Controlling log output from NAV


All NAV subsystems will produce logs about what’s going on at any given time. By default, all NAV daemons will send all log records to the file system. Log files from individual subsystems are created in the directory configured by the LOG_DIR configuration option in nav.conf.

The notable exception to this rule is NAV’s web subsystem, which is defined as a WSGI application. The WSGI application usually runs inside a web server or a separate WSGI application container, and will by default print all log lines to its standard error file descriptor. It is entirely up to the web/application server to decide where this output is directed (in a typical Apache setup with mod_wsgi, the logs are sent to Apache’s defined error log file for the specific VirtualHost).

Controlling log levels

NAV employs Python’s standard logging facility, and utilizes a hierarchy of log handlers for different parts of the codebase. Most NAV log handlers will be named after the Python module that uses it, meaning that the log handler hierarchy will usually correspond to the Python module hierarchy rooted at nav.

All emitted log records will have one of 5 different log levels: DEBUG, INFO, WARNING, ERROR or CRITICAL. NAV’s default logging configuration will only emit log records of level INFO or higher.

For most NAV usage, leaving the level at INFO is fine. If, however, you need to debug a problem or at least get more details out of a specific NAV subsystem, the log levels of the log handler hierarchy can be controlled through the configuration file logging.conf, whose defaults look like this:

# This is the default global log level configuration file for NAV.
# All NAV programs, except pping and servicemon, will initialize their log
# levels from this file, possibly combining them with log settings from command
# line options and/or their own configuration files. This file can also be used
# to configure the log levels of third party Python modules used by NAV.
# If you want to use a separate configuration file for some NAV program, set
# and export the environment variable NAV_LOGGING_CONF to point to that
# configuration file before executing the program in question.


# NAV logging is organized into a named hierarchy, so that log levels can be
# set differently for different parts of the code. The root of NAV's logger
# hierarchy is "nav". 

# This line initializes all NAV logging to the INFO level.  Available levels
nav = INFO

# Some other examples:
#nav.eventengine = INFO
#nav.ipdevpoll = INFO = DEBUG
#nav.ipdevpoll.plugins = DEBUG
#nav.smsd = DEBUG
#nav.web.auth = DEBUG


# If you want specific parts of NAV to log to separate files, you can specify
# this here. Log output will still be duplicated in the original location.

# The log file names will be relative to NAV's log directory; specifying the
# name of an existing log file will append to this. If any of the NAV
# processes that may happen to use this logger does not have permission to
# create or write to the specified file, the process will likely fail.

# For example, if you want to log portadmin-related information to a separate
# file, use this configuration:
#nav.web.portadmin = portadmin.log

As you can see, this sets the log level of NAV’s top-level logger nav to INFO. Since the loggers operate in a hierarchy, this level now also applies to loggers like nav.ipdevpoll or nav.eventengine.queue (unless they have been configured with their own explicit log levels).

If you wish to enable DEBUG level logging, it’s usually not recommended to set nav = DEBUG in the [levels] section: This will cause all parts of NAV to log in extreme detail, in all log files. Rather, if you wish to specifically have debug logging from ipdevpoll, you can set nav.ipdevpoll = DEBUG. This may be OK if you don’t know which part of ipdevpoll you are interested in debugging, but it is still going to be extremely verbose. If you only wish to get debug details on which plugins are selected and run for single jobs, you might want to only set = DEBUG.


Changes to logging.conf will not take immediate effect. Running NAV processes must either be restarted or sent a SIGHUP signal for the configuration file to be re-read. For the WSGI web application, this usually means reloading or restarting the web or application server.

Controlling which files logs are sent to

The logging.conf configuration file also contains a [files] section, which can be used to set up individual log handlers in NAV’s hierarchy to log to specific files (in addition to wherever the logs are already ending up). As the example in the default configuration file implies, this can e.g. be used to get parts of the web application to log to bespoke files, not just to the web servers log output.

Enabling the example nav.web.portadmin = portadmin.log will duplicate all log output from the PortAdmin web tool into the portadmin.log file, in the directory configured by the nav.conf LOG_DIR option.

Using different logging config for individual programs

While all NAV programs will look for logging.conf in NAV’s default configuration file directories, you can run individual NAV programs with an explicit logging configuration file that is separate from the standard one.

A typical usage scenario might be that you want to run a single ipdevpoll job with more debug logging, without having the logging configuration changes affect the ipdevpolld daemon running all your jobs in the background. This can be achieved by setting the NAV_LOGGING_CONF environment variable to point to a different logging config file before running ipdevpolld from the command line.

