the standard hierarchical priorities of host templates)

  • If there is not at least one policy on either the host or one of its templates, the default policy will apply

In our use case, the default should be 6 months (180 days), and for all hosts set under one particular host template the retention policy should be 2 years (730 days). We will thus need to change the system-wide default from 365 to 180, and set the retention policy for that particular host template to 730, leaving the retention policy field on all hosts and all other host templates blank.

Implement the Retention Policy in the GUI

To implement the above policy, let’s set the appropriate fields (these can be done in any order):

  1. To change the default retention policy from 365 days to 180, navigate to Configuration > Modules > logmanager > Configuration and change the value in the field “Default retention policy duration in days” to 180.

  2. To change the policy on the host template, navigate to Icinga Director > Host objects > Host Templates > [template] > Modify > Custom properties and set the field “Retention policy days” to 730 for the template you selected.

  3. Deploy the changes from the previous step: Icinga Director > Activity log > Deploy pending changes. This is not necessary for the default policy, but if you change the retention policy on either a host template or a host, you will need to deploy before it will take effect since these are configured in Director.

You can now verify that the new retention policy has taken effect by navigating to Log Manager > Host and checking that relevant hosts have the correct number of days set in the Retention Policy column of the Log Manager Host Configuration panel.

You can also check that the retention policy is being carried out regularly. A specific service named retention-policy-neteyelocal is set up on the local monitoring machine to check that the retention policy is being correctly applied. If it detects that logs are not being deleted, the corresponding monitoring check on the dashboard will show red instead of green.

Optional: Enforce the Retention Policy in a Shell

Although the retention policy is enforced automatically each day after midnight, you can manually do the same thing when desired. The following shell commands use the Log Manager API (root access required).

This will apply the retention policy to all hosts:

# icingacli logmanager retentionpolicy apply

This will check that no log older than the retention period specified for the corresponding host is still retained:

# icingacli logmanager retentionpolicy verify