Splunk - Overview

Splunk is a software which processes and brings out insight from machine data and other forms of big data. This machine data is generated by CPU running a webserver, IOT devices, logs from mobile apps, etc. It is not necessary to provide this data to the end users and does not have any business meaning. However, they are extremely important to understand, monitor and optimize the performance of the machines.

Splunk can read this unstructured, semi-structured or rarely structured data. After reading the data, it allows to search, tag, create reports and dashboards on these data. With the advent of big data, Splunk is now able to ingest big data from various sources, which may or may not be machine data and run analytics on big data.

So, from a simple tool for log analysis, Splunk has come a long way to become a general analytical tool for unstructured machine data and various forms of big data.

Product Categories

Splunk is available in three different product categories as follows −

  • Splunk Enterprise − It is used by companies which have large IT infrastructure and IT driven business. It helps in gathering and analysing the data from websites, applications, devices and sensors, etc.

  • Splunk Cloud − It is the cloud hosted platform with same features as the enterprise version. It can be availed from Splunk itself or through the AWS cloud platform.

  • Splunk Light − It allows search, report and alert on all the log data in real time from one place. It has limited functionalities and features as compared to the other two versions.

Splunk Features

In this section, we shall discuss the important features of enterprise edition −

Data Ingestion

Splunk can ingest a variety of data formats like JSON, XML and unstructured machine data like web and application logs. The unstructured data can be modeled into a data structure as needed by the user.

Data Indexing

The ingested data is indexed by Splunk for faster searching and querying on different conditions.

Data Searching

Searching in Splunk involves using the indexed data for the purpose of creating metrics, predicting future trends and identifying patterns in the data.

Using Alerts

Splunk alerts can be used to trigger emails or RSS feeds when some specific criteria are found in the data being analyzed.


Splunk Dashboards can show the search results in the form of charts, reports and pivots, etc.

Data Model

The indexed data can be modelled into one or more data sets that is based on specialized domain knowledge. This leads to easier navigation by the end users who analyze the business cases without learning the technicalities of the search processing language used by Splunk.

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