Connecting Plex and Splunk

I use Plex (https://www.plex.tv/) to be able to play videos at home. Different family members have their own accounts on Plex. I was interested in the viewing habits of the people using my Plex server. If you put Plex in debug mode you can get a lot of logs but I wanted a better way.

I found PlexWatch (https://github.com/ljunkie/plexWatch) on Github. PlexWatch is listed as “Notify and Log watched content on a Plex Media Server”. What made me interested in this project is that you could extend it to connect to external providers (Twitter, Boxcar, Prowl, …). I was hoping I could use this to connect to Splunk’s HEC (HTTP Event Collector).

I was able to also find a Splunk HEC library for Perl on Github. The project is called “Perl Client for Splunk HTTP Event Collector” and at https://github.com/eforbus/perl-splunk-hec.

Requirements:
1. Command line access to a Plex server
2. Splunk instance with HEC enabled
3. Perl installed or ability to have it installed


Below is the step by step I created to connect PlexWatch with Splunk via the HEC. This was done on a CentOS 7 server.

1. Enable the EPEL Release Repo

sudo yum -y –enablerepo=extras install epel-release

2. Add the dependancies

sudo yum -y install perl\(LWP::UserAgent\) perl\(XML::Simple\) perl\(Pod::Usage\) perl\(JSON\) perl\(DBI\) perl-Time-Duration perl-Time-ParseDate perl-DBD-SQLite perl-LWP-Protocol-https perl-Crypt-SSLeay perl-File-ReadBackwards perl-JSON-XS

3. Create the directory for PlexWatch

sudo mkdir /opt/plexWatch/

4. Download the PlexWatch components

sudo wget -P /opt/plexWatch/ https://raw.github.com/ljunkie/plexWatch/master/plexWatch.pl

sudo wget -P /opt/plexWatch/ https://raw.github.com/ljunkie/plexWatch/master/config.pl-dist

3. Create the directory for PlexWatch

sudo mkdir /opt/plexWatch/

5. Set the permissions for the folder and script

sudo chmod 777 /opt/plexWatch && sudo chmod 755 /opt/plexWatch/plexWatch.pl

6. Copy the configuration file from the default to the one used by the script

sudo cp /opt/plexWatch/config.pl-dist /opt/plexWatch/config.pl

7. Edit the configuration file. In the examples I show will be using VIM but in the walk through I show VI. Nano can also be used.

sudo vi /opt/plexWatch/config.pl

7a. Change the $log_client_ip to equal 1 and set the $myPlex_user and $myPlex_pass variables. The $myPlex_user and $myPlex_pass are the credentials to log in to plex.tv.

config.pl section for external ip address and Plex account

7b. Near the end of the configuration file, find the external section. It will look like the below.

config.pl external script area

7c. Add a new section for the Splunk HEC connector.

config.pl script with added section for sending to Splunk

‘Splunk’ => {
‘enabled’ => 1, ## 0 or 1 – set to 1 to enable Splunk script
‘push_watched’ => 1, #stop
‘push_watching’ => 1, #start
‘push_paused’ => 1, #pause
‘push_resumed’ => 1, #resume


‘script_format’ => {
‘start’ => ‘perl /opt/plexWatch/splunk.pl “{user}” “{state}” “{title}” “{streamtype}” “{year}” “{rating}” “{platform}” “{progress}” “{percent_complete}” “{ip_address}” “{length}” “{duration}” “{time_left}”‘,
‘paused’ => ‘perl /opt/plexWatch/splunk.pl “{user}” “{state}” “{title}” “{streamtype}” “{year}” “{rating}” “{platform}” “{progress}” “{percent_complete}” “{ip_address}” “{length}” “{duration}” “{time_left}”‘,
‘resumed’ => ‘perl /opt/plexWatch/splunk.pl “{user}” “{state}” “{title}” “{streamtype}” “{year}” “{rating}” “{platform}” “{progress}” “{percent_complete}” “{ip_address}” “{length}” “{duration}” “{time_left}”‘,
‘stop’ => ‘perl /opt/plexWatch/splunk.pl “{user}” “{state}” “{title}” “{streamtype}” “{year}” “{rating}” “{platform}” “{progress}” “{percent_complete}” “{ip_address}” “{length}” “{duration}” “{time_left}”‘,
},
},

8. Download the Splunk HEC connector library for Perl.

wget https://github.com/eforbus/perl-splunk-hec/archive/master.zip

9. Unzip the the connector

unzip master.zip

10. Copy the libraries to the PlexWatch directory

sudo cp -R ./perl-splunk-hec-master/lib/Splunk /opt/plexWatch/

11. Create and edit the HEC script. This will be what is called from PlexWatch to send the data to the HEC.

sudo vi /opt/plexWatch/splunk.pl

11a. Below is the script. You will need your Splunk server path and HEC token.