$ cat > /tmp/logging.conf <<EOF
nav = INFO
nav.ipdevpoll.plugins.system = DEBUG
$ export NAV_LOGGING_CONF=/tmp/logging.conf
$ ipdevpolld -J inventory -n example-sw
2023-08-11 13:41:32,124 [INFO nav.ipdevpoll] --- Starting ipdevpolld inventory ---
2023-08-11 13:41:35,130 [INFO plugins] Imported 31 plugin classes, 31 classes in plugin registry
2023-08-11 13:41:35,130 [INFO nav.ipdevpoll] Running single 'inventory' job for
2023-08-11 13:41:35,888 [WARNING nav.mibs.hpicf_powersupply_mib.hpicfpowersupplymib] [inventory] Number of power supplies in ENTITY-MIB (1) and POWERSUPPLY-MIB (0) do not match
2023-08-11 13:41:35,892 [WARNING nav.mibs.hpicf_fan_mib.hpicffanmib] [inventory] Number of fans in ENTITY-MIB (2) and FAN-MIB (0) do not match
2023-08-11 13:41:35,894 [DEBUG plugins.system.system] [inventory] sysDescr: 'ProCurve J4900B Switch 2626, revision H.08.98, ROM H.08.02 (/sw/code/build/fish(ts_08_5))'
2023-08-11 13:41:35,894 [DEBUG plugins.system.system] [inventory] Parsed version: H.08.98
2023-08-11 13:41:35,894 [DEBUG plugins.system.system] [inventory] found a pre-existing chassis: Chassis/ENTITY-MIB (CN650SE0GJ)

Rotating logs

NAV does not provide its own log rotation. If you wish to rotate NAV’s log files using an external tool like logrotate, you must remember to configure it to send a SIGUP signal to each NAV daemon as its log file is being rotated, or the daemon will continue to write logs to a rotated/deleted file.

If installing NAV from the Debian packages provided by Sikt, log rotation through logrotate is already provided for you (but you can change the rotation rules as you see fit).

Advanced logging configuration

While a few simple use-cases for logging configuration are supported by logging.conf, much more advanced things can be achieved using the alternative logging configuration file logging.yml. Doing this on your own, however, usually requires that you know your way around Python and have extensive knowledge of how the standard Python logging framework works.

logging.yml is read and parsed as a Python dictionary, using logging.config.dictConfig(), right after logging.conf is read and parsed. This means that logging.yml must adhere to the configuration dictionary schema laid out in the Python docs.

Be aware that by adding configuration to logging.yml, you are altering NAV’s default logging configuration at a very low level, and you may also be altering NAV’s default behavior of storing logs in files. A logging.yml that replicates a default NAV setup may look something like this:

version: 1
    level: INFO
    handlers: [console]

    format: '%(asctime)s [%(levelname)s] [%(name)s] %(message)s'

    class: logging.StreamHandler
    formatter: default

This replicates a setup that logs only INFO-level messages and above from NAV to stderr, using NAV’s default log message format. Individual NAV daemons will redirect their stderr streams to their respective log files as they fork off background processes, so there is no need to redefine these.

Leaving out the logging.StreamHandler will still cause the log files to be created, but they will be empty (save for any outpout to stderr that did not come from the logging library).


As with logging.conf, processes can be directed to read a bespoke logging.yml file, but by setting the NAV_LOGGING_YML environment variable instead.

Example: Directing logs to Falcon LogScale (Humio)

The following example shows how you can make all NAV programs ship their log messages to a Falcon LogScale (previously known as Humio) ingestor using something like the humiologging library. Instead of shipping the file-based logs to LogScale and having them parsed there, each log record can be shipped with structured attributes/tags.

To achieve something like this, you need to first install the humiologging library into your NAV installation’s Python environment (e.g. pip install humiologging), and then create a logging.yml similar to this:

version: 1
    level: DEBUG
    handlers: [humio, console]

    format: '%(asctime)s [%(levelname)s] [%(name)s] %(message)s'

    class: humiologging.handlers.HumioJSONHandler
    level: DEBUG
    humio_host: https://your-humio-ingest-addr-here
    ingest_token: SECRET_TOKEN_THINGY
    class: logging.StreamHandler
    formatter: default

This configuration attaches a HumioJSONHandler to the root logger and sets the global NAV log level to DEBUG. Unfortunately, as this configuration manipulates the root logger, it removes the handler(s) that NAV has by default installed on it, so if you want NAV to also keep logging to files in addition to Humio, you need to replicate parts of NAV’s default setup, as mentioned in the previous section. Add an extra handler named console that logs to a stream (stderr by default), and specify a format for it.