MariaDB Audit Plugin

When you are building Database Infrastructure for an data sensitive business (like financial services, digital commerce, advertising media solutions, healthcare etc. ) governed by compliance and policies, You are expected to maintain the audit log of the transactions to investigate, if you ever suspect something unacceptable (i.e., user updating / deleting data) happening to your database . MariaDB provides Audit Plugin (MariaDB started including by default the Audit Plugin from versions 10.0.10 and 5.5.37, and it can be installed in any version from MariaDB 5.5.20.) to log the server activity, Although the MariaDB Audit Plugin has some unique features available only for MariaDB, it can be used also with MySQL. MariaDB Audit Plugin log the details like who connected to server (i.e., username and host), what queries were executed, the tables accessed and server variables changed. This information is retained in a rotating log file or sent to local syslogd.

MariaDB Audit Plugin installation

The MariaDB Audit Plugin is provided as a dynamic library: (server_audit.dll for Windows). The file path of the plugin library is stored in the plugin_dir system variable:

MariaDB [(none)]> select @@plugin_dir; 
| @@plugin_dir             |
| /usr/lib64/mysql/plugin/ |
1 row in set (0.000 sec)

One way to install this plug-in is to execute the INSTALL SONAME statement while logged into MariaDB. You must use an administrative account with INSERT privilege for the mysql.plugin table:

MariaDB [(none)]> INSTALL SONAME 'server_audit';

Loading Plugin at Start-Up

You can also load the plugin from the command-line as a startup parameter by configuring my.cnf or my.ini in /etc/my.cnf or /etc/mysql/my.cnf , I have copied below the configuration of my.cnf for enabling MariaDB Audit Plugin (please add these variables after [mysqld] or [mariadb] )




We don’t want somebody uninstall MariaDB Audit Plugin so enabled system variable, server_audit=FORCE_PLUS_PERMANENT , The example below explains this scenario much better:

MariaDB [(none)]> UNINSTALL PLUGIN server_audit;
ERROR 1702 (HY000): Plugin 'server_audit' is force_plus_permanent and can not be unloaded

To see the list of audit plugin-related variables in your MariaDB server, execute the command below:

MariaDB [(none)]> SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'server_audit%';
| Variable_name                 | Value                 |
| server_audit_events           | CONNECT,QUERY,TABLE   |
| server_audit_excl_users       |                       |
| server_audit_file_path        | server_audit.log      |
| server_audit_file_rotate_now  | OFF                   |
| server_audit_file_rotate_size | 1000000               |
| server_audit_file_rotations   | 9                     |
| server_audit_incl_users       |                       |
| server_audit_logging          | ON                    |
| server_audit_mode             | 0                     |
| server_audit_output_type      | file                  |
| server_audit_query_log_limit  | 1024                  |
| server_audit_syslog_facility  | LOG_USER              |
| server_audit_syslog_ident     | mysql-server_auditing |
| server_audit_syslog_info      |                       |
| server_audit_syslog_priority  | LOG_INFO              |
15 rows in set (0.002 sec)

Uncontrolled MariaDB Audit Plugins are major concerns in any MariaDB database infrastructure operations, I strongly recommend our customers to consider log rotate “server_audit.log” file, You can force a rotation by enabling the server_audit_file_rotate_now

MariaDB [(none)]> SET GLOBAL server_audit_file_rotate_now = ON;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.015 sec)

You can configure the size limit of MariaDB Audit Plugin by setting variable, server_audit_file_rotate_size . To limit the number of log files created, set the variable, server_audit_file_rotations. To force log file rotations you can set the variable, server_audit_file_rotate_now to ON.


MariaDB Audit Plugin report:

[root@localhost mysql]# tail -f server_audit.log
20180720 20:39:22,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,1501,QUERY,,'SELECT DATABASE()',0
20180720 20:39:22,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,1503,QUERY,sakila,'show databases',0
20180720 20:39:22,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,1504,QUERY,sakila,'show tables',0
20180720 20:39:27,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,1528,QUERY,sakila,'show tables',0
20180720 20:39:43,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,1529,READ,sakila,customer,
20180720 20:39:43,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,1529,QUERY,sakila,'select * from customer limit 100',0
20180720 20:39:52,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,1530,QUERY,sakila,'show tables',0
20180720 20:40:07,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,1531,READ,sakila,actor,
20180720 20:40:07,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,1531,QUERY,sakila,'select * from actor limit 100',0
20180720 20:40:30,localhost.localdomain,root,localhost,13,0,DISCONNECT,sakila,,0


We recommend most of our customers (using MariaDB) to enable MariaDB Audit Plugin to closely monitor what is happening to their database infrastructure, This really helps to proactively troubleshoot if anything going wrong with their MariaDB operations. Reliable and secured database operations is equally important like performance and scalability.

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