VAST : Visibility Across Space And Time

VAST : Visibility Across Space And Time

VAST is a tool for the network telemetry engine for data-driven security investigations.

Key Features

  • High-Throughput Ingestion: import numerous log formats over 100k events/second, including ZeekSuricata, JSON, and CSV.
  • Low-Latency Queries: sub-second response times over the entire data lake, thanks to multi-level bitmap indexing and actor model concurrency. Particularly helpful for instant indicator checking over the entire dataset.
  • Flexible Export: access data in common text formats (ASCII, JSON, CSV), in binary form (MRT, PCAP), or via zero-copy relay through Apache Arrow for arbitrary downstream analysis.
  • Powerful Data Model and Query Language: the generic semi-structured data model allows for expressing complex data in a typed fashion. An intuitive query language that feels like grep and awk at scale enables powerful subsetting of data with domain-specific operations, such as top-k prefix search for IP addresses and subset relationships.
  • Schema Pivoting: the missing link to navigate between related events, e.g., extracting a PCAP for a given IDS alert, or locating all related logs for a given query.


Linux users can download our latest static binary release via browser or cURL.

curl -L -O

Unpack the archive. It contains three folders binetc, and share. To get started invoke the binary in the bin directory directly.

tar xfz vast-static-latest.tar.gz
bin/vast –help

To install VAST properly for your local user simly place the unpacked folders in /usr/local/.

FreeBSD and macOS users have to build from source. Clone the master branch to get the most recent version of VAST.

git clone –recursive

Once you have all dependencies in place, build VAST with the following commands:

cmake -B build
cmake –build build
ctest –test-dir build
cmake –build build –target integration
cmake –install build [–prefix /path/to/prefix]

For custom compilation options, you can either pass -DCMAKE_OPTION=foo to the cmake invocation, or use ccmake in the build directory.

The installation guide contains more detailed and platform-specific instructions on how to build and install VAST.

Getting Started

Here are some commands to get a first glimpse of what VAST can do for you.

Start a VAST node:

vast start

Ingest Zeek logs of various kinds:

zcat *.log.gz | vast import zeek

Run a query over the last hour, rendered as JSON

vast export json ‘:timestamp > 1 hour ago && ( || 5353/udp)’

Ingest a PCAP trace with a 1024-byte flow cutoff:

vast import pcap -c 1024 < trace.pcap

Run a query over PCAP data, sort the packets by time, and feed them into tcpdump:

vast export pcap “sport > 60000/tcp && src !in” \
| ipsumdump –collate -w – \
| tcpdump -r – -nl