Chapter 13. Configuring a system for session recording using the tlog RHEL System Roles

With the tlog RHEL System Role, you can configure a system for terminal session recording on RHEL using Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform.

13.1. The tlog System Role

You can configure a RHEL system for terminal session recording on RHEL using the tlog RHEL System Role. The tlog package and its associated web console session player provide you with the ability to record and play back user terminal sessions.

You can configure the recording to take place per user or user group via the SSSD service. All terminal input and output is captured and stored in a text-based format in the system journal.

Additional resources

13.2. Components and parameters of the tlog System Roles

The Session Recording solution is composed of the following components:

  • The tlog utility
  • System Security Services Daemon (SSSD)
  • Optional: The web console interface

The parameters used for the tlog RHEL System Roles are:

Role VariableDescription

tlog_use_sssd (default: yes)

Configure session recording with SSSD, the preferred way of managing recorded users or groups

tlog_scope_sssd (default: none)

Configure SSSD recording scope - all / some / none

tlog_users_sssd (default: [])

YAML list of users to be recorded

tlog_groups_sssd (default: [])

YAML list of groups to be recorded

  • For details about the parameters used in tlog and additional information about the tlog System Role, see the /usr/share/ansible/roles/rhel-system-roles.tlog/ file.

13.3. Deploying the tlog RHEL System Role

Follow these steps to prepare and apply an Ansible playbook to configure a RHEL system to log recording data to the systemd journal.


  • You have set SSH keys for access from the control node to the target system where the tlog System Role will be configured.
  • You have one control node, which is a system from which the Ansible Engine configures the other systems.
  • You have Red Hat Ansible Engine installed on the control node, from which you want to run the playbook.
  • You have the rhel-system-roles package installed on the control node from which you want to run the playbook.
  • You have at least one system that you want to configure the tlog System Role. You do not have to have Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform installed on the systems on which you want to deploy the tlog solution.


  1. Create a new playbook.yml file with the following content:

    - name: Deploy session recording
      hosts: all
        tlog_scope_sssd: some
          - recordeduser
        - rhel-system-roles.tlog


    • tlog_scope_sssd:

      • some specifies you want to record only certain users and groups, not all or none.
    • tlog_users_sssd:

      • recordeduser specifies the user you want to record a session from. Note that this does not add the user for you. You must set the user by yourself.
  2. Optionally, verify the playbook syntax.

    # ansible-playbook --syntax-check playbook.yml
  3. Run the playbook on your inventory file:

    # ansible-playbook -i IP_Address /path/to/file/playbook.yml -v

As a result, the playbook installs the tlog role on the system you specified. It also creates an SSSD configuration drop file that can be used by the users and groups that you define. SSSD parses and reads these users and groups to overlay tlog session as the shell user. Additionally, if the cockpit package is installed on the system, the playbook also installs the cockpit-session-recording package, which is a Cockpit module that allows you to view and play recordings in the web console interface.

Verification steps

To verify that the SSSD configuration drop file is created in the system, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the folder where the SSSD configuration drop file is created:

    # cd /etc/sssd/conf.d
  2. Check the file content:

    # cat /etc/sssd/conf.d/sssd-session-recording.conf

You can see that the file contains the parameters you set in the playbook.

13.4. Recording a session using the deployed tlog system role in the CLI

Once you have deployed the tlog System Role in the system you have specified, you are able to record a user terminal session using the command-line interface (CLI).


  • You have deployed the tlog System Role in the target system.
  • The SSSD configuration drop file was created in the /etc/sssd/conf.d file.


  1. Create a user and assign a password for this user:

    # useradd recordeduser
    # passwd recordeduser 
  2. Relog to the system as the user you just created:

    # ssh recordeduser@localhost
  3. Type "yes" when the system prompts you to type yes or no to authenticate.
  4. Insert the recordeduser’s password.

    The system prompts a message to inform that your session is being recorded.

    ATTENTION! Your session is being recorded!
  5. Once you have finished recording the session, type:

    # exit

    The system logs out from the user and closes the connection with the localhost.

As a result, the user session is recorded, stored and you can play it using a journal.

Verification steps

To view your recorded session in the journal, do the following steps:

  1. Run the command below:

    # journalctl -o verbose -r
  2. Search for the MESSAGE field of the tlog-rec recorded journal entry.

13.5. Watching a recorded session using the CLI

You can play a user session recording from a journal using the command-line interface (CLI).


  1. On the CLI terminal, play the user session recording:

    # journalctl -o verbose -r
  2. Search for the tlog recording:

    $ /tlog-rec

    You can see details such as:

    • The username for the user session recording
    • The out_txt field, a raw output encode of the recorded session
    • The identifier number TLOG_REC=ID_number
  3. Copy the identifier number TLOG_REC=ID_number.
  4. Playback the recording using the identifier number TLOG_REC=ID_number.

    # tlog-play -r journal -M TLOG_REC=ID_number

As a result, you can see the user session recording terminal output being played back.