splunk.pl Perl script

#!/usr/bin/perl

use lib qw(/opt/plexWatch/);

use Splunk::HEC;

$user=$ARGV[0];
$state=$ARGV[1];
$title=$ARGV[2];
$streamtype=$ARGV[3];
$year=$ARGV[4];
$rating=$ARGV[5];
$platform=$ARGV[6];
$progress=$ARGV[7];
$percent_complete=$ARGV[8];
$ip_address=$ARGV[9];
$show_length=$ARGV[10];
$duration=$ARGV[11];
$time_left=$ARGV[12];

my $hec = Splunk::HEC->new(
url => ‘https://SplunkServer:8088/services/collector/event’,
token => ‘6cc8b5ba-48f3-5c2b-8e9e-9e5e81a0ce57’
);

my $res = $hec->send(event => {user => $user, state => $state, title => $title, streamtype => $streamtype, year => $year, rating => $rating, platform => $platform, progress => $progress, percent_complete => $percent_complete, ip_address => $ip_address, length => $show_length, duration => $duration, time_left => $time_left});

12. Change the abilities of the script to be executable

sudo chmod +x /opt/plexWatch/splunk.pl

13. Test the script. This will send sample data to the Splunk HEC.

/opt/plexWatch/splunk.pl user state title streamtype year rating platform progress percent_complete ip_address length duration time_left

14. Add the PlexWatch script in to the crontab to run on a schedule

sudo crontab -e

14a. Have the script run once per minute

* * * * * /opt/plexWatch/plexWatch.pl

Enjoy the data in Splunk

JSON Data Example
Dashboard Example
Dashboard Example

SpeedCam – Getting the Data

I recently got to be in be on the news for a fun project (see the bottom of the article for the video).  We have had issues with cars speeding down our street.  I have had the traffic department place the street sign that showed your speed down the street.  This did give us some data, but people seeing the signs changed their driving during that drive only.

Being a person that works with data, I thought there has to be a way to track this data source.  I tried to build my own system to track the cars going by.  After trying a few different things, Arduino and Raspberry Pi, I started reading on using a webcams to track cars.

My setup is as followed:
Camera: HIKVision IP Camera (but a USB camera will work also as shown in the news video)
Power Injector: TP-LINK TL-PoE150S
Computer: Dell Laptop running Windows 10
Speed Camera Software: SpeedCam AI
Data Analyst Tool: Splunk

I tried a few different programs and found SpeedCam AI.  This program let me draw a rectangle and define the distance.  I know that the sections of the street are 15 feet (4.572 meters) in length.

I set up two different lanes.  Lane 1 is for West bound traffic and Lane 2 is for East bound traffic.  In the settings you can specify what the delimiter.  You can also use the software to save a picture of the vehicle, and clean up the reports.

With SpeedCam AI writing the details of traffic to a csv file, Splunk can easily ingest the data.

Installing Splunk on Windows
Installing Splunk on Linux

Adding the data to Splunk:
Once you log in to Splunk, you should see an “Add Data” button.

There is a couple options for bringing the data in.  Select “Monitor” to be able to continuously bring in the data.

You will then want to select “Files & Directories”.

Click “Browse” to select your “reports.csv” file and then click “Next”.

You should see a preview of your data.  You will see that Splunk has identified the data in a csv file.  Since the file doesn’t have a header row, you will need to give it one.  In the delimited settings, in the Field names section, click Custom.  In this example I used “datestamp,lane,speed,speedLabel”.  Then click next to continue.

It should prompt you to save your custom sourcetype.  Click Save.

I gave the sourcetype name as “speedcam”.  I then gave it a description and left the category and app the defaults and then click Save.

On the next page we can set the hostname for the data stream. Normally you can leave this the default. In a production environment, we would also want to choose our index. For this example, I am going to leave it as “Default”. At this point we can click “Review”.

You can review the setting and then click Submit and it will start bringing in your data.


For the Command Line People
## inputs.conf ##
[monitor://c:\program files(86)\SpeedCam\reports\reports.csv]
sourcetype = speedcam

## props.conf ##
[speedcam]
INDEXED_EXTRACTIONS = CSV
FIELD_DELIMITER = ,
FIELD_NAMES = datestamp,lane,speed,speedLabel
CHECK_FOR_HEADER = false
SHOULD_LINEMERGE = false


At this point, you have the SpeedCam AI software running and Splunk bringing the data in.  I will follow up with another post on the Splunk App I have written.  In the mean time, here are a few videos on searching and reporting in Splunk.

Basic Searching in Splunk
Creating Reports in Splunk Enterprise
Create Dashboards in Splunk Enterprise