Collect events and performance counters from virtual machines with Azure Monitor Agent
This article describes how to collect events and performance counters from virtual machines by using Azure Monitor Agent.
To complete this procedure, you need:
- Log Analytics workspace where you have at least contributor rights.
- Permissions to create Data Collection Rule objects in the workspace.
- Associate the data collection rule to specific virtual machines.
Create a data collection rule
You can define a data collection rule to send data from multiple machines to multiple Log Analytics workspaces, including workspaces in a different region or tenant. Create the data collection rule in the same region as your Log Analytics workspace. You can send Windows event and Syslog data to Azure Monitor Logs only. You can send performance counters to both Azure Monitor Metrics and Azure Monitor Logs.
At this time, Microsoft.HybridCompute (Azure Arc-enabled servers) resources can't be viewed in Metrics Explorer (the Azure portal UX), but they can be acquired via the Metrics REST API (Metric Namespaces - List, Metric Definitions - List, and Metrics - List).
To send data across tenants, you must first enable Azure Lighthouse.
On the Monitor menu, select Data Collection Rules.
Select Create to create a new data collection rule and associations.
Enter a Rule name and specify a Subscription, Resource Group, Region, and Platform Type:
- Region specifies where the DCR will be created. The virtual machines and their associations can be in any subscription or resource group in the tenant.
- Platform Type specifies the type of resources this rule can apply to. The Custom option allows for both Windows and Linux types.
On the Resources tab:
Select + Add resources and associate resources to the data collection rule. Resources can be virtual machines, Virtual Machine Scale Sets, and Azure Arc for servers. The Azure portal installs Azure Monitor Agent on resources that don't already have it installed.
The portal enables system-assigned managed identity on the target resources, along with existing user-assigned identities, if there are any. For existing applications, unless you specify the user-assigned identity in the request, the machine defaults to using system-assigned identity instead.
If you need network isolation using private links, select existing endpoints from the same region for the respective resources or create a new endpoint.
Select Enable Data Collection Endpoints.
Select a data collection endpoint for each of the resources associate to the data collection rule.
On the Collect and deliver tab, select Add data source to add a data source and set a destination.
Select a Data source type.
Select which data you want to collect. For performance counters, you can select from a predefined set of objects and their sampling rate. For events, you can select from a set of logs and severity levels.
Select Custom to collect logs and performance counters that aren't currently supported data sources or to filter events by using XPath queries. You can then specify an XPath to collect any specific values. For an example, see Sample DCR.
On the Destination tab, add one or more destinations for the data source. You can select multiple destinations of the same or different types. For instance, you can select multiple Log Analytics workspaces, which is also known as multihoming.
You can send Windows event and Syslog data sources to Azure Monitor Logs only. You can send performance counters to both Azure Monitor Metrics and Azure Monitor Logs. At this time, hybrid compute (Arc for Server) resources do not support the Azure Monitor Metrics (Preview) destination.
Select Add data source and then select Review + create to review the details of the data collection rule and association with the set of virtual machines.
Select Create to create the data collection rule.
It can take up to 5 minutes for data to be sent to the destinations after you create the data collection rule.
Filter events using XPath queries
You're charged for any data you collect in a Log Analytics workspace. Therefore, you should only collect the event data you need. The basic configuration in the Azure portal provides you with a limited ability to filter out events.
For strategies to reduce your Azure Monitor costs, see Cost optimization and Azure Monitor.
To specify more filters, use custom configuration and specify an XPath that filters out the events you don't need. XPath entries are written in the form
LogName!XPathQuery. For example, you might want to return only events from the Application event log with an event ID of 1035. The
XPathQuery for these events would be
*[System[EventID=1035]]. Because you want to retrieve the events from the Application event log, the XPath is
Extract XPath queries from Windows Event Viewer
In Windows, you can use Event Viewer to extract XPath queries as shown in the screenshots.
When you paste the XPath query into the field on the Add data source screen, as shown in step 5, you must append the log type category followed by an exclamation point (!).
You can use the PowerShell cmdlet
Get-WinEvent with the
FilterXPath parameter to test the validity of an XPath query locally on your machine first. For more information, see the tip provided in the Windows agent-based connections instructions. The
Get-WinEvent PowerShell cmdlet supports up to 23 expressions. Azure Monitor data collection rules support up to 20. Also,
< characters must be encoded as
< in your data collection rule. The following script shows an example:
$XPath = '*[System[EventID=1035]]' Get-WinEvent -LogName 'Application' -FilterXPath $XPath
- In the preceding cmdlet, the value of the
-LogNameparameter is the initial part of the XPath query until the exclamation point (!). The rest of the XPath query goes into the
- If the script returns events, the query is valid.
- If you receive the message "No events were found that match the specified selection criteria," the query might be valid but there are no matching events on the local machine.
- If you receive the message "The specified query is invalid," the query syntax is invalid.
Examples of using a custom XPath to filter events:
|Collect only System events with Event ID = 4648||
|Collect Security Log events with Event ID = 4648 and a process name of consent.exe||
|Collect all Critical, Error, Warning, and Information events from the System event log except for Event ID = 6 (Driver loaded)||
|Collect all success and failure Security events except for Event ID 4624 (Successful logon)||
For a list of limitations in the XPath supported by Windows event log, see XPath 1.0 limitations.
For instance, you can use the "position", "Band", and "timediff" functions within the query but other functions like "starts-with" and "contains" are not currently supported.
Frequently asked questions
This section provides answers to common questions.
How can I collect Windows security events by using Azure Monitor Agent?
There are two ways you can collect Security events using the new agent, when sending to a Log Analytics workspace:
- You can use Azure Monitor Agent to natively collect Security Events, same as other Windows Events. These flow to the 'Event' table in your Log Analytics workspace.
- If you have Microsoft Sentinel enabled on the workspace, the security events flow via Azure Monitor Agent into the
SecurityEventtable instead (the same as using the Log Analytics agent). This scenario always requires the solution to be enabled first.
Will I duplicate events if I use Azure Monitor Agent and the Log Analytics agent on the same machine?
If you're collecting the same events with both agents, duplication occurs. This duplication could be the legacy agent collecting redundant data from the workspace configuration data, which is collected by the data collection rule. Or you might be collecting security events with the legacy agent and enable Windows security events with Azure Monitor Agent connectors in Microsoft Sentinel.
Limit duplication events to only the time when you transition from one agent to the other. After you've fully tested the data collection rule and verified its data collection, disable collection for the workspace and disconnect any Microsoft Monitoring Agent data connectors.
Does Azure Monitor Agent offer more granular event filtering options other than Xpath queries and specifying performance counters?
For Syslog events on Linux, you can select facilities and the log level for each facility.
If I create data collection rules that contain the same event ID and associate them to the same VM, will events be duplicated?
Yes. To avoid duplication, make sure the event selection you make in your data collection rules doesn't contain duplicate events.